1 9 7 9 (USA)
3 x 80 minute episodes
This four-hour NBC miniseries aired over three consecutive Thursday nights in February 1979 and revolved around the personal and professional lives of the doctors and nurses attached to Biscayne General Hospital in Florida.
Intern Jill Bates (Kathryn Harrold) and newly-appointed Chief of Staff Rebecca Dalton (Susan Flannery) were dedicated doctors who put their patients’ welfare above everything else.
Cathy Payson (Patty Duke Astin) and Lisa Gordon (Sheree North) were the featured nurses, as dedicated as the doctors they assisted but struggling to do their exhausting jobs beyond the call of duty – due mostly to an understaffing of nurses.
Nurse Payson was in a painful struggle with the hospital’s board of directors to remove the life support systems from her terminally ill father.
Outside work, Jill Bates – who had lots of blonde hair – was fooling around with Dr Mike Rayburn (David Ackroyd), who also came on to Dr Karen Fletcher (Laraine Stephens), who also had lots of blonde hair.
Dr Rebecca Dalton – a gorgeous ice blonde with a perpetually quizzical frown – was in the process of breaking up with her husband, Dr Ken Dalton (Stuart Whitman), a fading heart surgeon who had lost 10 of 11 transplants (in fact, nearly all the patients in the hospital seemed to be dying).
Meanwhile, Rayburn’s neglected wife, Ellen (Caroline Smith), was throwing herself at Dr Frank Evanhauer (Howard McGillin), who had fallen for Priscilla Harper (Maggie Cooper), a patient suffering severe headaches – which many viewers shared after sitting through this junky, plodding story.
The series was based on a 1974 novel by Frank G Slaughter.
Dr Rebecca Dalton
Dr Jill Bates
Dr Frank Evanhauer
Nurse Lisa Gordon
Nurse Cathy Payson
Patty Duke Astin
Dr Mike Rayburn
Dr Karen Fletcher
Dr Ken Dalton
Nurse Jean Robinson
June Whitley Taylor