Doctor in Clover

Doctor in Clover is a British comedy film released in 1966, starring Leslie Phillips. The film is based on the novel by Richard Gordon. It is the sixth of the seven films in the Doctor series.

Doctor in Clover
Original British 1966 quad film poster
Directed byRalph Thomas
Produced byBetty E. Box
Screenplay byJack Davies
Based onDoctor in Clover
by Richard Gordon
StarringLeslie Phillips
James Robertson Justice
Shirley Anne Field
John Fraser
Joan Sims
Arthur Haynes
Music byJohn Scott
CinematographyErnest Steward
Edited byAlfred Roome
Distributed byRank Film Distributors (UK)
Continental Distributing (US)
Release date
  • 4 March 1966 (1966-03-04) (UK[1])
  • August 1967 (1967-08) (US)
Running time
101 min.[2]
CountryUnited Kingdom

The film was released in the US as Carnaby, MD.


The film is based at the (fictitious) St Swithin's Hospital, with Leslie Phillips as Dr Gaston Grimsdyke, an accident-prone doctor and cad, more interested in the nurses than the patients.

Grimsdyke is sacked from his job as a medical officer at a men's prison, for his misbehaviour with the Governor's daughter, so he enrolls in a refresher course with his old medical tutor Sir Lancelot Spratt (James Robertson Justice), who is determined to make him a successful surgeon.

Grimsdyke discovers that a plum senior medical post is shortly to become vacant, and starts scheming to be considered, instead of his cousin, who has already been unofficially offered the job.

Spratt and the newly appointed hospital matron clash, leading Spratt to 'volunteer' Grimsdyke to romance her and 'soften her up'. But she mistakenly believes Spratt to be her admirer, and many funny and inevitable complications ensue.

At a hospital dance, a 'rejuvenation serum' which Grimsdyke has accidentally injected into Sir Lancelot, causes the latter to run amok at the party and romance the new matron. She decides to resign and a new matron is appointed. But she turns out to be equally opposed to Spratt's ideas of how the hospital should be run.

Main cast


The novel Doctor in Clover was published in 1960.[3] Film rights were bought by the Rank Organisation whose head of production Earl St John announced the film for production in 1961.[4] However it took a number of years for the film to be made. The film was formally announced in 1964, one of a series of comedies that Rank were making at the time (others including Carry on Cleo and Love on the Riviera).[5]

The film was shot in Carnaby Street, Wormwood Scrubs and Pinewood Studios.

The opening credits include the following acknowledgement: We are grateful for the help and facilities given at Wexham Park Hospital by the staff of the Hospital, Humphreys Ltd. and The Windsor Group Hospital Management Committee.

While the film was shown at its full 101 minutes duration[2] in most other countries, the British Board of Film Classification ordered that the UK cinema version had to be cut down to 97 minutes in order to get an "A" (adult) classification, and that duration has remained in later British video releases.[6]


The film opened in London on 4 March 1966, with general release following on 3 April.[6]


"The title alone will go a long way towards selling this picture," noted Graham Clarke in Kinematograph Weekly, "and it backs this with a good ration of knockabout fun."[7]

Box Office

The film was among the 15 top money-makers at the British box-office that year.[8]


  1. First advertisement in The Times was on Friday 4 March 1966, page 2, column A, showing it running at Leicester Square Theatre. Found in The Times Digital Archive on 16/05/2013
  2. Swedish Film Institute: Film facts Doctor in Clover Archived 3 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine Linked 2013-05-16
  3. I Books Today ! . __ i New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 21 Jan 1960: 28.
  4. BRITAIN'S SCREEN SCENE: Encouraging Survey, Rank's Dossier -- Footnotes on Three Luminaries By STEPHEN WATTS. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 23 Apr 1961: 129.
  5. Pinewood carries on--with £9m Our own Reporter. The Guardian (1959-2003) [London (UK)] 18 Feb 1964: 5.
  6. BBFC: Doctor in Clover (1965) Linked 2013-05-16
  7. Kinematograph Weekly vol 585 no 3048, 3 March 1966
  8. The Times, 31 December 1966, article: Most popular star for third time, page 5, column G. Found in The Times Digital Archive on 11 July 2012.
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