The Flying Doctors

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For the United States based Flying Doctors organization serving Latin America, see Los Médicos Voladores. For the 1936 film, see The Flying Doctor.
The Flying Doctors
Fdbook.jpg
Directed by Colin Budds
Mark Defriest
Kendal Flanagan
Starring Andrew McFarlane
Liz Burch
Lenore Smith
Robert Grubb
see cast table below for complete cast
Country of origin Australia
No. of episodes 3 (miniseries)
221 (regular series) (List of episodes)
Production
Running time approx. 0:55
Broadcast
Original channel Nine Network
Original run 1986 – 1993

The Flying Doctors is an Australian drama series produced by Crawford Productions that revolved around the everyday lifesaving efforts of the real Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia.

It was initially a 1985 mini-series based in the fictional outback town of Cooper's Crossing starring Andrew McFarlane as the newly arrived Dr. Tom Callaghan. The success of the mini series led to its return the following year as an on-going series with McFarlane being joined by a new doctor, Chris Randall, played by Liz Burch. McFarlane left during the first season and actor Robert Grubb came in as new doctor Geoff Standish.

The series' episodes were mostly self-contained but also featured ongoing storylines, such as Dr. Standish's romance with Sister Kate Wellings (Lenore Smith). Other major characters included pilot Sam Patterson (Peter O'Brien), mechanic Emma Plimpton (Rebecca Gibney), local policeman Sgt. Jack Carruthers (Terry Gill) and Vic and Nancy Buckley (Maurie Fields and Val Jellay), who ran the local pub/hotel, The Majestic. Andrew McFarlane also later returned to the series, resuming his role as Dr. Callaghan. The popular series ran for nine seasons and was successfully screened internationally.

Cast and characters[edit]

Medical Personnel[edit]

  • Andrew McFarlane played Tom Callaghan, a young doctor who takes over the R.F.D.S base in Coopers Crossing after proving himself to the original boss of the base, Harry Sinclair. He brings along Chris Randall, who is also a doctor, as his assistant. In episode sixteen Tom leaves the base, volunteering for World Vision in Africa. He returns in episode 113, staying until episode 156. Tom makes a final appearance in episode 201 when there is a town celebration in Coopers Crossing.
  • Liz Burch played Chris Randall, a female doctor who comes along with Tom Callaghan to run the R.F.D.S base in Cooper Crossing. When Tom leaves for Africa she decides to stay in Coopers Crossing, remaining until episode 146, when she moves to Melbourne to take care of her sick father. Returns in episode 201 for the town celebration, and falls in love with Tom Callaghan again. She decides to join Tom in Africa.
  • Robert Grubb played Geoff Standish, who makes his first appearance in episode 17 when he takes over the R.F.D.S base from Tom Callaghan. Geoff is one of the longest-running characters in the series, and stayed until the end. His relationship with Nurse Kate Wellings was a key storyline.
  • Sarah Chadwick played Rosie 'Rowie' Lang. She makes her first appearance in "Swinging on the Rope", when she returns to Cooper's Crossing since leaving as a teenager to attend Medical School at the University of Sydney. Dr. Lang is the replacement for Dr. Radcliffe. She is a headstrong, determined woman, applying for a position with the RFDS to comfront childhood bullies, and show them that "being a Lang doesn't mean being a loser", after having grown up as the youngest of 6 children (and the only girl), to alcoholic, neglectful parents. Despite her late arrival, Sarah is given a rich character-profile, the series featuring episodes in which both her older brother Frank and her father Alf appear. She attracts romanctic interest from Captain Johnno Johnson and eventually accepts his proposal of marriage. On the day of the wedding she realises she is marrying Johnno to make up for the less than ideal marriage her mother experienced. Rosie calls off the wedding as the RFDS cars are proceeding to the airstrip where the guests are waiting for the service.
  • Lenore Smith played Kate Wellings / Standish. She makes her first appearance in the mini-series.
  • David Reyne played Dr. Guy Reid.

Pilots[edit]

  • Peter O'Brien played Sam Patterson. He makes his first appearance in "Good Day For It", as a replacement for Gibbo.

Call signs[edit]

An RFDS Beechcraft Super King Air on a remote airstrip in Queensland, Australia.

One prominent feature in the show is the communication between the aircraft and the base station in Cooper's Crossing. Their designations are spelled out using the NATO phonetic alphabet.

  • MSF, or Mike Sierra Foxtrot, is the aircraft. It's a GAF Nomad. Registration VH-MSF
  • VCC, or Victor Charlie Charlie, is the RFDS base at Coopers Crossing.


DVD release[edit]

The Flying Doctors is available to purchase in Australia. All 234 episodes are on a 48 disc set, complete with cast interviews, episode synopses and stills gallery.[1] In region 2, Mediumrare Entertainment have released all nine seasons of The Flying Doctors including the mini series also called The Flying Doctors in region 2.

R.F.D.S.[edit]

By 1993, the ratings were in decline and few original characters remained in the much-changed cast. To revamp the show the setting was changed to Broken Hill, the name changed to R.F.D.S., and of the cast only original cast members Fields and Jellay were retained in the show as well as Sophie Lee as Penny Wellings. The storyline had their characters, formerly publicans at the Cooper's Crossing pub, moving to Broken Hill. The show lasted just one season in this new incarnation.

Most recently the Australian pay-TV channel FOX Classics has secured the rights to the program from 3 July 2006. The Flying Doctors have returned for a rerun free to air channel Win Television from 17 August 2007 at 12 pm – 1.00 pm weekdays only.

Filming locations[edit]

The series was filmed at:[2]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Complete 10 Series Collection 2011 Crawford Productions Retrieved 1 June 2012
  2. ^ "The Flying Doctors". Crawford Productions Pty Ltd. Retrieved 2006-11-13. 

External links[edit]