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Program Title
Doctor Finlay, II

Episode Title
Burning Bridges

Episode number:
1 2 3 4 5 6

The redecoration of Arden House turns out not to be nearly as lavish as Dr. Finlay had hoped.

Original broadcast date

Cast Characters
David Rintoul Dr. John Finlay
Annette Crosbie Janet MacPherson
Ian Bannen Dr. Alexander Cameron
Jason Flemyng Dr. David Neil

DOCTOR FINLAY/Episode 4/Intro by Russell Baker

If you have found Doctor Finlay a bit of a stiff so far and wish he would lighten up, you'll be pleased to learn that Doctor Neil agrees. The two of them -- Finlay and Neil -- will fight it out like men tonight.

And afterwards Neil will congratulate Finlay on finally showing some signs of life.

Neil, of course, is a doctor who can't cope with death. For this reason he is thinking of pulling out of the partnership to do research in Glasgow. Doctor Finlay is not delighted.

There is another doctor in town: Doctor Gilmore. Conservative, well-heeled, socially impeccable…except, as Doctor Cameron is about discover, he has a potentially ruinous secret in his house.

Doctor Finlay -- Burning Bridges.

DOCTOR FINLAY/Episode 4/Extro by Russell Baker

It's important, I think, to keep in mind that these Doctor Finlay stories are period pieces -- costume dramas about a past that's now quite vanished.

Those of us old enough to remember 1946 may be reluctant to admit it, but it was a long, long time ago, and everything was different. Even the way people dressed.

Our costume designer did an especially subtle job of dressing Finlay and Neil in the sturdy, poor-but-honest look of Britain in the late 1940s. But there are more obvious signs that this is about times gone by.

Dr. Neil, for instance, makes house calls on a bicycle. Imagine your own doctor today making a house call…on a bicycle.

Madge Gilmore, miserably married to a doctor she has come to despise, is another familiar figure -- all too painfully familiar -- of times now past.

True, not all women have yet shaken off the stifling sense that they must play good wife to an all-important husband, but today's world is at least hospitable to women who want to be free of it.

In Madge Gilmore's time, a husband's failure was often blamed on his wife.

The doctor, or Army officer, or business executive whose wife didn't entertain well, or hold the accepted opinions, or talk with the proper mixture of charm and inanity…a wife like that was likely to be blamed for ruining her husband's career.

Many big corporations well into the 1960s still looked closely at executives' wives before making promotions.

And who is to say that some don't, even now?

Had Mrs. Gilmore let people know that she didn't like the company she was required to keep, or that she was fond of gin, or enjoyed sex, she would have sunk the poor man.

Like many other women of that long-ago time, she was forced to pretend, and sank herself in despair.

For Masterpiece Theatre, I'm Russell Baker. Goodnight.

Episode number: 1 2 3 4 5 6

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