There have been countless British medical dramas on our televisions over the past 30 years; so many that it would be almost impossible to try and name them all. However, only a few are still running today since they first aired, demonstrating their popularity with the British public.

Starting back in 1986, Casualty was set in Holby City Hospital in the fictional town of Wyvern in South-West England. Unbeknown to most, Casualty is the longest running emergency medical drama TV series in the world. In 2007, 21 years after the drama first aired, Casualty won its first major award; the BAFTA for Best Continuing Drama. Casualty still airs on Saturday evenings on BBC One.

The second British medical drama still running that first aired in the 20th century is Silent Witness. The programme is also widely recognised as a crime drama, as the storyline follows forensic pathologists set in Cambridge and London. Dr Nikki Alexander, played by Emilia Fox, has been recognised as one of the UK’s most well-known TV doctors.


Holby City, a spin-off of Casualty, first aired in 1999 and is still being shown weekly on BBC One; it also occasionally features crossovers with characters and plots in Casualty. The programme follows the lives of medical and ancillary staff, and is set in the fictional Holby City Hospital – the same hospital featured in Casualty. The show has since won ten awards, including the BAFTA for Best Continuing Drama; the same award won by its sister-show.

Doc Martin Series 1-5

Britain’s longest-standing medical and comedy hybrid goes to Doc Martin, which has been shown on ITV since 2004. Based on the film Saving Grace, Martin Clunes plays Dr Martin Ellingham, who is renowned in the sleepy Cornish village of Portwenn for bad manners and lack of emotion. Referring to him as “Doc Martin”, the villagers soon become accustomed to his lack of social skills and bad temper, which in series 7 he visits a therapist about.

The year it was first aired, Doc Martin won the British Comedy Award for Best TV Drama. In the same year, Martin Clunes who plays the lead character won the Best TV Comedy Actor award, predominantly for his role as Doc Martin. Series 1-7 are available now from Acorn DVD – if you are looking for the perfect balance between medical and comedy drama, this is it.