A series by David Flynn

Medical programmes have been hugely popular on US television since the early 1960s. The genre begun with two particular programmes which started in 1961. The star of one of the shows, Dr. Kildare was Richard Chamberlain who went on to become an international tv and movie star.

Hollywood actor, Lew Ayres played the lead role of Dr. James Kildare in a series of movies in the 1930s and 40s and dozens of actors auditioned for the part in the tv series with actor, William Shatner becoming the top choice.

However Shatner opted out and went to become part of tv history as Captain Kirk in Star Trek. Actor James Franciscus was also offered the role, but also turned it down and he went on to star in two tv series Longstreet and Doc Elliot, both of which were popular on RTE in Ireland, but only lasted one season each in the US.

27 years old, Richard Chamberlain who had only a handful of screen roles to his name, won the pivotal role of the medical intern in the fictional big US city Blair Hospital.

Continue reading in this week’s Ireland’s Own