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Film / Carry On Doctor

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"A Bedpanorama of Hospital Life"

"Look at me. I don't need doctors, I don't need medicine, and nor will you if you just think: 'Nothing. Nothing can happen to me'. And believe me, nothing will."
Francis Bigger, Tempting Fate.

Carry On Doctor is the fifteenth film in the Carry On film series.

It was released in late 1967, and starred famous British comedian Frankie Howerd, Sid James, Charles Hawtrey, Kenneth Williams, Jim Dale, Barbara Windsor, Joan Sims, Bernard Bresslaw, Hattie Jacques, Anita Harris, and Peter Butterworth.

This was the second Carry On to be about the medical profession or set in a hospital; the first being Carry On Nurse back in 1959. It focuses on the antics of the patients and the medical staff in the Borough County Hospital, who have lots of personal problems either in their private lives or with each other.

Firstly, faith leader Francis Bigger (Howerd), who tours around the country promoting positive thinking about health, is admitted to hospital after falling off the stage at one of his lectures - a thing that he loathes because he doesn't believe in medical care - but he is rather grateful that he is away from his deaf assistant Chloe Gibson (Sims).

Secondly, there are the patients in the ward: Charlie Roper (James) is a lazy work-shy man who constantly finds ways to make himself seem worse off than he is; Mr. Barron (Hawtrey) is thought to be suffering from prenatal depression due to his wife Mildred (Gwendolyn Watts) waiting patiently for her labor to commence, so is sent to have pregnancy classes with expecting mothers; Ken Biddle (Bresslaw) is suffering from a broken leg after falling off the surgery table during his appendix operation, who also has feelings for Mavis Winkle (Dilys Laye) in the female ward; and Mr. Smith (Butterworth) who has had a lump removed.

Finally, there's the staff: Dr. Kenneth Tinkle (Williams), who doesn't believe in Mr. Roper's ongoing illness because he isn't able to figure out what's wrong with him; Lavinia, the Matron (Jacques) who has feelings for Dr. Tinkle; Dr. Jim Kilmore (Dale), who is secretly hated by Dr. Tinkle and Matron; Nurse Clarke (Harris), who has feelings for Dr. Kilmore; and Trainee Nurse Sandra May (Windsor), who also has feelings for Dr. Tinkle.

When Dr. Tinkle and Matron finally manage to get Dr. Kilmore sacked following an incident on the roof of the nurses' home with Nurse Clarke and Nurse May, Hilarity Ensues as the patients rally together to get Dr. Kilmore reinstated, while also getting back at Dr. Tinkle and Matron for making their stays at the hospital miserable.

To see the critically acclaimed medical Carry On "sequel", see Carry On Again Doctor. Also see Carry On Nurse and Carry On Matron for other hospital-based movies.

Tropes Included:

  • Accidental Pervert: Dr Kilmore, while attempting to stop Nurse May from jumping from a roof, ends up in a nurse's bath, which leads to his firing.
  • The Alcoholic: If Mrs. Roper's words are anything to go by, Mr. Roper will let his kids go to pot, so long as he gets his beer.
  • All for Nothing: Mr. Bigger mishears Dr. Tinkle telling Miss Gibson that he was given a week at the most, and thinks he has days left to live. In fact, Dr. Tinkle meant he could only stay in the Borough County Hospital for a week. This creates a Sustained Misunderstanding that goes on for most of the film and causes Mr. Bigger to try and make it up to Miss Gibson, so he decides to marry her despite not really liking her. It's not until the end of the film that Dr. Tinkle tells Mr. Bigger directly that he meant that he could only stay in the hospital for a week. Mr. Bigger is furious at the fact that he married "that old bag" for nothing.
  • All There in the Script:
    • The back of the DVD in "The Classic Carry On Film Collection" boxset gives Mr. Roper's first name as "Charlie".
    • Some other names aren't given anywhere:
      • The Sister's surname is "Hoggett".
      • The nurse who Mr. Roper asks for a kiss' surname is "Parkin".
      • The doctor who takes Mr. Bigger's x-ray's surname is "Simmons".
  • Annoying Patient: Mr Bigger, definitely, due to distrust of medical science.
  • Ass Shove:
    • Mr. Roper is subjected to many enemas by Dr. Tinkle, who knows he is Playing Sick.
    • Dr. Tinkle is almost subjected to an enema himself during the patients' uprising.
  • Bait-and-Switch: When Nurse Clarke goes to Dr. Kilmore's office early on, she hears him talking romantically to someone. It turns out he's practicing doing so from a book called Wooing to Win and talking to a skeleton. She walks in on him as he's talking to him.
  • Battleaxe Nurse: Matron. She takes charge of the Borough County Hospital with an iron fist and Mr. Biddle even calls her a "battleship".
  • Big "NO!": Matron, upon being told by Mavis that she is about to be given a blanket bath.
  • Blatant Lies: Early on, Matron asks Mr. Roper if he's been smoking. Holding his breath, he shakes his head. Matron removes the bedclothes to reveal a cloud of smoke and the cigarette he had hidden there.
  • Bookends: The film starts with Mr. Bigger having to go to the Borough County Hospital for injuring his back. He then does it again at the end, on purpose this time, so he won't have to live with Miss Gibson for a while.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The last line of the film. Mr. Bigger does this at the end mid-sentence when he has to go back to the Borough County Hospital after injuring his back again, deliberately this time so he doesn't have to live with Miss Gibson. He laments, "I shall be here for months!", before turning to the camera and adding, "With any luck".
  • Brick Joke: The boy with a bedridden grandfather. First, the boy arrives at the Borough County Hospital with his grandfather's bedpan on his head, and after it gets removed, he drops it on the way out and his mother steps in it and gets her foot stuck. At the end of the film, the grandfather himself is admitted with the bedpan now on his head.
  • Butt-Monkey: Mr. Bigger. He injures his back and is admitted to the Borough County Hospital, which he doesn't approve of because he doesn't believe in medical care, he is Shot in the Ass by accident with a syringe (that was his own fault, however, he threw a pillow to the floor and Kilmore stepped on it, causing the injury), he is annoyed by the noise in Fosdick Ward and is admitted to a private ward instead, his x-ray goes wrong and injures him further, he mishears Dr. Tinkle talking to Miss Gibson and thinks he has only days left, marries Miss Gibson despite not liking her (to try and make it up to her) and looks to be a Henpecked Husband at the end. He is also furious when he learns he married Miss Gibson for nothing, so he injures his back again so he can try to avoid her.
  • Comically Missing the Point: When Matron is chewing out Dr. Kilmore for his clumsiness:
    Matron: This hospital just isn't big enough for both of us, Dr Kilmore.
    Dr Kilmore: Oh, now, come on. You're not all that big, Matron. (Beat) Oh, yes, I see.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Mr Barron. When his wife Mildred told him she was expecting a baby, he came down with a sympathetic pregnancy and feels as if he too is expecting.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Mr. Roper and Mr. Bigger get some really good one-liners in:
    Mr. Roper: What they got you in 'ere for, something nasty?
    Mr. Bigger: No, not really. Just a pain in the back. It's a- cor, cor, dear!
    Mr. Roper: Last bloke in that bed had the same thing.
    Mr. Bigger: Did 'e?
    Mr. Roper: Right up to the end.
    Mr. Bigger: Oh, that's cheering. (Beat) Ah, I'll say one thing for them - it's a nice warm bed.
    Mr. Roper: Should be. They only took him out half an hour ago.
  • Disabled Love Interest: Mr. Bigger marries the partially deaf Miss Gibson when he believes he has a week to live. When he discovers the truth, he is infuriated to have married her for nothing.
  • Disguised in Drag: Mr. Biddle disguises himself as Nurse Clarke to get past Sister Hoggett in order to visit Mavis in Caffin Ward and get the women patients in on the plan to avenge Dr. Clarke.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Mr. Smith suffers from a mysterious lump that was beginning to stick out from under his clothes. The film is aware of the possible boner-related innuendo and runs with it, as other patients listen in and look surprised when it is spoken about.
  • Dogged Nice Girl: Nurse Clarke to Dr Kilmore. She longs for him from afar while they work together and has to remind herself not to blush when she is near him.
  • Dr. Jerk: Dr. Tinkle relishs in Dr Kilmore's downfall and seemed to have known that Mr. Roper was faking his illnesses the whole time, leading him to punish him with ice baths, while also treating the other patients poorly:
    Mr Smith: But won't it 'urt?
    Dr Tinkle: Yes, it will hurt, Mr. Smith, and I want it to hurt! Perhaps next time you consider having a lump, you'll think twice about it.
  • Drama Queen: Mr. Bigger overreacts and complains about everything during his stay at the Borough County Hospital, at first as he is skeptical about medicine, and later as he believes he has a week to live.
  • Drives Like Crazy: The way Henry drives the ambulance makes Mr. Bigger's gurney shoot out the back and into the Borough County Hospital:
    Sam: Blimey, he's in a hurry!
  • Either/Or Title: Carry On Doctor or Nurse Carries On Again or Death of a Daffodil or Life Is a Four-Letter Ward.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Lavinia is mostly just referred to as Matron, similar to most of Hattie Jacques' other Matron characters.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: Early on, Mr. Hardcastle asks Dr. Tinkle what the time is. Dr. Tinkle responds that he can't find his watch, but that he remembers he had it on when he started to sew up a patient. The Oh, Crap! happens when he realises the watch must have come off inside the patient:
    Dr Tinkle: Where's my watch?
    Mr. Hardcastle: You must've taken it off.
    Dr Tinkle: No, no. I distinctly remember having it on when I started to sew that... fellow... Oh, no! An' it was an alarm, too...
  • Flat "What": When Mr. Barron asks Mr. Bigger if he's having his first baby, all Mr. Bigger can respond with is a stunned "Pardon?".
  • Goofy Print Underwear: Dr. Tinkle wears underpants with topless women on them, as seen when Matron forcibly removes them soon after he is admitted. She snarkily says she now understands his reluctance to take them off.
  • Harmless Electrocution: Mr. Bigger's x-ray ends with a tube blowing and him being electrocuted.
  • Henpecked Husband:
    • Mr. Roper, so much so that when Mrs. Roper won't stop complaining at his bedside, he sticks a stethoscope in his ears so he can't hear her, and practically shoos her out when the visiting session is over.
    • At the end, it looks like Mr. Bigger is due to be one thanks to Miss Gibson, who seems to have gotten over her deafness when she says, "Why shout?". He deliberately injures his back again, so he won't have to put up with being one for a few months.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • Mr. Bigger only ended up in the Borough County Hospital in the first place by falling offstage and injuring his back.
    • He also ends up Shot in the Ass when he throws a pillow to the floor in frustration and Dr. Kilmore, holding the syringe, slips on it and he loses his balance.
  • Hospital Gurney Scene: Parodied when Mr. Bigger hurts his back and is driven to the Borough County Hospital. He gurns and howls and looks up at Sam, who asks:
    Sam: Hurts, does it, sir?
    Mr. Bigger: Oh, no. I'm just doing this to while away the journey.
  • Hospital Hottie:
    • Dr Kilmore is a tall broad-shouldered man who at the very least has captured Nurse Clarke's heart.
    • Nurse Clarke herself is a beautiful nurse who Mr. Biddle has dreams about.
    • Nurse May is a busty young woman who turns the heads of almost all the patients in Fosdick Ward.
  • I Can't Hear You: Mr. Bigger decides to marry Miss Gibson despite not really liking her, and he hires a chaplain to conduct the ceremony by his hospital bed. Unfortunately, the chaplain's hearing aid battery is dying, and with a deaf chaplain and bride-to-be, Hilarity Ensues.
    Chaplain: Do you, Chloe Gibson, take this man to be your lawful, wedded husband
    Mr. Bigger: "I do". (Beat) No, he's asking you. Do you, etcetera, etcetera?
    Miss Gibson: Oh, yes.
    Mr. Bigger: Well, dear, look, don't tell me, tell him.
    Miss Gibson: I do.
    Mr. Bigger: Yeah, she does!
    Miss Gibson: I DO!
  • Imaginary Love Triangle: Matron is convinced that Dr Tinkle is secretly in love with Nurse May, and so takes it upon herself to seduce him.
  • Incredibly Conspicuous Drag: Mr. Biddle disguises himself as Nurse Clarke to visit Mavis. Despite the fact he towers over Sister Hoggett, she doesn't realise his trick.
  • Innocent Innuendo: Mr. Roper points out to Nurse Clarke that his thermometer might explode, so she replies that it won't be the case because "Matron doesn't appreciate banging in the wards".
  • Ironic Name: For a doctor, Dr Kilmore can be seen as a play on words of "Kill more".
  • Jerkass:
    • Mr. Bigger, who plays up the Annoying Patient to a tee.
    • Matron and Dr. Tinkle, who hate Dr. Kilmore and take their anger after he humiliates them out on the patients.
  • Landing in Someone's Bathtub: When trying to get off the roof of the Nurse's Home, Dr. Kilmore swings through a window to avoid falling to his death. Doing so lands him in nurse's bath, landing him in investigation for being a sex maniac.
  • Lazy Bum: Mr. Roper. Mrs. Roper accuses him of this on a regular basis and how he must love it in the Borough County Hospital because he doesn't have to do anything for himself, not even having to "walk to the lav".
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Mr. Bigger thinks he only has a week to live. Everyone else knows that the truth is he only has a week he can stay in the Borough County Hospital before he has to leave, but no one knows about his delusions and so he isn't informed.
  • Malaproper: Sam and Henry the ambulance drivers in a Deleted Scene:
    Sam: I 'ad mumps when I was thirty. Ooh, shocking it was. My utensils was all swelled up!
    Henry: I know. Something to do with the prostitute gland.
  • Meaningful Name: Mr. Barron is having a sympathetic pregnancy. "Barren" is used to describe women who can't have children.
  • Mister Seahorse: The shock of his wife Mildred's pregnancy has caused Mr. Barron to also believe he is pregnant:
    Mr. Barron: Is this your first?
    Mr. Bigger: Pardon?
    Mr. Barron: Is this your first?
    Mr. Bigger: First? First what?!
    Mr. Barron: Baby.
  • Oblivious to Love: Dr. Kilmore is seemingly unaware of Nurse Clarke's crush on him until Matron reveals it, and this was after she had kissed him.
  • One-Steve Limit: Mr. Biddle and Dr. Tinkle have very similar first names, "Ken" and "Kenneth" respectively.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Dr. Kilmore's is often called "Jim", but his actual name "James" is only given on his door.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Mr. Bigger has one when he thinks he only has a week left to live.
    • Dr. Kilmore has one after he tells Nurse May where Dr. Tinkle's room is, then realising after she leaves that she isn't allowed up there because female staff must not enter male staff's rooms.
    • Matron has one at the end when Mavis tells her she's about to be given a blanket bath.
    • Dr. Tinkle also has one at the end when he realises he's about to be given an enema.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: 6'7 Mr. Biddle disguises himself as Nurse Clarke to get past Sister Hoggett when planning how to get back at Dr. Tinkle and Matron.
  • Parental Neglect: During one of the visiting sessions, Mrs. Roper accuses Mr. Roper of letting their children go to pot because at least then it will mean that he can have his beer.
  • Playing Sick: Mr. Roper does this for ten weeks to stay in hospital. It backfires horribly when Dr. Tinkle and Matron order him to be subjected to ice baths every four hours day and night.
  • The Pratfall: Mr. Biddle slips over on the way back to Fosdick Ward because of his bad leg and lands on his bottom.
  • Punny Name: Dr. Tinkle could link to urinating in a bedpan.
  • Putting the "Medic" in Comedic: The film's main source of comedy comes from hijinks in the Borough County Hospital, such as Dr. Kilmore falling into a nurse's bath, Mr. Barron being forced to take antenatal classes, and the patients threatening to subject Dr. Tinkle to an enema.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Sid James would've gotten a bigger role, but he'd recently had a heart attack, which is why Mr. Roper is constantly in bed until the climax.
  • Science Is Useless: Mr. Bigger believes this for definite in regard to medicine and doctors, optioning for positive thinking and household remedies.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here:
    • Dr. Kilmore knows that Dr. Tinkle and Matron both hate him and don't want him around, so gets fed up with them and decides to resign.
    • The man from Cox & Carter sees the madness unfolding around him at the hospital when going there to ask about the size of rubber sheets they need. He, like Mr. Bigger had done earlier in the film, dismisses the hospital as a madhouse and decides they don't want rubber sheets, they want straitjackets and leaves.
  • Series Fauxnale: Peter Rogers told Kenneth Williams during production that this would've been the last film in the series, as the previous two entries had made the least money in the series at the time.
  • Shot in the Ass: In this case, "shot" meaning "injection". Being a difficult patient, Mr. Bigger throws his pillow at Dr Kilmore, who trips over it while preparing to give him an injection, and the syringe sticks into his bottom.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Skewed Priorities: When Mr. Bigger is electrocuted getting an x-ray, all Simmons is worried about is another tube blowing.
  • Something Else Also Rises: When Mr. Roper meets the pretty Nurse May, his blood pressure thermometer rapidly rises and blows its top.
  • Spell My Name with an S: Francis' surname is spelt "Bigger" on his advertisements, but "Biggir" on his hospital bed.
  • Strapped to an Operating Table: As part of the patient's vengeance, Dr. Tinkle is strapped to an operating table so that they can take their time to torture him until he signs a confession that he lied to Sir Edmund about Dr. Kilmore's exploits on the roof of the Nurses' Home. It takes the threat of an enema to make him give in.
  • Suggestive Collision: Matron and Dr. Kilmore land like this after eavesdropping on Dr. Tinkle and Nurse May's conversation once the door they were leaning on is opened.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Mr. Bigger carries this attitude around all the doctors and nurses he meets, and openly sneers at all the other patients in Fosdick Ward that are grateful to the staff for making them well again.
  • Sustained Misunderstanding: Dr. Tinkle tells Miss Gibson that Mr. Bigger has a week at the most (he meant that he could only stay in the Borough County Hospital for a week), causing him to panic and think he is going to die. This causes him to marry Miss Gibson out of impulse despite not liking her, and no one is any the wiser, making for a funny scene where a man from Cox & Carter is measuring Mr. Bigger's bed for the size of rubber sheets and he wakes up and thinks that he is being measured up for a coffin. It is not until the end of the film that he realises his mistake and that he is not going to die, though he is still very angry that he married Miss Gibson for nothing.
  • Tagline: "That Carry On gang is playing Doctor with the Sexiest Nurses in town!".
  • Take This Job and Shove It: When Dr. Kilmore resigns, he yells to Dr. Tinkle, Matron, and Sir Edmund that they can stick his job in the "Wanted" column.
  • A Taste of Their Own Medicine: The patients band together to get their revenge on Matron and Dr Tinkle for Dr. Kilmore's resignation. Mr. Roper is full of fury because he's been prescribed ice baths because of his imaginary "high temperature", and so subjects Dr. Tinkle to the same.
  • Tempting Fate: Mr. Bigger is introduced to the audience preaching about how nothing bad can ever happen to you if you think nothing bad can happen. He the promptly falls off a stage and is taken away in an ambulance.
  • Those Two Guys: Sam and Henry, the ambulance drivers that bring Mr. Bigger to the hospital, are hardly ever seen apart.
  • Too Kinky to Torture: The patients attempt to persuade Dr. Tinkle to confess to lying to Sir Edmund by dropping him in cold water. Unbeknownst to them, he takes cold baths every morning.
  • Tuckerization: The Caffin Ward in the film was an in-joke for costume designer Yvonne Caffin.
  • Tyop on the Cover: One of the pictures on the back of the original VHS release isn't from the film or even the Carry On... Series at all, but instead is a still of Dirk Bogarde and Kenneth More from Doctor in the House (1954).
  • Unfortunate Names: Mavis Winkle. She tells Mr. Biddle not to laugh before she reveals her surname.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Mr Barron has prenatal depression because of his wife Mildred's pregnancy, so he is assigned prenatal classes with pregnant women, who don't look fazed when he's doing yoga alongside them.
  • Verbal Backspace: Henry when talking about Dr. Tinkle in this Deleted Scene:
    Dr. Tinkle: Look at that muscle! Feel it!
    Matron: Why, it's wonderful, Doctor.
    Dr. Tinkle: Hard as a button.
    Henry: And about the same size too.
    Dr. Tinkle: What was that, Henry?
    Henry: It's about time I went, Doctor.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Despite Dr. Kilmore getting his job back at the end, we don't know if the same is true for Nurse May.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: Subverted. Mr. Bigger thinks this applies to him due to a Sustained Misunderstanding, and such as thinks he barely has a week left to live. It's not until the end of the film that he realises the truth.


Video Example(s):


Nurse May Turning Heads

Nurse Sandra May quickly earns a reputation on her first day at the local hospital.

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Example of:

Main / HospitalHottie

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