Vale: John F. Knight aka “Dr. James Wright.”

TV doctor best known as merry medic Dr James Wright on The Mike Walsh Show and Midday, has died.

1970s & ’80s TV doctor Dr John F. Knight AM, best known as merry medic Dr James Wright on The Mike Walsh Show and Midday, has died, aged 94.

He passed away on Sunday 27 November according to Radio Info.

Despite early dreams of being a journalist Knight studied medicine at University of Sydney where he graduated in 1953. He moved to the NSW rural town of Tottenham to be the local GP. As the only doctor for over 160 kilometers he became obstetrician, surgeon, counsellor, dispensing pharmacist and local vet.

He later wrote medical columns for Women’s Weekly, Women’s Day, Dolly, and Cleo as well as metro masterheads including The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney), The Melbourne Herald Sun, The Sunday Mail (Adelaide and Perth), The Brisbane Sunday Mail, The Sunday Territorian (Darwin) and The Sunday Tasmanian (Hobart).

In 1972 he appeared on The Mike Walsh Show, becoming a regular through to The Midday Show. Prevented from using his real name in media, he became known as ‘Dr. James Wright’ with an innate ability to demystify complex medicinal problems for a national TV audience. He took TV cameras into hospital operating theatres and neo-natal intensive care units. He taught a nation about emerging diseases such as HIV-AIDS, and Hepatitis C and sought to destigmatise the prejudices and hysteria that initially surrounded both diseases.

He once said, “The guest appearance turned into three seven-minute spots a week. I think we covered the first baby birth on TV, definitely the first caersarean section and heaps of revolutionary (now routine) procedures. From pre-recorded to live, black and white to colour, and Ray Martin to Kerri-Anne Kennerley, I was the only original cast member to stay with the show until it folded in 1999.”

He later moved to radio programs at 2GB and subsequently 2UE where he remained for 18 -remarkably answering over 20,000 questions from listeners.

In 1971 he and wife Noreen established the Medi-Aid Centre Foundation, providing subsidised housing for older people who are unable to afford secure accommodation.

Today, the foundation houses 400 people in Sydney and the Gold Coast. Since its establishment over fifty years ago, John has donated over $50 million to the Foundation.

In 1998 John was awarded an Order of Australia for his work in media and philanthropy.

8 Responses

  1. Dr Wright’s family medical book (like a dictionary) was my family’s go to – for common illnesses and easy remedies if you couldn’t get to the GP if it was the weekend/late at night. Used it lots of times. Vale.

  2. He was pioneer. With his jovial manner was able to convey to us the mysteries of medical science in plain english. At the same time made us able to laugh at him and ourselves. Vale Doctor.

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