Weekend Viewing: DR. FINLAY’S CASEBOOK

A.J. Cronin was a tremendously successful Scottish novelist, specializing in a warm and friendly mix of drama, comedy, and moral uplift. With that formula, it’s not surprising that many of his books were made into Hollywood movies, including The Citadel, The Keys of the Kingdom and The Green Years. One book that wasn’t made into a movie was his early novella Country Doctor, about a medical practice in a Scottish town and the byplay between Dr. Cameron, the old doctor, and his young associate Dr. Finlay. In 1962, Cronin himself developed the novel into a BBC television series, sort of a Scottish Dr. Kildare. The show was a big hit, running for nine years; you may remember that there was a reference to it on an early Monty Python episode; when an alien force was turning Englishmen into Scotsmen, the detective thought one such case might be explained by the fact that “he always did watch Dr. Finlay on television.” It was later revived for BBC radio, and was turned into another television series, this time for ITV, in the early ’90s.

This is the first episode of season 2, “A Time For Laughing,” and probably the oldest surviving episode (remember, this is the BBC we’re talking about; it’s amazing that any episodes survive) about the delivery of a baby that may or may not have been fathered by the woman’s husband. Embedding is not enabled with these clips, but here are links to each part of the episode:

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

Part Six (conclusion)

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