Doctor in Distress
Doctor in Distress British quad poster.jpeg
Original British 1963 quad film poster
Directed byRalph Thomas
Screenplay byNicholas Phipps
Ronald Scott Thorn
Produced byBetty E. Box
StarringDirk Bogarde
James Robertson Justice
Samantha Eggar
CinematographyErnest Steward
Edited byAlfred Roome
Music byNorrie Paramor
Distributed byRank Film Distributors
Release dates
  • 20 July 1963 (1963-07-20) (UK)
  • 7 July 1964 (1964-07-07) (USA)
Running time
102 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

Doctor in Distress is a 1963 British comedy film directed by Ralph Thomas and starring Dirk Bogarde, James Robertson Justice, and Samantha Eggar. It is the fifth of the seven films in the Doctor series. After a one-film absence, it was the final return to the role of Simon Sparrow by Dirk Bogarde, and also the return (although in a different role) of Donald Houston. The film uses some of the characters in Richard Gordon's Doctor novels, but is not based on any of them.


Simon Sparrow, now a senior doctor at Hampden Cross Hospital, falls in love with Delia, a model and aspiring actress. They eventually move in together, but then she goes to Italy to audition for a film.

Meanwhile, Sir Lancelot Spratt injures his back in a fall. Placed under the care of physiotherapist Iris Marchant, he is initially hostile, but soon succumbs to her charms. He turns to his friend Simon for advice. Simon sends him to a nature cure clinic in a vain attempt to help him lose weight. Spratt has Iris followed, and, when his private investigator turns up at Hampden Cross as a patient, follows her himself (terrorising a nervous train passenger in the process). He proposes to her, but is eventually rejected in favour of another of her patients, retired army Major Tommy French.

Delia returns to England, having somehow acquired an expensive Italian car (a Maserati Sebring) and expensive clothes, though she did not win a part in the film. It is implied that she and Simon get together again.

Main cast


The film was one of the ten most popular movies at the British box office in 1963.[1]

According to Kine Weekly the four most popular films at the British box office in 1963 were From Russia With Love, Summer Holiday, Tom Jones and The Great Escape, followed by, in alphabetical order, Doctor in Distress, The Fast Lady, Girls! Girls! Girls!, Heaven's Above, Jason and the Argonauts, In Search of the Castaways, It Happened at the World's Fair, The Longest Day, On the Beat, Sodom and Gomorrah, The V. I. Ps, and The Wrong Arm of the Law.[2]


  1. ^ "Most Popular Films Of 1963", The Times, 3 January 1964, from The Times Digital Archive, retrieved 11 July 2012.
  2. ^ Hill, William John (1985). CLASS, SEXUALITY AND THE*BRITISH CINEMA 1956-63 (PDF) (Thesis). University of York. p. 288.