While Gerald Thomas directed the longest-running comedy franchise in the world (the Carry On movies), elder brother Ralph contented himself with directing a mere seven movies based on the Doctor In… series of books written by Richard Gordon. Doctor at Large was the third in the franchise.
Dirk Bogarde stars as Dr Simon Sparrow, a medical practitioner who decides to branch out from St Swithin’s hospital to see what’s available in the world at large. Firstly he joins the country practice of Dr Hackett (Lionel Jeffries), although his stay is short-lived when he finds himself the subject of Hackett’s wife’s unwanted attention. Next up is an equally unsuccessful stint with the arty Dr Potter-Shine (Derek Farr).
Sparrow’s lack of job satisfaction is tempered by the news that his friend Benskin (Donald Sinden) has been left £15,000 by a wealthy patient. The two set off on a European jaunt, although even this isn’t what it seems – Benskin was left the money for charitable purposes, not personal gratification. Ironically, Sparrow’s quick thinking to aid a governor from his old hospital finds him back on familiar ground at St Swithin’s. He’s soon running into an old adversary, Dr Lancelot Spratt (James Robertson Justice), although thankfully there is also a student doctor, Joy (Muriel Pavlow), who seems intent on living up to her name.
UK / 1957
Director: Ralph Thomas
Writer: Nicholas Phipps, based on the novel by Richard Gordon
Cast: Dirk Bogarde, Muriel Pavlow, James Robertson Justice, Donald Sinden, Shirley Eaton, Derek Farr, Michael Medwin, Lionel Jeffries,