A Brief History of Walford’s Doctors

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Dr. Legg set the bar for Albert Square’s medical profession from Day One

By Nicholas Pascale

From his very first scene Dr Harold Legg (Leonard Felton) firmly planted himself in the community of Walford.

His first dramatic episode was the unforgettable “Who killed Reg Cox?”. From then on, we saw a doctor that lasted in our hearts from 1985 to 1997.

A Holocaust survivor, Dr Legg showed care, concern and compassion for all who inhabited

Albert Square. No doctor that followed him had the longevity of Dr Legg. He rented the two flats above his to Ethel Skinner and Mary with her baby Annie. In 1988 we were introduced to his sister’s son, Dr David Samuels (Christopher Reich), after his sister visited him and convinced him to bring her son into his practice. They came from Israel. The two doctors butted heads on many occasions.

Dr Samuels represented the new approach to medicine, whereas Legg was the old world. Dr Samuels has an argument with his uncle, Dr Legg, over failing to correctly diagnosis Vicki Fowler’s meningitis, which causes Dr Legg to retire and leave the practice to David. Since the character of David was not well received, the writers had his girlfriend Ruth talk him into going back to Israel with her!

For years after, Dr Legg was slowly written out, and we had a string of doctors to replace him. Of this string Dr Fred Fonseca (Jimi Mistry) became the next doctor to occupy the surgery. He was Asian as the producers felt they needed another Asian to replace the Kapoors.

He was not as compassionate as Legg, he would never listen to his patients’ complaints after hours and took a holistic approach to medicine. He was the writers’ way of introducing homophobia to Walford.

His receptionist Josie, who was a born-again Christian, would often chide him about being gay. When her daughter, Kim, who was confused about her sexual identity, consulted Fonseca, Josie accused him of trying to recruit her to the “gay cause”!

He stands out, a doctor that was trendy, handsome and struggling with being gay! He lasted from 1998 to 2000. He was followed by Dr Alex Harrison (Ian Shaw), Dr Daniel Rodford (Howard Saddler),

Dr Steven Khan (Hari Saijan) and Dr Anthony Trueman, played by Nicholas Bailey (son of one of main characters, Patrick Trueman). He lasted for three years, from 2000 to 2003, and provided us with many interesting story lines. One of which was

dating both mother and daughter, Kat Slater and her daughter Zoe. He came back for his father’s wedding to Yolande and his brother Paul’s funeral. He now lives in Cambodia.

And although he only lasted for one season, Dr Oliver Cousins could never be forgotten. From being locked out of his apartment wearing nothing but a bath towel that slipped off

to finally standing up for Little Mo and proposing to her once he got over being shy gave us our 2006 Walford doctor! All the doctors that worked in Albert Square lived above the surgery!

An interesting note: on a plaque outside the surgery a list of three doctors, whom we’ve never seen nor met, are listed: Dr Paige Luxton, Dr Sam Burnett and Dr Dale Lockey. And during 1985 to 2006 we’ve seen nurses as well.

Andy O’Brien who was tragically run over and died, and Sonia Jackson Fowler and her lover Naomi Julien. Now we have to wait to get to meet some interesting doctors that will arrive in the years following 2006: Dr May Wright whom the American audience will be meeting later this year and Dr Yusef Khan who arrives in 2011 in the UK. As you can see, none of the doctors that followed Dr Legg could ever hold a candle to the lovable Dr Legg!