Review: The Indian Doctor, seasons 1-3

Sanjeev Bhaskar and Ayesha Dharker in The Indian Doctor

The Indian Doctor is a BBC series that began in 2010 and lasted for 3 seasons. All three seasons are now on Hulu. The series is a warm-hearted look into the life of a doctor and his wife in a small mining town in South Wales. It’s the kind of British TV that makes so many people say they love British TV.

Sanjeev Bhaskar and Ayesha Dharker are both superb in their roles as Dr. Prem Sharma and Kamina Sharma. The Indian Doctor is set in the 1960s and the two actors were required to be very upper crust and educated in speech and behavior, while the isolated and uneducated townspeople of the village were the exact opposite. There was plenty of culture clash at first, but the doctor and the villagers began to bond as time went by.

I enjoyed Sanjeev Bhaskar and Ayesha Dharker so much. He was so unflappably brilliant in his perfectly tailored suits. She was so powerful in her gorgeous saris, with those big expressive eyes of hers. I don’t know when I’ve enjoyed a show about a married man and woman quite this much and these two made it so. They were perfect together.

Mali Harries and Sanjeev Bhaskar in The Indian Doctor

Megan (Mali Harries) was one of the townspeople who spoke Welsh, so she was a big help with the overarching storyline for season 1. That season looked at the lung disease among the coal miners. Part of the evidence about lung disease against the greedy mine boss was hidden in a diary written in Welsh. Megan and Prem became very close decoding the diary.

Kudos to Mali Harries for her acting. She can do anything as an actress, and she can speak Welsh while doing it, which is apparently no small thing.

Jacob Oakley and Ayesha Dharker in The Indian Doctor

In season 1, Kamina forms a relationship with a boy named Dan (Jacob Oakley). He needed mothering and Kamina and Prem had lost a child before they moved to Wales. This storyline continues through all three seasons, with Dan’s father, a frequently drunk miner named Owen (Ifan Huw Dafydd), in and out of Dan’s life. By the time the 3rd season ended, Jacob Oakley was taller than Ayesha Dharker.

The receptionist in the doctor’s surgery is played by Naomi Everson. There’s a lot to be said for an effective receptionist.

Alun ap Brinley and Mark Heap in The Indian Doctor

In season 2, a new minister, Rev. Todd (Mark Heap), and his daughter Verity (Naomi Battrick) move to the village. The overarching story in season 2 involves an outbreak of smallpox.

When smallpox hits, the doctor and the local policeman, Sgt. Emlyn Dawkins (Alun ap Brinley) must attempt to get everyone vaccinated and quarantine the town. Rev. Todd was more hindrance than help in that effort.

Kamini’s mother (Indira Joshi) is around for most of season 2 and the smallpox scare.

The third season involves two brothers, Robert Thomas (Rhydian Jones) and Basil Thomas (William Houston), who grew up in the village. They return in a scheme of Basil’s to rob everyone. By deceiving the local shop owner, Sian (Erica Eirian), into believing him, Basil almost makes good on his evil schemes.

Beyond each season having a story line lasting all 5 episodes, there were many minor stories involving the townspeople. They expected the doctor to solve all their problems, no matter what they were, medical or not. Some of the problems were funny.

The Indian Doctor was always bright and cheerful. Even when things were their most serious, there was never any darkness or gloom. Many of the townspeople were tropey caricatures but the whole thing was so lovely that it didn’t matter.

No cursing, no on screen sex (some kissing), no violence. Just good people doing their best. Fun for the whole family!

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poster for The Indian Doctor

Watch a trailer for The Indian Doctor

This series has been around for a while. Have you seen it? Did you enjoy it?

12 thoughts on “Review: The Indian Doctor, seasons 1-3”

  1. Pingback: So Many Great Foreign Films and TV in English - Old Ain't Dead

  2. Will definitely add this show to my watch list. Really liked him in the series Unforgotten with Nicola Walker.
    Really enjoy English TV shows. The actors are so realistic in their roles. Thanks for recommending this one

  3. I’ve just found this series on daytime tv and it’s compulsive – I love everyone in it and endorse the above comments. Only one niggle – the Reverend in series 2 was a bit two-dimensional and clearly set up as a dramatic foil for Prem. The well-worn theme of all clergy being dim religious fanatics with no appreciation of science wasn’t even true in the 1960s.

    1. I got the impression the doctor was acting out of self-interest more than ignorance, but it’s been a while since I watched the series. In any case, the series as a whole was excellent and compulsive, as you said.

  4. Absolutely love “The Indian Doctor!!” Found it by accident. Well cast, great story lines. Sorry it is only three seasons. I stay home on Saturday nights just to watch it!! Thank you, PBS!! You never disappoint!!

  5. I really liked The Indian Doctor, watched all three seasons. Sad that it ended. But can anyone tell me what happened to Gina and the baby? They briefly mentioned her in the beginning of season three but never said where she was?

  6. I think Sanjeev Bhaskar could play any role. He was excellent as Nicola Walker’s sidekick in “Unforgotten”. He is perfect in “The Indian Doctor” as well. Every actor in the series is totally believable. British television is always first-rate. I wish there were more productions available to us in Canada.

  7. I too wondered what happened to Gina and the baby. That was about the only thing they didn’t tie up at the beginning of season 3. Great show though.

    1. I’m watching season 3 which is my least favourite so far. The character of Basil is just a bit too much of a caricature for me. But I’m still enjoying it, mostly for the doctor and his wife. They mentioned that Gina had moved to London, I think.

      It was interesting watching the smallpox outbreak and the villagers’ attitudes during our current pandemic.

  8. Does anyone know whether Verity died of small pox? The reverend and she are not mentioned again after Season 2 as though they just left the planet.

    Regarding Gina and Nye moving to London: wasn’t that where baby Nye’s father was? Maybe they became a family after all…?

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