FLYING DOCTOR/SYN/1959 (Blind)
Dr. Jim Harrison (Peter Madden/costar), a blind physician supervising medical facilities at an Australian hospital serving the remote bush areas in the Australian outback. Dr. Harrison’s eyes were injured in an accident.
He was assisted Dr. Greg Graham (Richard Denning) an American doctor on leave from a San Francisco research institute and an old friend of Dr. Harrison; Nurse Mary Meredith (Jill Adams); Pilot Charley Wood (Alan White), and Radio Operator Alec MacLeod (James Copeland).
“These stories are based on and inspired by the achievements of the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia to which the series is respectfully dedicated.” – Opening Title Card for the Series
- On episode “White Sickness” blind Dr. Harrison flies out to the Williams’ homestead, in response to a radio call. His keen ears sensed that something odd was happening at their home.
- On episode “The Revelation” a blind man named Jeff Peterson (Vincent Ball) is thrown from his horse and discovers his sight is partially restored. Dr. Greg Graham must operate to ensure the Jeff’s retinae stays in place.
Note: THE FLYING DOCTOR was inspired by the popularity of the BBC radio series of the same name which starred James Mackechnie, Bill Kerr, and Bettina Dickson.
The series made a comeback as the mini-series THE FLYING DOCTORS (1985) produced by Crawford Productions that again revolved around the lifesaving efforts of the real Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia. Based in the outback town of Cooper’s Crossing, it featured Dr. Tom Callahan (Andrew McFarlane as the newly arrived physician. This time round there were no blind doctors.
The success of the mini-series spawned a TV series of the same name (1986-1991) with McFarlane being joined by a new doctor, Chris Randall (Liz Burch). McFarlane left during the first season and actor Robert Grubb came in as new doctor Geoff Standish.
Other major characters included: pilot Sam Patterson (Peter O’Brien); mechanic Emma Plimpton (Rebecca Gibney); local policeman Sgt. Jack Carruthers (Terry Gill); and Vic and Nancy Buckley (Maurie Fields and Val Jellay), who ran the local pub/hotel, The Majestic. Andrew McFarlane also later returned to the series, resuming his role as Dr. Callaghan.