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Doctor in the House author Richard Gordon from Bromley celebrates revival of his work
An enchanting Bromley novelist says he feels like “an Egyptian mummy that has been dug up” to see his 1952 book revived on stage once more.
Richard Gordon’s classic comedy Doctor in the House is being performed by a stellar cast led by Joe Pasquale and Robert Powell with the national premier showing at The Churchill Theatre on Tuesday March 20.
The witty 90-year-old, who has lived in the borough for around 50 years, saw his book become 1954’s most popular box office film after which six sequels and a television series followed.
He said: “I’m absolutely delighted.
“I feel like an Egyptian mummy that has been dug up who everyone has great respect and politeness for.
“We have an excellent cast and director.
“They had a slot on The One Show on the BBC the other night and my cocker spaniel Trinculo barked at the TV when my photograph appeared.
“I’ve seen the rehearsals but I let them get on with it now because nothing’s more irritating than having the author in the back of the stalls.”
Richard, a former anaesthetist at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, brought his four children up in Bromley with wife Jo.
He said: “I love Bromley.
“We’ve been in the same house all this time and I’m not going to move.
“I can’t be bothered and I hate talking to estate agents.
“I think we are the only family in your readership who play cricket on Boxing Day every year – even in the snow.”
One of Richard’s favourite things about his location is he can be in London for lunch in half an hour and in France for a bite in an hour and a half.
He added: “It’s the perfect situation to live in.”
Doctor in the House follows young student Simon Sparrow who has to leave his first choice of lodgings to get away from his landlady’s amorous daughter.
He ends up with three amiable but less-than-shining fellow students as flat mates including the workshy Tony Grimsdyke (Pasquale).
Towering over them all is the short-tempered, demanding chief surgeon, Sir Lancelot Spratt (Powell), who strikes terror into his inadequate undergraduates.
Joe Pasquale said: “My character is a 40-year-old trainee doctor who has been training for 12 years.
“He always fails his exams on purpose because it’s in his aunt’s will that he gets a grant for every year he trains.
“He’s a lazy sod really.
“I think it does reflect me in real life because I’m playing it as me – I’m not trying to be Laurence Olivier.”
According to Joe, there are no jokes in the play but the audience will find themselves laughing at the characters.
He said: “It’s funny but that comes from the situations and the characters.” Joe said.
“People can come in and when they go out they have a huge smile on their face – you don’t get that very often these days.
“What’s really nice about it is it reflects a nicer time.
“In 1957 there were no such things as IPods or mobile phones.
“There was no mugging and rioting.
“There’s hardly any sexual innuendo in the play – not that I’m a prude – and no violence.
“It’s just good, clean fun.”
Former champion of ITV’s I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, Joe is used to touring as a stand-up comic but enjoys the variation of appearing in a theatre production directed by Ian Talbot OBE.
He said: “It’s nice to work with a director like Ian who does all the Shakespeare plays.
“He’s very heavy – well, he’s not heavy but the work he does is heavy.
“The difference between theatre and stand-up is the discipline.
“With stand-up you’re the writer, director and performer – you can go on and talk about your tortoise for 10 minutes if you want to.
“In theatre you have to do what you’re told.
“I wouldn’t want to do it all year or for the rest of my life but I love being able to do different things.”
The play runs from Tuesday March 20 to Saturday March 24 showing at 7.45pm with 2.30pm matinees on Thursday and Saturday.
Tickets are priced between £12 and £27.
For bookings visit atgtickets.com