I first caught this show on BBC America some time ago and had been waiting and waiting for it to appear on the air again or be available on Region 1 DVD. No such luck. Then, just the other day, I happened upon the show in searching Netflix streaming videos. I was elated. This show is absolute and total madness.
It starts off with Dr. Caroline Todd (Tamsin Greig) facing her first day at East Hampton Hospital. When she’s introduced to fellow doc Alan Statham, he says, “Welcome to the lunatic asylum.” That’s spot on and describes this show perfectly. As the cliché goes, the lunatics are running the asylum.
If you’ve seen the US show Scrubs, it’s kind of like that, but a much, much more raunchy version. These doctors and administrators spend more time trying to get into each other’s pants than they spend interacting with their patients. It may be a “medical” show, but there are really no medical storylines. It’s all about the staff and their relationships, or lack thereof, with each other.
The characters are beyond quirky. Not only are they off-the-wall, but they’re off the ceiling as well. They act like they’re in high school with their petty jealousies, maniacal pranks and gossip.
The ensemble cast is made up of some great comedic actors I’ve seen in other shows, including one of my favorites, Mark Heap, who was fantastic in Spaced and Lark Rise to Candleford. (Lark Rise is a drama, but Mark was equally excellent in that.) Mark plays Dr. Alan Statham, who’s hot for Human Resources Director Joanna Clore. And he seems to be obsessed with how his lab coat swirls around him when he turns a corner. The rest of the characters are equally as bizarre.
I sincerely hope this is not even a slight representation of the UK’s national healthcare system, or even a parody of it. Yikes! But it is a very funny show, hopefully not based whatsoever on any facts.
Tamsin Greig – Caroline Todd
Julian Rhind-Tutt – Mac Macartney
Sarah Alexander – Angela Hunter
Mark Heap – Alan Statham
Stephen Mangan – Guy Secretan
Pippa Haywood – Joanna Clore
Michelle Gomez – Sue White
Karl Theobald – Martin Dear
Oliver Chris – Boyce
Total Seasons: 2 (18 episodes)
Seasons Available on US Formatted DVD: 0 (but currently on Netflix streaming)
In Production: 2004-2007
Viewer Discretion: Adult situations and language