Doctor in the House author Richard Gordon dies aged 95

Image source, Susan Greenhill
Image caption,
Richard Gordon once refused to appear on a live broadcast of This Is Your Life

Doctor-turned-author Richard Gordon, who penned the Doctor books in the 1950s and 60s, has died aged 95.

The books formed the basis for seven films and the television and radio comedy series, Doctor in the House.

The plot revolved around the trials of medical students at the fictional St Swithin's Hospital in London.

Under his real name of Gordon Ostlere, the author, who lived in Kent, worked as an anaesthetist in London and Oxford and was also a ship's surgeon.

His first book, Doctor in the House, was based largely on his own experiences.

The film version of the same name starred Dirk Bogarde as the recently qualified Simon Sparrow, and was also made into a stage play.

Big red book refusal

In total, Gordon wrote more than three dozen books.

His first novel not in the Doctor series was about a plastic surgeon between the wars, which was published in 1967,

He also wrote The Private Life of Florence Nightingale, which depicted her as a lesbian, and similarly titled books on Jack the Ripper and Doctor Crippen.

With his wife, also an anaesthetist, he produced a book for parents, called A Baby in the House.

The author famously refused to appear on This Is Your Life in 1974, where guests were surprised with a big red book and a presentation of their past life.

The television programme was being broadcast live, and when approached by presenter Eamonn Andrews Gordon swore and walked off.

However, he was persuaded to stay for a show that was broadcast a week later.