More TV Memories – The Young Doctors.

The Young Doctors (Nine, 1976-1983)

It’s time to look back at another soap, but instead of reviewing a British one, I thought that I would review an Australian one. It’s something of a surprise to realise that Australian soaps seem to have been more popular in the UK than American ones. The most famous examples are Home And Away and Neighbours, but others that have been shown in this country include A Country Practice, Prisoner: Cell Block H, Sons And Daughters, The Sullivans… and this one.

The Young Doctors is a soap that launched in 1976, it was created by Reg Watson who was also behind Neighbours and it was shown five days a week. It was set at The Albert Memorial Hospital in Sydney. However, it was a rather sparse place, it didn’t contain that many patients or staff. The show concentrated more on the love lives of the doctors (who didn’t seem to be that young, really) and nurses. Although they more often seemed to be down Bunny’s for a drink. And the acting? Well, there really was some acting! vlcsnap-01042

One of the more unusual things about the show was the original opening sequence that seemed to feature the cast down the disco having a dance to the (admittedly funky) theme music by The Executives (maybe EastEnders should start to do this to liven things up). There was a rather high turnover of cast over the years, but some of the regulars included Ada who ran the refreshments kiosk, the intimidating Sister Scott, faithful secretary Helen, and the grumpy balding doctor who wore dark-tinted glasses (the only character to appear in the first and final episode). vlcsnap-01049

Also featuring in some of his earliest TV appearances was Alan Dale as Dr Forrest, who went on to play Jim Robinson in Neighbours, and he has gone on to much further success in more recent years in America. The Young Doctors was also fond of its cliffhangers and featured some rather bizarre plots, including characters falling down a lift shaft, being electrocuted on their honeymoon, and a nurse’s long-lost sister (played by the same actress) secretly replacing her at the hospital (doing such a thing is always a sign that a soap is beginning to run out of ideas and become detached from real life). vlcsnap-01040

The Young Doctors came to an end in 1983 after 1,396 episodes, and concluded with an evocative look back and a special sombre version of the closing theme. The show gained something of a cult following when it was shown on ITV (except in the Scottish region), usually before Children’s ITV, but the scheduling was rather erratic. Central was the first region to import the show in 1982, and some regions were still showing episodes as late as 1995 (there was also always a jump in the closing credits to remove the sponsors’ adverts). Episodes were also shown on Sky One from 1989-1992. vlcsnap-01057

Some episodes of the show have been released on DVD, but not in this country. It might have also had something of an influence on the 90s hospital sitcom parody Let The Blood Run Free (shown in the UK on Channel 4). When trying to find out a little more about The Young Doctors online I discovered a video of a Christmas tape containing some rather amusing outtakes, it seems that working on the show was a lot more fun than I ever realised.

3 thoughts on “More TV Memories – The Young Doctors.

  1. Aussie soaps. I remember watching Young Doctors a few times before the cartoons came on. There were some episodes with a rock star called Georgie Saint. Not sure if he was a recovering addict or having a throat operation or something. Sons and Daughters I remember too on an afternoon, and was it The Flying Doctor(s) another one? Neighbours and Home and Away were kind of addictive, as was Prisoner Cell Block H which was shown later at night.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There was indeed a character in The Young Doctors called Georgie Saint, he was a rock star who was having trouble with his hearing.
      Also appearing in The Young Doctors was Jackie Woodburne who has gone on to play Susan Kennedy in Neighbours for 25 years.
      In more recent years Channel 5 repeated Prisoner: Cell Block H and Sons And Daughters.
      I might review some more soaps soon.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s