Doctors is a British daytime television soap opera, set in the fictional Midland town of Letherbridge, defined as being close to the City of Birmingham. It was created by Chris Murray; Mal Young drove its development and Carson Black was the original Producer with the first episode broadcast 26 March 2000. On 26 March 2010 Doctors celebrated its 10th Anniversary and 1800th Episode. On 11 February 2011, Doctors will air its 2000th Episode.
Doctors is produced by BBC Birmingham and is screened on BBC One and has always been shown at lunchtime. Its storylines deal with the lives of staff and patients at the fictional Mill Health Centre and its offshoot, Letherbridge University's Campus Surgery, although earlier episodes were set at the Riverside Surgery and, later in the storyline, The Best Practice was regularly featured as well. The initial lead star of the soap was Christopher Timothy, well known due to his long-running role as James Herriot in the series All Creatures Great and Small from 1978 to 1990. In Doctors, he starred as a reformed alcoholic but much respected GP, Dr Brendan 'Mac' McGuire.
In episode one, entitled "Letting Go", Dr. Brendan McGuire is introduced as the head partner at a general practice, The Riverside Surgery, in the Midland town of Letherbridge with his wife Kate (Maggie Cronin) as Office Manager and a team of young doctors; Dr. Steve Rawlings (Mark Frost), Dr. Helen Thompson (Corrine Wicks), Dr. Rana Mistry (Akbar Kurtha) and Dr. Caroline Powers (Jacqueline Leonard). Dr. Mcguire is shown dealing with an elderly couple, Margaret (Patricia Greene) and her husband Derek Richmond (Brian Cant), who is suffering from the onset of Alzheimer's Disease. After years of marriage she is reluctant to part with him but is persuaded by 'Mac' that he would be better cared for in a home. This opening episode was indicative of the format each episode of Doctors would continue to follow; a doctor and patient storyline that would begin and conclude during one episode with a strong supporting sub-plot (often linked to the entire contract cast) that would run over the course of a number of episodes or the entire series.
Doctors was originally produced and broadcast in blocks of episodes, ranging from blocks of 40 to 130 episodes in the first three years. Over time, the series' audience has developed and increased prompting the BBC to commission Doctors as a year-round continuing series. Earlier episodes included a noticeably smaller ensemble cast, and episodes were more self-contained single episode dramas with less emphasis on continuing storylines, unlike episodes shown today. Doctors has a high cast turnover, with no original actors remaining from the first series, but the soap is also well known for including established actors in supporting or guest roles and each episode will often include a familiar famous face visiting the Mill Health Centre.
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