Doctor in the House (1954): The First in Popular British Comedy Series Starring Dirk Bogarde

The first of the popular British “Doctor” comedy series, Doctor in the House stars Dirk Bogarde as callow young medical student named Simon Sparrow.

Beginning his five long  years of  internship at St. Swithin’s Teaching Hospital, Sparrow continually runs afoul of head doctor Sir Lancelot Sprat (James Robertson-Justice).

His social life is spiced up when Sparrow is taken under the wings of three student repeaters, all of whom have failed their preliminary exam and are now seeking a second chance.

Bogarde, like the other students, is biologically too old to play such a role, but he shows undeniable charm, which helped cement his status as Britain’s leading matinee idol of the 1950s

Most of the humor is basic and slight, ranging from the character name “Sir Lancelot Sprat” (which is funnier when said  really fast) to the now famous “What’s the bleeding time?” routine.

The film, which some consider to be the best in the series, spawned several follow-ups, as well as a 1970s TV series.

The semi-satirical, semi-personal novels by Dr. Richard Gordon serve as source material for this and other films, directed in a lighthearted mode by Ralph Thomas with bright and shiny color design..

Kenneth More is particularly good as Richard Grimsdyke in a cast that includes Donald Sinden, Kay Kendall, and other accomplished actors.

Running time: 92 minutes