Premiering 10 September 1960, Police Surgeon (not to be confused with the 1971 Canadian series of the same name starring Sam Groom) followed the adventures of Dr Geoffrey Brent (Ian Hendry), an MD working for the rough-and-tumble Bayswater precinct of the London Metropolitan Police. As he would frequently get caught up in sticky criminal investigations, it wasn't all "open, say 'ah'."

Inspired by two popular series of the day, Emergency Ward 10 and Dixon of Dock Green, this gritty little half-hour crime drama was created by ABC Television's Director of Drama, Sydney Newman, as a means to capitalize on the star potential of 29-year-old Ian Hendry, as well as to pull first-rate writer Julian Bond into the department. Bond wrote over half of the scripts in collaboration with J.J. Bernard, pseudonym of a real-life police surgeon.

Bond also served as story editor and, at first, producer. However, after the first four episodes, he bailed out of the producer's seat, and Leonard White (producer of Armchair Mystery Theatre at the time, and later producer of the first one and a half seasons of The Avengers) helmed the balance. Two-thirds of the episodes were directed by Avengers veteran Don Leaver.

According to some accounts, ABC decided to drop the series after the initial run due to lukewarm audience response. However, Leonard White claims that production was halted by Sydney Newman, ostensibly owing to some contractual issues. Either way, Newman was still hot to tap Hendry's star power, and ordered up a replacement series to be developed and in production within a matter of three or four weeks. Given only the name of the new series with which to work, White delivered as ordered, transforming a cheap crime drama into a cheap thriller that would, through "a series of accidents and flukes" (quoting Newman), evolve into a worldwide phenomenon—otherwise known as The Avengers.

Website Copyright 2002-2017 David K. Smith. Program and images Copyright 1960 ABC Television.