Skilled and intelligent lifesavers, doctors are a group of people that we tend to regard with admiration and something akin to fascination. TV portrayals milk this for all it is worth – showing us viewers many facets of the medical profession.

Here is a listicle (not in any particular ranking order) of the four best fictionalised doctors portrayed on TV.

1. Dr Miranda Bailey (Grey’s Anatomy)

With a nickname like ‘the Nazi’, you know she’s tough as nails, and just as blunt. Dr Miranda Bailey, played by actress Chandra Wilson, may have a huge ego, but she has the skills and wits to back it up. Doggedly working her way up from a resident in general surgery, she eventually arrives at where she has always dreamed of – Chief of Surgery.

Ostensibly, she keeps a harsh attitude towards her interns, but she has also been shown to care and be protective of them. As Grey’s Anatomy progresses, we see Bailey being metaphorically pulled in all directions; forced to juggle her marriage, raising her new-born son, and her desire to continue her career as a surgeon, she is eventually forced to choose.

Bailey’s ego is both a boon and bane - her character is one which has the vision to dream, the willpower and drive to achieve it, but also, the ability to learn and stretch, but not snap, when life starts tugging in many directions.

2. Dr Frasier Crane (Frasier)

Portrayed by Kelsey Grammer, Dr Frasier Crane first debuted in Cheers, but was given his own spin-off when the series ended.

A cerebral and cultured psychiatrist disillusioned with his life and career, Dr Crane returns to his hometown of Seattle, a divorcee, to live with Niles, his brother who shares his own erudite tastes, and Martin, his rugged, blue-collar father with whom he has little in common.

Working as a radio host for a call-in psychiatry show, Crane helps many in Seattle, but is unable do the same for the challenges he faces in many aspects of his own life.

Frasier is a depiction of two opposing approaches to life: Niles’ and Frasier’s unceasing efforts to better themselves through talking, understanding and processing, and Martin’s “don't feel, just live” approach. Neither side gets it completely right, but both are doing okay, just the same.

3. Dr Leonard H McCoy (Star Trek)

In Star Trek, Dr Leonard H McCoy, more often called “Bones”, does not just play the role of the competent chief medical officer on the Starship Enterprise. Half-surgeon, half-therapist, and subordinate to Captain James T Kirk, Bones is an excellent doctor, ensuring that the entire crew is always well looked after.

He is Kirk’s moral voice, the foil to Spock’s cool-headed logic, at which they often end up arguing, which essentially provides Kirk a view from every angle.

DeForest Kelley as Bones is witty, with many of his catchphrases entering mainstream consciousness, including his “He’s dead, Jim”, and “I’m a doctor, not a (statement)” retorts.

4. Dr Doug Ross (ER)

The long-running TV series, ER, presents a fictional scene of the work life of the emergency room in a Chicago hospital, highlighting the various issues faced by the physicians and staff.

Dr Douglas “Doug” Ross, played by George Clooney, is a doctor and man who strives to do what is right, despite his many flaws. A pathological womaniser abandoned by his abusive father, Doug nevertheless exhibits the capacity for personal growth and is a well-known dedicated ER paediatrician.

Though he does not always use the best judgement, he is compassionate and loves children, often putting his patients’ welfare above his medical career. MIMS

Read more:
5 best medical dramas for healthcare professionals
Doctors in movies: The good, the jaded and the tired
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