Ian Lavender most famous for his role as ‘Pike’ in Dad’s Army, who was forever being called a ‘stupid boy’ by Captain Manwaring (Arthur Lowe), is to star in an hour long edition of Doctors to mark a landmark anniversary.
Lavender who in recent years also starred in BBC One primetime soap EastEnders will be joined for the 2000th edition by Simon Shepherd who was a regular in ITV’s Sunday night medical saga Peak Practice.
The 2000th episode will see The Mill medical centre in a state of lockdown as a deadly virus is unleashed.
The episode entitled Quarantine sees Ian Lavender playing Rowland Beckley, a retired brigadier who goes to see Dr Heston Carter (Owen Brenman) at the Mill, and has to stay there under a lockdown when the authorities suspect that someone inside is infected with a deadly virus.
Simon Shepherd plays virologist, George Liston, who Dr Simon Bond (David Sturzaker) approaches for help in tackling the deadly virus. Simon later discovers George is actually behind spreading the virus and his daughter Victoria Liston (Daisy Head) – who is locked in the Mill with Cherry (Sophie Abelson) – is the carrier.
It’s a race against time, as the source of the virus is tracked down, and tensions mount as the staff and patients locked inside the Mill deal with the pressure of the situation.
When Cherry develops a rash that indicates she has the virus, George is adamant that there is no cure, but Simon manages to get George to reveal the medication that might save her. But when he can only reach Jimmi on the phone will he be able to persuade him to break the lockdown and if so will he get the medication to Cherry in time?
Will Trotter, executive producer of Doctors, says: “It’s wonderful that Doctors has reached its 2000th episode, and is celebrating by having this hour-long episode featuring all of our regular Doctors cast and some wonderful well known guest stars joining us to mark this milestone. Doctors is a homegrown award-winning British drama for BBC One Daytime and we look forward to the next 2000 episodes!”
The 2000th episode also guest stars Carol Macready, Simon Chandler, Fraser James and Verity Hewlett, alongside all of the regular Doctors cast members. Currently filming in and around Birmingham, the episode airs on Wednesday 16 February 2011.
Other Midlands saga Crossroads, the daily serial set in a motel, ran for over 4510 episodes while the twice weekly Birmingham set General Hospital ran for nearly 400 editions. You can read more about the original Midlands medical saga here.
Doctors airs weekdays at 1.45pm on BBC One and simultaneously on BBC One HD. It is also repeated later in the day on BBC HD. Keep up to date by finding it on the BBC iPlayer.
Dad’s Army photograph courtesy of David Croft.