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Oh Doctor Beeching!. Image shows from L to R: Cecil Parkin (Jeffrey Holland), Jack Skinner (Paul Shane), Ethel Schumann (Su Pollard), Ralph (Perry Benson). Image credit: British Broadcasting Corporation.

Oh Doctor Beeching!

Sitcom following the working and personal lives of the staff at Hatley railway station in 1963, under the threat of the Beeching axe

Strand:
BBC1 Comedy Pilots (1995)
Genre:
Sitcom
Broadcast:
1995 - 1997  (BBC One)
Episodes:
20 (pilot + 2 series)
Starring:
Paul Shane, Su Pollard, Jeffrey Holland, Julia Deakin, Barbara New, Stephen Lewis, Ivor Roberts, Perry Benson, Terry John, Lindsay Grimshaw, Paul Aspden
Writers:
David Croft, Richard Spendlove
Production:
British Broadcasting Corporation

The year is 1963, and the new station master at the rural outpost of Hatley has just been informed that many of Britain's less-used railway stations could be closed by the head of British Rail, Dr. Beeching.

The staff resolve to do everything that they can to make a good impression and keep the station - and indeed the line - open. Unfortunately, love rivalries, jealousy, short tempers and incompetence combine with a deeply ingrained easy pace of lifestyle at the station to make this a task far easier said than done!

Our Review: There's no denying that Oh Doctor Beeching! received a mixed reception when originally aired in the mid-1990s. Critics delighted in panning the show, and the public reaction was lukewarm - enough to garner a second series, but not all-embracing.

However, we're not ashamed to say that we love it. Packed with gags and those loud, confident, occasionally outrageous performances that are such a crucial element of the Croft stable of shows, it's infectiously joyous to watch. Sections of a modern audience who believe that comedy should "move on" beyond the unashamedly funny won't be impressed by the programme, but it's almost guaranteed to raise more than a smile for everyone else.

It mightn't be the greatest Croft sitcom, but Oh Doctor Beeching! deserves far more credit and recognition than it receives. Great fun for all of the family.