All manner of strange and nasty ailments can befall residents of the Gerry Anderson television universe, from brains melting on the Moon to an outbreak of dreaded Xyron fever in Demeter City. Luckily help is always on hand in the form of some of the finest medical professionals in the universe; splendid fellows, all fifteen of them! For this list, we’ve focused purely on doctors of medicine and medical practitioners – so sincere apologies to the likes of Doctor Horatio Beaker and Doctor Tiger Ninestein!
Let’s begin our tour in the ol’ West…
Four Feather Falls
Doc Haggerty is the man to see if you ever fall ill in the town of Four Feather Falls. This genial Irishman, voiced throughout the series by Kenneth Connor, is one of the town’s most beloved and well-dressed residents. He’s sometimes a little old-fashioned for his own good and tends to err on the side of caution when it comes to making a diagnosis, which can cause problems in a town whose population are frequently distracted by anything new and different – regardless of whether it works or not! Perhaps tellingly, he is most often to be found propping up the bar in the town’s saloon.
Medical duties aboard Fireball XL5, throughout Space City and the World Space Patrol generally were apparently all entirely the responsibility of Venus, the “beautiful doctor of space medicine” voiced by Sylvia Anderson herself. Being the only medical practitioner we ever see in the XL5 universe means her word is essentially law when it comes to whatever questionable diagnosis she feels like issuing, although her knack for being kidnapped or falling into big holes means it would probably be worthwhile getting another doctor trained before it’s too late. Despite these drawbacks Venus is apparently considered as capable a member of the World Space Patrol as any (frequently taking the controls of XL5 and only rarely crashing it), even if she struggles to close her mouth.
Although Stingray itself didn’t carry a doctor Marineville’s medical needs were handled by a character only ever referred to as ‘Doc’, voiced by David Graham in two episodes (plus a silent cameo in a third). This soft-spoken doctor has a fondness for punctuating bad news with dramatic pauses, perhaps in tribute to popular television soap opera doctors of the 1950s and 60s, and has a notable central role in the episode Invisible Enemy as he searches in vain for the cause of the sleeping sickness sweeping Marineville.
Doctor Fawn (real name Edward Wilkie) serves as chief medical officer aboard Cloudbase with the equivalent rank of Captain. Despite this prominent position on the very forefront of the fight against the Mysterons Doctor Fawn ultimately got more to do in the various Captain Scarlet spinoff media than on television, as the puppet character was only voiced by Charles Tingwell in two episodes. When Tingwell left the show after twelve episodes Fawn remained silent for the rest of the series, and despite making several more appearances it now fell to other characters to tell us what he was doing!
The switch to live action enabled a greater number of recurring characters to be seen in UFO than on any previous Anderson series up to that point, and the SHADO organisation counted several notable physicians among its ranks. Doctor Shroeder (Maxwell Shaw, 4 episodes) was the first we met, operating on the very first Alien captured by SHADO as well as carrying out psychiatric evaluations on various SHADO personnel (he is also the only doctor on this list to offer patients cigarettes with each consultation). Another doctor who fought to stabilise a captured Alien was Doctor Murray (Peter Burton, 2 episodes) who later assisted Doctor Frazer (Basil Moss, 4 episodes) in conducting personnel evaluations at the SHADO Research Centre. Frazer also occasionally served on Moonbase and at SHADO Headquarters where he was part of ‘Project Foster’, the operation that successfully lured Paul Foster into SHADO, alongside the organisation’s most prominent doctor the lovably sinister Doug Jackson. Despite being introduced as “a psychiatrist as well as a trained interrogator” and serving as prosecuting officer during Paul Foster’s court martial, Jackson had apparently assumed control of all medical and psychiatric departments at SHADO Headquarters by the end of the series. Which rather begs the question; what happened to Shroeder, Murray and Frazer?
The 311 residents of Moonbase Alpha faced all manner of horrors during the Moon’s voyage into the unknown, but Alpha’s Medical section was extremely well-equipped to deal with any emergency within the realm of human experience – although anything beyond that was often guesswork. For both seasons Alpha’s Medical Center was overseen by Doctor Helena Russell, as played by Barbara Bain in all episodes of the show. Coolly efficient, brave and capable throughout the first season Helena softened noticeably during the second as her relationship blossomed with Commander Koenig, until occasionally her medical qualifications also seemed as questionable as those of Doctor Venus (“I’m a doctor, John, not a miracle worker!”).
Throughout both seasons Helena also had a deputy, and this position was held by several different doctors over the long years that the Moon drifted through the void. Throughout the first season of Space:1999 this role was filled by Doctor Bob Mathias (Anton Phillips, 23 episodes) who also held the position of the show’s resident punching bag. As the series moved into its second season behind the scenes issues lead to the departure of Phillips and to the post of medical deputy becoming something of a revolving door, but dates given within the episodes suggest Mathias remained in Medical until mid-2001. The physically-similar, somewhat grumpier but also less fragile Doctor Ben Vincent (Jeffery Kissoon, 7 episodes) evidently replaced him some time after that, serving Helena’s deputy until late 2004, and in turn Doctor Ed Spencer (Sam Dastor, 3 episodes) replaced him through 2005 into 2006. How long Spencer held the post and what happened to his predecessors is anybody’s guess, but the brief reappearance of Doctor Mathias via stock footage during a Doctor Vincent episode at least gives the hope that both are merely working elsewhere on the base rather than taking up space in the morgue.
Medical matters among both biological and artificial members of the Terrahawks organisation fell to Zeroid 50, better known as Doctor Kiljoy. Voiced by Windsor Davies in three episodes of the show this eccentric Indian-accented doctor was first seen attempting to repair HUDSON after he was damaged by Yuri the Space Bear’s telekinesis, and went on to examine the Terrahawks themselves when they were rendered unconscious by space pollen. In the final episode of the series, Operation Zero, Sergeant Major Zero takes a trip to the Zeroid sickbay but isn’t too happy at the prospect; “that Kiljoy’s a butcher. Opens you up, and in he goes with a soldering iron!” Regardless of these remarks and his various ‘behavioral eccentricities’ the Indian Zeroid hasn’t lost a patient yet, proving that you’re (probably) always in safe hands with Doctor Kiljoy and his Scottish nurse.
A native of the planet Flora, Lyca was a student searching the universe for plants that might contain medicinal properties when she and her pilot Roger were captured by the sinister space pirate Short Fred Ledd. Upon being rescued from his clutches by Captain Thrice Lyca offered to serve as medical officer aboard the Paradox, where she continues her studies to this day during the ship’s never-ending quest to find Lavender Castle. Her butterfly wings also enable her to fly, which instantly makes her one of the most useful entrants on this list.
Unique among the main characters from the original Captain Scarlet Doctor Fawn was not reimagined for 2005’s New Captain Scarlet and was instead reworked into Doctor Gold, voiced by Nigel Plaskitt in thirteen episodes. An older man than Fawn, Doctor Gold is a keen sub-aqua diver and is good friends with Colonel White. Despite exhibiting a general air of melancholy (as Destiny Angel once observed, although she’s hardly one to talk) Gold occasionally gets to accompany agents into the field including making two visits to Mars, and also enjoys the benefits of a visibly staffed sickbay. However, as was often the case on Skybase, many of the people working for Doctor Gold seemed to be identical clones.
So, now that you’re up to date on the various medical options available in the Gerry Anderson universe, we have one question; if your life rested in the hands of one of the above, which of our Gerry Anderson doctors would you choose? Let us know in the comments below!