The very first episode of The Young Doctors aired on TCN9 in Australia on the 8th November 1976.
Produced by Alan Coleman, the series followed the lives and loves of the patients and staff of the Albert Memorial Hospital. The programme was a ratings smash and would go on to become the longest running drama serial in Australian television history, beating the previous record which had been held by the raunchy Number 96.
The Young Doctors was the first Grundy drama production to sell overseas and proved a worldwide hit. It soon established a loyal following here in the UK on ITV and proved so popular that it later enjoyed a repeat run on Sky One.
To mark the 40th anniversary of the show, a number of The Young Doctors cast joined showbiz journalist Craig Bennett for an exclusive reunion on the Ten Networks morning programme Studio 10. Viewers across Australia were treated to a wealth of behind the scenes stories from Tim Page (Dr Graham Steele), Chris King (Orderly Dennis Jamison), Chris Orchard (Dr Rod Langley), Peter Bensley (Dr Mike Newman), Diana McLean (Sister Vivienne Jeffries), Joanne Samuel (Nurse Jill Gordon), Judy Lynne (Dr Susan Richards), Paula Duncan (Nurse Lisa Brooks), and Karen Petersen (Erica Shaw).
Craig and Studio 10 certainly did fans of the programme proud with a magnificent tribute to a much loved and much missed drama serial. Craig is fast becoming Australia’s premiere showbusiness correspondent; he always gets the very best out of his guests, handling the most sensitive subjects with genuine compassion. As for Studio 10, the programme continues to go from strength to strength, leaving its rivals well and truly in its wake. I was not surprised when it was voted Australia’s best morning show by readers of TV Tonight.
If you live outside of Australia, fear not, because Studio 10’s exclusive Young Doctors cast reunion is now available to watch on the shows official YouTube channel.
Unlike many classic shows of the era, you’ll be pleased to know that the complete series of The Young Doctors survives, however the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia are in a race against time to digitise the obsolete magnetic master tapes as part of their Deadline 2025 campaign.
They have been doing a sterling job but have limited financial resources with which to save countless Australian television classics. At the time of writing 869 episodes of The Young Doctors remain on the at risk register, any tapes not digitised before 2025 will be lost forever, a state of affairs which can be avoided and which must not be allowed to come to pass. You can learn more about the NFSA and can make a donation to help support their work saving Australia’s priceless televisual heritage by heading to their website.
Cast, crew and fans of The Young Doctors remain hopeful that one day the complete series will be released on DVD, but in the meantime you can enjoy two volumes of selected episodes which have been released by the good people at Umbrella Entertainment.