Doctors (2000 TV series)
|Genre||Medical soap opera|
|Created by||Chris Murray|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||21|
|No. of episodes||3,873|
Peter Eryl Lloyd
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Production company(s)||BBC Birmingham|
|Original network||BBC One |
BBC One HD (2010–)
|Original release||26 March 2000 –|
Doctors is a British medical soap opera which began broadcasting on BBC One on 26 March 2000. Set in the fictional West Midlands town of Letherbridge, the soap follows the lives of the staff of both an NHS Doctor's surgery and a University Campus Surgery, as well as their families and friends.
Since 2016, Doctors has taken an annual transmission break during the summer, to accommodate the BBC's coverage of sport ceremonies and other daytime dramas.
- 1 History
- 2 Location and setting
- 3 Storylines
- 4 Characters
- 5 Series overview
- 6 Ratings
- 7 Awards and nominations
- 8 International broadcast
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Doctors is produced by BBC Birmingham and is screened on BBC One, with the first episode broadcast on 26 March 2000. It was created by Chris Murray, with Mal Young as developer and Carson Black as original producer. The series was formerly shown at 12:30pm as a lead-in to the One O'Clock News, but was later given the slot of 1:45pm. For a brief trial period in summer 2000, selected episodes from the first series were shown on Fridays at 7:00pm. From 16 February 2009, the series began transmitting in high definition on BBC HD at 4:00pm the same day.
In the first three years of broadcast, Doctors was produced and broadcast in blocks of episodes, ranging from blocks of 40 to 130 episodes. As a result, Doctors took lengthy breaks in transmission over the summer to accommodate the coverage of worldwide sport events. However, the series' audience developed and increased, prompting the BBC to commission Doctors as a year-round soap opera.
2003–2010: Awards and Decade of Doctors
In 2003, Doctors was nominated for Best British Soap at The British Soap Awards for the first time, where it has been nominated annually since. The next year, Doctors then won their first award at the British Soap Awards, when they won Best Single Episode for "Say A Little Prayer".
On 26 March 2010, Doctors celebrated its 10th anniversary and 1800th episode. Under the title Decade of Doctors, the BBC aired five-minute episodes about the series after each day's episode during the anniversary week. In each episode, cast and crew members talked about topics including the conception of the series, their favourite storylines and trivial facts about Doctors.
2011–present: Further episodes and milestones
On 16 February 2011, Doctors aired its 2,000th episode, "Quarantine", which was extended and ran for 60 minutes. From 17 September 2012 for 5 days, special red button episodes aired after the regular show, focusing on the conclusion of the Harrison Kellor (James Larkin) storyline, exploring Elaine Cassidy (Janet Dibley) and how she dealt with Harrison's change of plea for Lauren Porter's (Alexis Peterman) murder. On 10 September 2015, Doctors aired its 3000th episode, "The Heart of England", which was extended and ran for 60 minutes.
In November 2019, it was confirmed via Twitter that Doctors were filming for the 20th anniversary episode. As part of the celebrations for the milestone, Julia Parsons (Diane Keen) is set to return in March 2020. It was also revealed that every regular cast member in the series will be featured in a scene together.
- 8 May 2015 – Coverage of the 2015 United Kingdom general election results and VE Day 70th Commemorations.
- 20 July 2015 – Coverage of the final day of the 2015 Open Championship as the Open was delayed by bad weather.
- 9 June 2017 – Coverage of the 2017 United Kingdom general election results.
- 14 June 2019 – Coverage of the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup match between Japan vs Scotland.
Location and setting
Until 2004, Doctors was filmed at the BBC's former Pebble Mill studios in Edgbaston, Birmingham. The series utilised space originally occupied by Pebble Mill at One (1973–86) (Pebble Mill (1991–96)). As Studio A had been mothballed a year before production started, the existing building had to be utilised for the show. The Pebble Mill foyer was used as a street frontage and sets such as the police station and The Lether Bar used other areas of the studio complex alongside the Riverside surgery. Later in the storyline, The Best Practice was also introduced. Real houses were used for the homes of the staff and patients. After the closure of Pebble Mill, BBC Birmingham moved to a much smaller production base in Birmingham City Centre which had no studio space for the show. In light of this, the show moved to the new BBC Drama Village development in Selly Oak, Birmingham, with the transition between locations achieved on screen by an explosion destroying the Riverside Health Centre, named after the series' original production home. Alongside the surgery, other regular locations include the police station, The Icon Bar and, since 2008, The Campus Surgery, after a storyline saw the practice take over the surgery at the fictional University of Letherbridge.
The storylines originally dealt with the lives of staff and patients at the fictional Riverside Health Centre and its secondary location, The Best Practice. More recently, stories are based on The Mill Health Centre and Campus Surgery. The format of each episode typically sees the doctors and nurses of the practice meeting their patients both at the surgeries and on house calls, and dealing with their medical complaints, alongside the continuing storylines.
During the early years, many storylines revolved around the lead character of Mac McGuire (Christopher Timothy) and his family life. He rekindles his romance with his first wife, Julia Parsons (Diane Keen), embarking on an affair with her, which leads to the departure of his second wife, Kate. Their adult children appear in a number of storylines, including one where sexual assault is alleged against Liam McGuire (Tim Matthews).
In 2007, when more episodes were shown and there were fewer breaks in transmission, more storylines happened, including: receptionist Donna Parmar (Martha Howe Douglas) breaking patient confidentiality and her sacking from the Mill (2007), Nick West's (Michael McKell) car crash and later death (2008) and receptionist Vivien March's (Anita Carey) rape in 2008, which received recognition at The British Soap Awards in 2009 and 2018. With the departure of Joe Fenton (Stephen Boxer), a new doctor was introduced, Daniel Granger (Michael Chambers), the nephew of Joe. One of the first storylines for the character involved his gambling addiction. 2009 also saw the departure of long-standing major characters Ronnie (Seán Gleeson), George (Stirling Gallacher) and Bracken Woodson (Jessica Gallagher). In 2011, receptionist Karen Hollins (Jan Pearson) fell pregnant and had an abortion, which saw a breakdown in her relationship with husband Rob (Chris Walker), and their later separation. Affected by the split, Imogen Hollins (Charlie Clemmow) began shoplifting, and was taken to court to receive a community service order, which didn't please Rob. 2011 also saw the arrival of trainee GPs Kevin Tyler (Simon Rivers) and Freya Wilson (Lu Corfield), and the murder of temporary receptionist Lauren Porter (Alexis Peterman) by Harrison Kellor (James Larkin).
In 2012, Heston Carter (Owen Brenman) embarked on a relationship with health visitor Marina Bonnaire (Marian McLoughlin), which saw Heston subjected to domestic abuse. After suffering from the abuse and his break up with Marina, he attacked a burglar and ended up in court. Zara Carmichael (Elisabeth Dermot Walsh) and Daniel Granger had a baby, Joe. After meeting a new boyfriend and ending up in a car crash, practice manager Julia left to be with him. Howard Bellamy (Ian Kelsey) arrives to replace Julia, and Zara and Daniel decide to separate after she finds out about his affair with Cherry Clay (Sophie Abelson), the practice nurse and wife of Jimmi Clay (Adrian Lewis Morgan). 2013 introduced doctor Emma Reid (Dido Miles) and her son, Chris (Nathan Wright, who became a nurse at The Mill. Later, Daniel is reunited with Zara and rekindle their relationship, albeit after much counselling. Head receptionist Mrs Tembe (Lorna Laidlaw) also gains a new love interest – Gordon Clement (Steven Elder), the vicar of her parish church. However, he leaves her after it is revealed that she destroyed her ex-husband's life and then fled from Botswana, telling everyone that he was dead, whereas in fact she had been humiliated upon discovering his homosexuality. In late 2013, Jas Khella (Vineeta Rishi) was harassed by an obsessive stalker; Al Haskey (Ian Midlane), smitten by Jas, in a misguided attempt to protect her, was discovered in his car watching Jas at home and was reprimanded for inappropriate behaviour. Jas left the surgery in October due to the stresses of her ordeal. In 2014, Karen was involved in a car accident, in which her husband Rob knocked her over in a car park. She suffered severe head trauma and as a result, lost all of her memories from the age of 18 onwards. She spent the following months trying to readjust knowing that she has two adult children and a husband. New doctor Niamh Donoghue (Jessica Regan) causes a stir with Al, and after much drama, they eventually go out on a date. Heston struggles with memory loss and undergoes several tests designed to determine whether he is suffering from early-onset dementia. Mandy decides that it is time to move on from The Mill and is replaced by a feisty and bolshy new nurse, Ayesha Lee (Laura Rollins).
For the series' 3000th episode, a special storyline was created centering on a number of the main characters, most specifically Rob Hollins; when he was younger, he threw a full bottle of beer over the top of a motorway bridge and it hit a car, seriously injuring the driver. Andy Weston (Ian Mercer), Rob's childhood friend, took the blame, because Rob was about to enter the police force. Emma finds out she is pregnant with Howard's baby, and despise first being reluctant to keep the baby, she makes the decision to keep it and try again with Howard. However, a couple of weeks later, Emma suffers pains. She then finds out she has miscarried and Howard goes for a walk to get them both a cup of coffee. On the way there, Howard collapses and dies. Following his death, Mrs Tembe takes over temporarily as acting Practice Manager, and Valerie Pitman (Sarah Moyle) returns as a receptionist.
In January 2016, Anthony Harker (Adam Astill) starts as the new Practice Manager, and instantly dislikes Mrs Tembe and starts bullying her. Mrs Tembe is later bullied out of her job, and leaves to work at the Kings Green Surgery in February 2016. In March 2016, Niamh Donoghue meets a man called Ben, who has a critically sick little boy called Harry, so she helps Ben take Harry to Switzerland for treatment, despite Al and Harry's doctors refusal. Upon her return to The Mill, Niamh is sacked by Anthony and she returns to Ireland. Anthony's autocratic 'divide and rule' management style then targets Jimmi. Jimmi and Mrs Tembe form a plan to take over The Mill, and with Daniel, they confront Anthony and dismiss him. Mrs Tembe is offered the position of Practice Manager, which she accepts and returns to The Mill. Valerie becomes a permanent member of staff. Sid Vere (Ashley Rice) is assigned to the practice as part of his medical training, and although he prefers Heston as his mentor, he is allocated Zara, who preys upon his insecurities and bullies him. Eventually, Sid leaves The Mill and launches an action against Zara for bullying in the workplace. The practice settles the dispute by forcing Zara into a humiliating climbdown and apology. Several months later, a newly qualified Sid returns to The Mill and takes up a position as a GP. Sid and Zara finally resolve their differences. The practice appoints a new midwife, Ruhma Hanif (Bharti Patel). Ruhma and Heston find each other intolerable, but eventually discover that they are attracted to each other. A homeless Ruhma and her teenage children are invited to move in by Heston and in March 2018, they marry. In November 2018, Heston is killed in a car crash, leaving the staff devastated, and leaving massive repurcussions for the other two people in the car, Al and Mrs Tembe. Al ends up being afraid to drive following the accident, whilst Mrs Tembe has to have a tracheotomy performed on her to save her life and receives surgery for serious internal bleeding. She later struggles upon her return to work, and shuts all of her colleagues out. Her ex, Gordon, returns, and they forgive each other and get back together. Zara and Daniel are driven apart by Daniel's daughter Isobel (Bethan Moore), who pushes Zara to her limits, which causes Zara to accidentally slap Isobel, causing Daniel to walk out on her. After Daniel returns home, he finds a drunken Zara has slept with Sid, which results in Daniel punching Sid upon his return to work. Daniel later reluctantly takes Zara back after she begs him.
In January 2019, Mrs Tembe becomes engaged to Gordon, and decides to leave Letherbridge with him for Newcastle, after deciding that she wants to train to become a vicar. She is also offered a job working for a charity with children. Daniel and Zara are left in a difficult situation as Mrs Tembe hands in her notice. Mrs Tembe meets Becky Clarke (Ali Bastian), who is looking for a new position, and she soon becomes interested when she hears that Mrs Tembe is leaving The Mill and a replacement is needed. After an awkward interview with Zara, Daniel and Mrs Tembe, Becky is offered the position of Practice Manager. Becky gets into a relationship with Daniel, and eventually gets pregnant. However, she miscarries, and Daniel sees it as an opportunity to reveal that he does not want more kids, and that he cheated on her with Zara. Becky ends her relationship with Daniel, and departs from The Mill immediately.
Becky is replaced by new Business Manager Bear Sylvester (Dex Lee), who is dyslexic. In late 2019, twin brothers Adam and Gareth Regan (Edward MacLiam) are introduced. Adam gets into a relationship with Zara, while Gareth moves in with Emma. It is explained that Gareth has always been jealous of Adam. Gareth goes to Zara's house, and pretends to be his brother, attempting to rape her; Zara attacks him, and he is arrested.
Earlier episodes included a noticeably smaller cast, with episodes more self-contained. However, with the increased number of episodes, the cast also increased to include continuing storylines. The longest serving actor is currently Adrian Lewis Morgan, who has portrayed the role of Jimmi Clay since 5 September 2005.
|Jimmi Clay||Adrian Lewis Morgan||General practitioner, police surgeon||5 September 2005|
|Daniel Granger||Matthew Chambers||General practitioner, partner||9 July 2007|
|Karen Hollins||Jan Pearson||Receptionist||23 February 2009|
|Zara Carmichael||Elisabeth Dermot Walsh||General practitioner, partner||4 June 2009|
|Rob Hollins||Chris Walker||Police sergeant||24 July 2009|
|Emma Reid||Dido Miles||General practitioner, police surgeon, clinical lead in LGBTQ+ health and elderly care||2 October 2012|
|Valerie Pitman||Sarah Moyle||Receptionist||15 October 2012|
|Al Haskey||Ian Midlane||General practitioner||13 November 2012|
|Ayesha Lee||Laura Rollins||Advanced nurse practitioner||30 September 2014|
|Sid Vere||Ashley Rice||General practitioner, clinical lead in minor surgery||27 April 2015|
|Ruhma Carter||Bharti Patel||Senior Sister and consultant nurse in midwifery||15 October 2015|
|Bear Sylvester||Dex Lee||Business manager||18 November 2019|
Recurring and guest characters
|Barry Biglow||David Perks||Security guard||9 April 2010|
|Joe Carmichael||Oliver Falconer||Relative||13 February 2012|
|Kaiden and Kori Leigh Miles|
|Corey and Luka Donnelly|
|Nathaniel Arthur Stocks|
|Harrison and Lily-Sue Horbury|
|Olivia and Oscar Wilson|
|Emily and Lewis Whitehouse|
|Shak Hanif||Sunjay Midda||Relative and police apprentice||14 December 2015|
|Leon Sharma||Jonas Khan||Prison inmate||6 January 2020|
|Vincent Manning||Laurence Saunders||Prison guard||10 January 2020|
|Bowser||Nicholas Aaron||Prison inmate||20 January 2020|
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||41||26 March 2000||19 May 2000|
|2||116||2 October 2000||1 June 2001|
|3||129||3 September 2001||22 May 2002|
|4||154||2 September 2002||13 June 2003|
|5||182||1 September 2003||14 June 2004|
|6||139||6 September 2004||6 April 2005|
|7||185||18 April 2005||13 April 2006|
|8||185||24 April 2006||13 April 2007|
|9||212||23 April 2007||20 March 2008|
|10||223||31 March 2008||27 March 2009|
|11||234||30 March 2009||30 March 2010|
|12||230||1 April 2010||1 April 2011|
|13||231||31 March 2011||31 March 2012|
|14||221||2 April 2012||28 March 2013|
|15||222||2 April 2013||31 March 2014|
|16||219||1 April 2014||27 March 2015|
|17||217||13 April 2015||1 April 2016|
|18||187||1 April 2016||14 April 2017|
|19||289||17 April 2017||2 November 2018|
|20||195||5 November 2018||6 November 2019|
|21||196||7 November 2019||TBA|
- In 2002, episodes received an average of 2.5 million viewers.
- In 2006, the highest peaking episode was when All Creatures Great and Small star Christopher Timothy, who played Dr Brendan "Mac" McGuire, left the soap.
- In 2009, the episode which reached the highest ratings ever in Doctors history was "Restraint", which was aired on 31 March, and saw Ruth Pearce admitted to "The Beeches" after developing a mental obsession over colleague and friend, Michelle Corrigan. Another episode in 2009 that reached 3.4 million viewers was "Cold Comfort", which was the last episode aired in 2009; it involved the Christmas party, which saw Dr. Lily Hassan's marriage proposal to Dr. Heston Carter turned down by him. The average viewers received within the year was 3.5 million.
- In 2010, the highest watched episode received 2.9 million viewers. The average for the year was 2 million.
- The highest 2011 rating was 2.5 million on 31 January, witnessing Karen Hollins make a decision on her unwanted pregnancy.
- 2011's highest rating came on Thursday 15 December, which saw the return of Ag Penrose, Rob's auntie; just over three million viewers watched Lynda Baron return.
- In 2012, the episode aired on 13 February, which saw the birth of Joe Carmichael was watched by 2.37 million. The day after, 2.09 million tuned in to see Cherry marry Jimmi.
- In 2014, episodes in January reached 1.7 million, with a peak of 1.8 million on 23rd. On 12 February, the highest rating of the year of 1.94m was achieved.
- In 2015, the average amount of viewers per episode was 2 million.
- In 2017, episodes averaged at 2.5 million viewers, with a peak of 4 million viewers.
Awards and nominations
In Ireland, the series is shown on RTÉ One at 12.25pm on Mondays, 12.15pm on Tuesdays and Fridays, and 11.15am on Wednesdays and Thursdays. In Iceland, the series is shown on Stöð 2, and typically airs approximately two years behind. On 2 April 2013, airing Monday to Friday, the programme joined Australian channel BBC UKTV, starting with episode 155 of series 14; episodes were approximately two weeks behind the original UK broadcasts but ceased screening from Friday 29 August 2014. In the United States, the series is available to view on subscription streaming service Britbox.
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