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Feature: Primetime


Medical help

Hugh Laurie stars as Dr Gregory House, in this new series by X-Men director Bryan Singer. They tell us why House is set to be the medical version of The West Wing

The most critically-acclaimed series of the new season, House stars British actor Hugh Laurie as Dr Gregory House, an irreverent, controversial doctor who trusts no one, least of all his patients. Dealing with his own constant pain, he uses a cane that seems to punctuate his brutally honest demeanor. An infectious disease specialist, House is a brilliant diagnostician who loves the challenges of the medical puzzles he must solve in order to save lives.

Laurie confesses that it’s a “joy and privilege” to play a character who doesn’t worry about political correctness and is basically just himself. “It’s absolutely thrilling to have a license to say things that perhaps we all think from time to time, but feel constrained not to say, to be able to make observations about your fellow man. It is a great freedom and it’s a very enjoyable thing to do, particularly when it is written in such a way as to make me sound much more intelligent and amusing than I actually am.”

When Laurie came in to meet with the producers of the show, he was informed that his character was loosely based on Sherlock Holmes. “I discovered only very recently that Sherlock Holmes himself was based on a real character who was interesting enough, a doctor. He was an Edinburgh physician called Dr Joseph Bell.” Bell was of course used as the central character of the BBC’s Murder Rooms series in 1999. “He would astound his fellow doctors by the deductions he was able to make from the calluses on a man’s thumb or the way the seat of his pants was worn.”

“The medical landscape has really changed,” says producer Paul Attanasio. “If you took a medical show from 10 years ago, what doctors are dealing with now in terms of these diagnostic mysteries, and also in terms of the modalities they have to unravel, it’s night and day. It’s a very rapid change, and that creates its own problems.”

by Judy Sloane

Read more on House in
TV Zone #185

Photo © Fox Network
Feature © Visual Imagination 2005. Not for reproduction

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TV Zone #185, see below for ordering options
TV Zone #185
February 2005
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