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Tuesday, November 9, 1999 Published at 11:38 GMT


Top of the TV medics

Hawkeye Pierce voted British doctors' favourite role model

When it comes to bedside manner, British doctors say they prefer the rough-and-ready approach of Hawkeye Pierce in M*A*S*H to the smooth handling of ER's Doug Ross.

In a survey of more than 1,000 doctors, 25% voted for the cynical, womanising medic from the cult US TV series - played by Alan Alda - as the fictional doctor they would most like to be compared with.

[ image: Clooney's Doug Ross was admired for his way with women]
Clooney's Doug Ross was admired for his way with women
Only 15% opted for the smooth-talking ER heart-throb, played by George Clooney, as their ideal role model.

Another 15% voted for Dr Claire Maitland in the BBC's Cardiac Arrest, played by Helen Baxendale.

The poll, of both male and female doctors, was carried out by the Hospital Doctor and Doctor newspapers.

It asked those taking part to vote in a number of categories in order to assess their attitudes to the fictional TV depiction of their profession.

Editor of Hospital Doctor, Tim Burrowes, said the results of the poll did not mean UK doctors had a negative attitude to their jobs.

"The people who voted for Pierce liked the fact that he was cynical but he was still doing the best for his patients," he commented.

[ image: Helen Baxendale was a winner as Doctor Maitland in Cardiac Arrest]
Helen Baxendale was a winner as Doctor Maitland in Cardiac Arrest
In fact, in the case of both Pierce and Ross, the characters' professionalism was a major vote-winner - but so was their gifted way with the opposite sex.

One male doctor who voted for Pierce said: "His look and vitality I don't share, but I like the fact that he is a ladies' man."

He went on: "I also like his individual streak. He is able to work within an organisation without giving up his beliefs. I find that hard to do."

Pierce was also a favourite among many female doctors. One woman, who had wanted to be a doctor since she was three years old, said the Mash character was her childhood hero.

"I always liked him because he was really good at his job and he did it with humour," she explained.

[ image: Casualty was the best of the current drama series]
Casualty was the best of the current drama series
Other results to come out of the survey included Cardiac Arrest being nominated as the favourite medical TV series of all time.

Another BBC production, Casualty, was chosen as the doctors' favourite current medical drama.

Dangerfield, also part of the BBC One schedule, was second choice. ITV's Peak Practice, however, was rated the most unbelievable medical series by 40% of those taking part.

Older medical series also featured as Dr Alan Finlay, from the Sixties series Dr Finlay's Casebook, pulled in 14% of votes.

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