Doctors (2000 TV series)
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.
|Genre||Medical soap opera|
|Created by||Chris Murray|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||21|
|No. of episodes||3,838|
Peter Eryl Loyd
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Production company(s)||BBC Birmingham|
|Original release||26 March 2000 –|
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.
On 26 March 2010, Doctors celebrated its 10th anniversary and 1800th episode. Under the title Decade of Doctors, the BBC aired five-minute programmes about the series after each day's episode during the anniversary week. On 16 February 2011, Doctors aired its 2000th 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 storyline, exploring Elaine Cassidy and her dealing with Harrison's change of plea for Lauren Porter's 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.
Annual summer break
On 4 June 2016, it was confirmed that Doctors was to take a three-month transmission break from 10 June 2016; this being the first long summer break since 2006. This was to accommodate the BBC's coverage of UEFA Euro 2016, Wimbledon, Rio 2016 Olympics and Red Rock. The series returned on 30 August 2016.
On 25 June 2017, it was confirmed that Doctors was to take a nine week transmission break from 30 June 2017. This was to accommodate the BBC's coverage of Wimbledon and Red Rock. The series returned on 4 September 2017.
On 18 June 2018, it was confirmed that Doctors was to take a nine week transmission break from 27 June 2018. This was to accommodate the BBC's coverage of 2018 FIFA World Cup, Wimbledon, European Championships and Red Rock. The series returned on 3 September 2018.
On 21 June 2019, Doctors began a ten week transmission break, to accommodate the BBC's coverage of Wimbledon, London Kills the week before Wimbledon, 10 of the final 12 episodes of Red Rock and the last series of 800 Words. The series returned on 2 September 2019.
- 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 mid-2004, Doctors was filmed at the BBC's 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 complaint, alongside the continuing storylines.
During the early years, many storylines revolved around the lead character of Brendan 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's breaking patient confidentiality and her sacking from the Mill (2007), Dr Nick West's car crash and later death (2008) and receptionist Vivien March's rape in 2008, which caused a stir in the media and received recognition at The British Soap Awards in 2009. With the departure of Dr Joe Fenton a new doctor was introduced, Dr Daniel Granger, the nephew of Dr Fenton. One of the first storylines for the character involved his gambling addiction. 2009 also saw the departure of long-standing major characters Ronnie, George and Bracken Woodson.
In 2011, Black Country receptionist Karen Hollins fell pregnant and had an abortion, which saw a breakdown in her relationship with husband Rob and their separation. Affected by the split, Imogen started shoplifting and ended up in court to receive a community service order, which didn't please Rob. 2011 also saw the arrival of trainee GPs Kevin Tyler & Freya Wilson and the murder of temporary receptionist Lauren Porter by Dr Harrison Kellor, who tried to frame Kevin and then try to kill Jack Hollins to prevent him from revealing the truth. Dr Elaine Cassidy suffered from guilt because she introduced Harrison to Lauren.
In 2012, Dr Heston Carter embarked on a relationship with health visitor Marina Bonnaire, 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. Dr Zara Carmichael and Dr Daniel Granger had a baby, Joe. After meeting new boyfriend Martin and ending up in a car crash, practice manager Julia left to be with him. Kevin's girlfriend Michaela accidentally set fire to her house, causing an explosion. Freya was there to call the fire brigade and saved Michaela but realised that Kevin was still in the house. She then went back to rescue him but was injured in the process and was pronounced dead upon arrival at hospital, leaving a distraught partner, practice nurse Mandy Marquez. Howard Bellamy arrives to replace Julia and Elaine quits due to her stress and anxiety over Harrison. Zara and Daniel decide to separate after she finds out about his affair with Cherry, the practice nurse and wife of Dr Jimmi Clay. Cherry then leaves in shame after the affair is revealed to Jimmi and the rest of the practice. Kevin is contacted by his long-lost half sister, only to realise that she and her brother need him for a bone marrow transplant to save their father's life. New doctor Al Haskey joins the team, replacing Elaine. Daniel struggles with severe post-natal depression after Zara leaves with their son.
2013 introduced doctor Emma Reid and her son, Chris, who became a nurse at The Mill. Subsequently, Emma's husband, Sam, was introduced. Sam, left disabled by a cycling accident several years prior, becomes suicidal and ultimately, with Chris's help, overdoses on painkillers and dies in his sleep. Later, Daniel is reunited with Zara and rekindle their relationship, albeit after much counselling. Head receptionist Mrs Tembe also gains a new love interest – Gordon Clement, 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 August/September 2013, Jas was harassed by an obsessive stalker while Emma and Heston, in need of some excitement, began working for the local press as food critics before inadvertently alienating their colleagues because of it. Al, 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. Meanwhile, Chris Reid becomes dissatisfied with his work and leaves for Australia. Karen falls in love with Rob all over again and the two begin to return to normality. New doctor Niamh Donoghue 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, who initially manages to rub everyone up the wrong way.
For the series' 3000 episode, a special storyline was created centering on a number of the main characters, most specifically Rob Hollins. The storyline was called Treehouse and was based on a paedophile ring operating in Letherbridge. We find out a lot about Rob as person, because 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, Rob's childhood friend, took the blame, because Rob was about to enter the police force. This causes Rob to realise that he owes Andy everything. Andy then chose a life of crime which is how he eventually stumbles across Treehouse and leads to him 'informing' against it. Andy is a character who was introduced along with Detective Superintendent Noakes to help break open Treehouse. This storyline also gives DCI Lynette Driver a starring role, as she is the DCI who originally begins investigating the case. At one point Noakes suspends Driver, Hollins and Dr. Clay because he believes they are getting too involved in the case, although all three were reinstated at the end of the storyline. This storyline also brings us to the temporary departure of DCI Driver who is taking a year off to adopt a child.
Emma finds out she is pregnant with Howard's baby. Despite 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 suddenly. Following his death, Mrs Tembe takes over temporarily as acting practice manager and Valerie Pitman returns as temporary receptionist.
In January 2016 Anthony Harker starts as the new practice manager and instantly dislikes Mrs Tembe and starts targeting and 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.
Harker's autocratic 'divide and rule' management style then targets Dr Jimmi Clay. Jimmi and Mrs Tembe uncover a plot to take over The Mill, for which Harker is receiving a backhander. Together with Daniel, they confront Harker 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.
Dr Sid Vere is assigned to the practice as part of his medical training. 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. 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 June 2017, they marry.
In November 2018, Heston is killed in a car crash, leaving the Mill staff devastated and leaving massive repurcussions for the other two people in the car, Al and Mrs Tembe. Al ends up being afraid to get back behind the wheel 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, the Reverend Gordon Clement, returns temporarily to look after the Church and he helps her find her Faith again and forgive God, they also forgive each other and get back together. Zara and Daniel are driven apart by Daniel's daughter, Izzy who pushes Zara to her limits, which causes Zara to accidentally slap Izzy, 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.
At the end of 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, rushing to find a replacement but whilst attending one of her Women in Business meetings, Mrs Tembe meets Becky Clarke, 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. On her last day at the Mill, Mrs Tembe gives advice to all of the staff, her colleagues and friends, before being thrown a goodbye party, where even Valerie sends a video message, being on holiday in Hawaii at the time. After bidding farewell to Jimmi in the car park, Mrs Tembe leaves Letherbridge and the Mill for good. Becky gets off to a rough start as Practice Manager as she receives a negative reaction from Karen, who finds it difficult to work with Becky, whilst Becky tries to improve Karen's efficiency, by telling her not to leave the phone ringing or leave the desk unmanned.
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||Practice nurse||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
|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|
|Alia Hanif||Lisa Ambalavanar||Relative||14 October 2015|
|Shak Hanif||Sunjay Midda||Relative and police apprentice||14 December 2015|
|Silas Trueman||Andrew MacBean||Therapist||12 November 2019|
|Martha Rose||Lilian Hardy||Foster relative||13 November 2019|
|Series||Start date||End date||Episodes|
|1||26 March 2000||19 May 2000||41|
|2||2 October 2000||1 June 2001||116|
|3||3 September 2001||22 May 2002||129|
|4||2 September 2002||13 June 2003||154|
|5||1 September 2003||14 June 2004||182|
|6||6 September 2004||6 April 2005||139|
|7||18 April 2005||13 April 2006||185|
|8||24 April 2006||13 April 2007||185|
|9||23 April 2007||20 March 2008||212|
|10||31 March 2008||27 March 2009||223|
|11||30 March 2009||30 March 2010||234|
|12||1 April 2010||1 April 2011||230|
|13||31 March 2011||30 March 2012||231|
|14||2 April 2012||28 March 2013||221|
|15||2 April 2013||31 March 2014||222|
|16||1 April 2014||27 March 2015||219|
|17||13 April 2015||1 April 2016||217|
|18||4 April 2016||14 April 2017||187|
|19||17 April 2017||2 November 2018||289|
|20||5 November 2018||6 November 2019||195|
|21||7 November 2019||TBA||196|
- 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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