Police Surgeon – The Launch Of A New TV Series: TV Times Northern Edition No. 253 September 4th – 10th 1960

Picture above: Ian Hendry as Dr. Geoffrey Brent and John Warwick as Inspector Landon

Police Surgeon – The Launch Of A New TV Series [September 1960]

– The Series That Led To The Creation Of The Avengers

Occasionally, I discover something that helps me to explain a little bit more about Ian Hendry’s life.

Today, I came across an article on Police Surgeon – which is reproduced below in full. It was in the TV Times Northern Edition No. 253 and covered the schedules for the 4th – 10th September 1960. The article is by Bill Evans, who was a journalist with the TV Times, and gives an overview of the series creation, the characters and some of the plot outlines. It also provides some interesting details about the series creator Julian Bond and some of the other key actors involved in the series, including John Warwick, Ingrid Hafner, Harry H. Corbett and a very young Michael Crawford, who was just 18 years old at the time! It was clearly also a promotional piece for the launch of this new series which was first broadcast on Saturday 10th September 1960.

Fans of The Avengers will know, that this little-known TV series played a vital role in the subsequent creation of the cult series. Police Surgeon gave Ian his first really significant role in television with the part of Dr. Geoffrey Brent.  And whilst the series was not a big commercial success, ABC TV recognised the talent of their lead actor and were determined to find another suitable ‘vehicle’ for him. And the new series that was created was of course The Avengers, in which Ian Hendry played another doctor, but this time he went by the name of Dr. David Keel.

The fascinating story of Police Surgeon series and the part it played in the subsequent development of The Avengers, is superbly told in the book Dr. Brent’s Casebook by Richard McGinlay and Alan Hayes. For more details on this publication, please click on the link below:

Find Out More: Dr. Brent’s Casebook by Richard McGinlay and Alan Hayes

So without further ado, here is the full article from the TV Times Northern Edition No. 253 September 4th – 10th 1960:


Picture: Cover for the TV Times Northern Edition No. 253 September 4th – 10th 1960

Modern police work needs allies. One of the policeman’s key allies is the doctor. His work ranges from examining alleged drunks to attending injured policemen or prisoners. Sometimes he must not only certify death but give an opinion on its cause. The doctor’s work for the police is dramatic, but the public know little about it.

Police Surgeon, a new half-hour TV series starting Saturday, starring Ian Hendry as Dr Geoffrey Brent, will lift the curtain.


Julian Bond, who wrote several of the Probation Officer scripts, is writing most of the episodes for the new series, in collaboration with J. J. Bernard, the pseudonym of a London police surgeon who suggested that the work would be an ideal theme for a TV series.

The young, idealistic Dr Brent cannot resist taking a personal interest in the cases to which he is called, for at heart he is a philosopher.

First of the 13 stories, many based on fact, is titled “Easy Money.” In it Dr Brent deals with a young thief, played by 18-year-old Michael Crawford. The second episode, “Under the Influence,” deals with a motorist, played by Bernard Archard, accused of drunken driving.

Other early episodes star Harry H. Corbett as a man who beats up a club hostess in “Lag on the Run” and Jean Anderson in “Sunday Morning Story,” which deals with a refugee girl’s suicide.

Appearing in several episodes with Ian Hendry is John Warwick, playing Inspector Landon, of the Bayswater area police station, to which Dr Brent is attached. Another artist who will be seen in several episodes is Ingrid Hafner, the surgeon’s receptionist.

The theme music has the appropriate title ‘The Big Knife.” The first four episodes of Police Surgeon are being produced by Julian Bond and the rest by Leonard White. Bond, 29 years old, has been writing for TV since 1957. Before that he was writing and directing documentary films. He is married and has three children.

Ian Hendry is the same age as Bond. He made his TV debut some years ago stooging for the famous clown Coco. The clown tried to persuade Ian to use his talent for knockabout comedy in the circus, but his gift for acting led him to the stage.

Bond chose Ian to star in his new series after watching his progress for three years following an impressive performance in Anouilh’s Dinner with the Family, which brought him to London with the Oxford Playhouse company.

At school at Culford, Suffolk, Ian’s main interest was sport. During National Service with the 32nd Medium Regiment, RA, he paced Chris Chataway and organised his own motor-cycle stunt team.

Ian went from the Central School of Speech and Drama into repertory. About the same time he was cast in Emergency — Ward 10, and established a following as Chris Stone, a polio patient. Film parts followed in Room at the Top, Sink the Bismarck and In the Nick.

Last spring he was back in TV as the young pilot whose error caused the death of a friend in Inside Story, and since then he has had further TV successes in Probation Officer, Eugene O’Neill’s Beyond the Horizon and Flight from Treason.

To celebrate this series Ian and his wife Jo, who teaches film and television make-up, have moved to a new home aboard a converted naval pinnace on the Thames at Chiswick.

by Bill Evans for the TV Times


What I found particularly interesting was that it was only when Ian Hendry landed the role in Police Surgeon, that he moved with first wife, Jo, to live on the boat at Chiswick. Up until that point, they had both been renting an apartment in North London.

Picture: Extract from the TV Times article for the week, 9th – 15th September 1960 showing Ian Hendry and the newly purchased houseboat

It would seem that the advance paid for his work on Police Surgeon gave Ian and Jo enough money to buy their own place in London, a former naval boat! The image above is taken from the TV Times article for the week commencing 9th September 1960, which is reproduced in full on this website at the following link:

Ian + Jo – Police Surgeon + Chiswick – TV Times 9th – 15th September 1960

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Until next time,

Neil Hendry
Editor, Official Tribute To Ian Hendry

Further Reading

A detailed account of the life and work of Ian Hendry in the new biography:

Read: ‘Send in the Clowns – The Yo Yo Life Of Ian Hendry’ by Gabriel Hershman

Send In The Clowns - The Yo Yo Life of Ian Hendry

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