LocateTV Blog

Top TV Doctors - Has your favourite made our Top 10?

by on June 9th 2010 at 3:50 pm

LocateTV has found this great blog on the Top 10 TV Doctors. The author, Masters In Healthcare, has kindly agreed to allow us to publish the blog.

“I’m not a doctor, but I play on one TV.” Those words from soap actor Peter Bergman in a 1986 ad for Vicks cough syrup are still some of the most memorable in commercial history, but they also emphasize just how big a role these fake doctors have played in our lives over the years. Medical shows, whether drama or comedy, have always been popular, and the doctors at their core have become some of the most-loved and recognized TV characters of all time.


1. Cliff Huxtable (Bill Cosby, “The Cosby Show”)
Cliff Huxtable was the amiable and bemused centre of his household, always ready to deliver advice when he wasn’t at the hospital delivering babies. Bill Cosby’s most indelible character helped the show run for eight seasons from 1984-1992, and it was one of the biggest shows of the 1980s.

2. Doogie Howser (Neil Patrick Harris, “Doogie Howser, M.D.”)
The preternaturally gifted Doogie Howser breezed through school to become a doctor at 16, which meant he had to grapple with the trials of being a teen while also dealing with the adult pressures of the medical world. The show made Neil Patrick Harris a household name, and he’s been in the spotlight ever since.

3. Philip Chandler (Denzel Washington, “St. Elsewhere”)
This NBC drama had its share of young stars on the rise, including Mark Harmon and Howie Mandel, but it was Denzel Washington’s turn as Dr. Chandler that brought an interesting depth to the show and helped catapult Washington to fame.

4. Benjamin Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce (Alan Alda, “M*A*S*H”)
Adapted from Robert Altman’s 1970 film MASH, the long-running TV series was a slightly softened version of the black comedy about doctors in the Korean War (an obvious allegory for the then-current war in Vietnam). Alan Alda’s Hawkeye Pierce acted as the show’s anchor, using humour to deflect the tragedy around him. The series finale was the most-watched program in American history until the 2010 Super Bowl.

5. Doug Ross (George Clooney, “ER”)
“ER” ran for 15 seasons and rotated a huge number of actors through its cast, but initial star George Clooney was the show’s defining presence early on. Doug Ross was a caring paediatrician willing to break the rules to help people. He left the show during its fifth season.

6. Marcus Welby (Robert Young, “Marcus Welby, M.D.”)
Robert Young’s friendly family doctor first appeared in a movie-of-the-week in 1969 before returning as a series later that year and running through 1976. The themes are dated now, but his character remains one of the most indelible TV doctors of the era.

7. Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson, “Grey’s Anatomy”)
“Grey’s Anatomy” has been popular since its 2005 debut, and a big part of that is the supporting work of Chandra Wilson as Dr. Miranda Bailey, whose tough persona helps shape the younger doctors.

8. Julius Hibbert (Harry Shearer, “The Simpsons”)
Always chuckling and seemingly indifferent to the ups and downs of life in Springfield, Dr. Hibbert, a spoof of Cosby’s Huxtable, is one of the most enduring and hilarious characters on “The Simpsons,” and a fan favourite. (Plus he’s the long-lost brother of Bleeding Gums Murphy, and how cool is that?)

9. Leonard “Bones” McCoy (DeForest Kelley, “Star Trek”)
“He’s dead, Jim.” Leonard McCoy was a staple of the original “Star Trek” TV series and later film franchise, known for his dry humour and comic pessimism. He even put in an appearance in the pilot episode of “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”

10. Gregory House (Hugh Laurie, “House”)
Hugh Laurie was a well-known comic actor in his native England before his performance as the grizzled Dr. House brought him stateside recognition. House is a tough man, but not without compassion for his fellow doctors and for the sick and suffering. The series has remained popular even after six years on the air.

4 Responses to “Top TV Doctors - Has your favourite made our Top 10?”

  1. Congratulations to DeForest Kelley for his awesome portrayal of Leonard "Bones" McCoy. "I'm a doctor, not an elevator" and, "What am I, a doctor, or a moon shuttle conductor?" are two of my favorites. Oh, and "poppycock!" and "oochie woochie koochie coo" also!

  2. Good choices, but this list is skewed a bit too much towads modern TV doctors. What about the incredibly serious Dr. Ben Casey, played by Vince Edwards, with his mentor Dr. Zorba (Sam Jaffe)in "Ben Casey"? All work and no play in for those medicos! Probably he's not lovable enough for this list. But love the inclusion of Dr. Leonard McCoy!

  3. This list is a little skewed towards modern TV doctors, but the list is good, though. What about Dr. Ben Casey, played by Vince Edwards in "Ben Casey" and his older mentor Dr. Zorba (Sam Jaffe). Ultra-serious medicos there, and no time for laughs or romance for Dr. Casey. Richard Chamberlain's equally good "Dr. Kildare" was no doubt the precursor to the more handsome/romantic-type TV doc.

    Viewers have always loved the life-or-death medical situations of a doctor show, haven't they?

  4. Where's "The Doctor" (as In Doctor Who.
    The Definite Article you might say. :)