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Doctors (2000 TV series)

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 Midlands town of Letherbridge, defined as being in the city of Birmingham, the soap follows the lives of the staff of both a 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]

GenreMedical soap opera
Created byChris Murray
Directed byVarious
  • Present cast
  • Former cast
Country of originUnited Kingdom
No.of series20
No.of episodes3,797
Mike Hobson
Peter Eryl Loyd
Mike Hobson
Sam Hill
Carol Harding
Sandra MacIver
Dawn Coulson
Caroline Slater
Camera setup
  • Video
  • multiple-camera setup
Running time30 minutes
Productioncompany(s)BBC Birmingham
Original network
Picture format16:9
Original release26 March 2000 (2000-03-26) –
External links
Website [18]


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 developing it and Carson Black as original producer. The series was formerly shown at 12:30pm as a lead-in to the BBC's 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 and from 16 February 2009, the show began transmitting in high definition on BBC HD at 4:00pm the same day.

Doctors was originally produced and broadcast in blocks of episodes, ranging from blocks of 40 to 130 episodes in the first three years. For example, from the end of series three in 2002 until September 2006, Doctors took lengthy breaks in transmission over the summer to accommodate sport events such as the 2002 FIFA World Cup, UEFA Euro 2004, 2006 FIFA World Cup, 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, Wimbledon in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006 and 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. However, the series' audience has developed and increased, prompting the BBC to commission Doctors as a year-round continuing series.

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 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 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 3,000th episode,[2] "The Heart of England", which was also extended and ran for 60 minutes.

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 was 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.[3]

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 final 12 episodes of Red Rock and the last series of 800 Words. The series returned on 2 September 2019.[4]

Location and setting

Until mid-2004, Doctors was filmed at the BBC's Pebble Mill studios in Edgbaston, Birmingham.[5] 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.[5] 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.[5] In light of this, the show moved to the new BBC Drama Village development in Selly Oak, Birmingham,[5] 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).[6]

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.[7] This storyline also brings us to the temporary departure of DCI Driver who is taking a year off to adopt a child.[8]

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 ensemble 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 Adrian Lewis Morgan, who has portrayed the role of Jimmi Clay since 5 September 2005.

Regular characters

CharacterActorRoleFirst appearance
Jimmi ClayAdrian Lewis MorganGeneral practitioner, police surgeon5 September 2005
Daniel GrangerMatthew ChambersGeneral practitioner, partner9 July 2007
Karen HollinsJan PearsonReceptionist23 February 2009
Zara CarmichaelElisabeth Dermot WalshGeneral practitioner and business partner4 June 2009
Rob HollinsChris WalkerPolice officer24 July 2009
Emma ReidDido MilesGeneral practitioner, police surgeon, clinical lead in LGBTQ+ health and elderly care2 October 2012
Valerie PitmanSarah MoyleReceptionist15 October 2012
Al HaskeyIan MidlaneGeneral practitioner13 November 2012
Ayesha LeeLaura RollinsPractice nurse30 September 2014
Sid VereAshley RiceGeneral practitioner, clinical lead in minor surgery27 April 2015
Ruhma CarterBharti PatelSenior Sister and Consultant nurse in midwifery15 October 2015
Becky ClarkeAli BastianPractice manager5 February 2019

Recurring and guest characters

CharacterActorRoleFirst appearance
Isobel "Izzie" TorresJasmin and Nicole Parkinson
Maizey Corbett
Bethan Moore
Relative15 December 2008
Imogen HollinsCharlie ClemmowRelative4 August 2009
Joe GrangerEmily and Lewis Whitehouse
Olivia and Oscar Wilson
Harrison and Lily-Sue Horbury
River Mahjouri
Nathaniel Arthur Stocks
George Black
Corey and Luka Donnelly
Kaiden and Kori Leigh Miles
Roman Law
Oliver Falconer
Relative13 February 2012
Barry BiglowDavid PerksSecurity guard9 April 2010
Alia HanifMandy Thandi
Lisa Ambalavanar
Relative14 October 2015
Shak HanifSunjay MiddaRelative and police apprentice14 December 2015
Eve HaskeyRachel BellRelative6 March 2017

Named extras

Tasha VermaMaria Pike[9]


SeriesStart dateEnd dateEpisodes
126 March 200019 May 200041
22 October 20001 June 2001116
33 September 200122 May 2002129
42 September 200213 June 2003154
51 September 200314 June 2004182
66 September 20046 April 2005139
718 April 200513 April 2006185
824 April 200613 April 2007185
923 April 200720 March 2008212
1031 March 200827 March 2009223
1130 March 200930 March 2010234
121 April 20101 April 2011230
1331 March 201130 March 2012231
142 April 201228 March 2013221
152 April 201331 March 2014222
161 April 201427 March 2015219
1713 April 20151 April 2016217
184 April 201614 April 2017187
1917 April 20172 November 2018289
205 November 2018TBA195


  • In 2006, the highest peak 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 Tuesday, 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.

  • In 2010, there was a slight increase in ratings on 2009. The episode which peaked 3.7 million was the last in the year. Aired on 17 December 2010 the episode titled "These Boots" saw the departure of receptionist Ruth Pearce and the dramatic scenes of Dr Simon Bond having to have his stomach pumped by colleagues; Dr Zara Carmichael and Dr Daniel Granger. The previous episode aired on 16 December peaked viewers of 3.5 million to see Receptionist Karen Hollins receive news about her unexpected pregnancy.

  • 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.[10] On 12 February, the highest rating of the year of 1.94m was achieved.[11]

  • In 2017, episodes nearly reached a peak of 4 million viewers.[12]

Awards and nominations

International broadcast

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.[13] 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.[14]


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