1 9 8 6 – 1 9 8 8 (UK)
15 x 60 minute episodes
The saga of a medical practice run by four doctors – Young bashful Dr Stephen Daker (Peter Davison) who joins the health clinic of the fictitious Lowlands University, and his blackly funny colleagues – Bob, a nasty Tory (David Troughton), Jock, an old alcoholic conspiracy theorist (Graham Crowden) and Rose, a manipulative radical lesbian (Barbara Flynn).
Some degree of sanity comes in the form of police student Lyn Turtle (Amanda Hillwood) and mathematician flatmate Chen Sung Yau (Takashi Kawahara). They offer humanity when Dr Daker gets caught in the crossfire between Bob Buzzard and Rose Marie, and when the outside world of government cuts and investment threatens the medical centre and the University as a whole.
Andrew Davies’ scripts took a savage swipe at modern academia, and by the second series, the university had been taken over by an American company interested only in asset-stripping and weapons technology research.
One of the main storylines in 1986 was an epidemic of VD – what gleefully beastly Dr Bob Buzzard called “a bit of tool trouble”. Boozy Doctor McCannon told one stuttering youth, “out with it!” – only to be instantly sorry.
Dr Daker and Dr Rose Marie (“Illness is a thing men do to women”) worked overtime treating infected parts and broken hearts, sewing up the catering manager’s trousers and telling the Vice-Chancellor what he’d caught.
Series two featured Daker replacing Jock as the head of the medical centre and falling for the charms of Polish art historian Grete Grotowska (Joanna Kanska). This time conflict came in the form of the new vice-chancellor, right-wing American Jack B Daniels (Michael J Shanno).
A 1992 one-off – A Very Polish Practice – followed Daker’s sojourn in Poland following his marriage to Grete.
Both series were filmed using a mixture of Keele and Birmingham university locations.
Dr Stephen Daker
Dr Bob Buzzard
Dr Jock McCannon
Dr Rose Marie
Chen Sung Yau
Jack B Daniels
Michael J Shanno
Michael J Shannon
Prof George Bunn