Doctor at Large (TV Series 1971– ) Poster

(1971– )

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Not a bad sequel...
dj-dom10 May 2003
This follow-up to "Doctor in the House" (1969) was, in many ways, better than its predecessor because the new premise of qualified doctors endeavouring to find their feet in the medical profession provided greater scope for new situations in each week's installment - vital as this series enjoyed one extended run of 29 episodes from March to September, 1971.

The removal of the less interesting characters from the first programme (Dave Briddock, Danny Hooley) meant that Geoffrey Davies and, particularly, George Layton were now given the chance to shine and, consequently, turned in some great performances. Richard O'Sullivan was a terrific addition to the cast as the odious Lawrence Bingham.

I've always thought Barry Evans as Michael Upton was a little stiff and not likeable enough, preferring Robin Nedwell's Duncan Waring (to return the following year in "Doctor in Charge" (1972)), but as the central character, here he is entertaining enough, while the real glory belongs to Layton, Davies et al.

The quality of the writing was excellent - unsurprising, given that John Cleese, Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie were among those contributing scripts. Further evidence of their eminence is the string of guest appearances by actors who were - or were to become - comedy greats. These included: Arthur Lowe, John Le Mesurier, David Jason, Hattie Jacques, Mollie Sugden, Patricia Routledge, Fulton MacKay, Maureen Lipman and Roy Kinnear.

If you get the chance to catch some of these seldom-repeated shows, don't miss out!
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Dr. Upton Will See You Now!
ShadeGrenade3 November 2006
Warning: Spoilers
'In The House' concluded with the students finally passing their medical exams, so it looked like the end for the show. Frank Muir had moved on, to be replaced as Head of Comedy at L.W.T. by Barry Took. But two weeks after the last episode was recorded, Humphrey Barclay contacted the cast to inform them it would be coming back.

The result was 'Doctor In Large', and it saw Upton, Collier, and Stuart-Clark moving on from St. Swithins to venture into the wide world. A paring down of the cast was inevitable - out went 'Duncan Waring' ( Robin Nedwell joined the cast of the Jack Rosenthal sitcom 'The Lovers' ), 'Danny Hooley' ( although he would reappear in the final episode of 'In Charge' ) and 'Dave Briddock', in came 'Lawrence Marwood Bingham', a conceited creep of the first order, excellently played by Richard O'Sullivan. His character was not only popular with the public, but some of the writers as well, in particular Garden and Oddie.

The new series went from St. Swithins to Dr.Maxwell's inner-city surgery, Dr.Whiteland's Harley Street practice, Paul's uncle's ( Dr.Griffin ) country surgery, before returning to the hospital.

An industrial dispute resulted in a number of I.T.V. programmes being recorded in black and white, and the first six episodes of 'Large' were amongst them. Not that viewers were too bothered, many still hadn't upgraded to colour.

What is astonishing about 'Large' is its length - British sitcoms traditionally last six episodes per season, but this was on air for an incredible eight months, totalling twenty-nine episodes. What is equally astonishing is how good many of them are; 'No Ill Feeling!' and 'Its The Rich Wot Gets The Pleasure' being two outstanding examples. John Cleese ( apparently in need of money following a failed business venture ) and Graham Chapman ( working with Bernard McKenna ) provided some fine scripts.

The punishing schedule, alas, took its toll on Barry Evans, and after the show ended, he announced he would not be returning.

CODA: In the 'Comedy Classics' documentary broadcast on I.T.V.-1 on 7/10/08, George Layton revealed that Barry Evans was in fact sacked from the show due to his 'erratic behaviour'.
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More medical mayhem!
RaspberryLucozade6 May 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Shortly after passing his exams in 'Finals', the final episode of 'Doctor In The House', Mike Upton ( now a doctor ) was yet again made leading man in this sequel, 'Doctor At Large'.

Geoffrey Davies and George Layton retained their roles as Dick Stuart Clark and Paul Collier, though Robin Nedwell declined to return to his role as Duncan as he was hoping to pursue other acting roles. Replacing him was future 'Man About The House' star Richard O'Sullivan as Dr. Lawrence Bingham, a snidey creep of the first order. Bingham proved a popular edition to the show. Also failing to return were Simon Cuff as Dave Briddock ( no big loss! ).

'Doctor At Large' had its moments but on the whole was in my view rather patchy. Nedwell is certainly missed, though Arthur Lowe's appearances as Dr. Maxwell does offer some comic relief, as do guest appearances from the likes of Patricia Routledge, Mollie Sugden, Roy Kinnear, Hattie Jacques and David Jason.

An industrial dispute affecting ITV at this time resulted in the first few episodes being shot in monochrome, though it seemed to have no bearing on the show's popularity. One episode, 'No Ill Feeling', was penned by John Cleese and inspired his later creation, the wonderful 'Fawlty Towers'.

After a huge run of 29 episodes over one season, 'Doctor At Large' finished, though it was not the end as it was soon back on LWT under the title 'Doctor In Charge' which saw the departure of Barry Evans ( the tiring schedule precluded him from landing other acting roles. He later landed the leading role in Vince Powell's 'Mind Your Language' ) but saw the return of Robin Nedwell as cheeky Doctor Waring.
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