Holby City: Not so smug now

holby(Series 16, ep. 27)  When I said last week that the Smug/Smug/Posh love triangle was like the Hanssen/Shah/Douglas one, there was another parallel I wasn’t thinking about at the time. Dr Smug, AKA Dr Raffaello Di Lucca (which is possibly Italian for “smug”) is reminding me worryingly of Sahira Shah the Registrah. Remember when everyone used to stand round gasping at her parachute stitching? Remember when she had that exciting new initiative where she would sit in the back of a converted ambulance in Tesco’s car park and wait till someone had a heart attack, and then operate on them as they hurtled back to Holby over speed bumps just because she could (something like that, anyway)? Remember how loathsome that all became?

Raf Smug is rather like that. People get tearful just at the thought of what he can do with his ECMO pump (he has a shop-bought one now and doesn’t have to make do with the one he made out of Tupperware and tin foil). This week he and his little pump brought a frozen man back to life and a nation sobbed and cheered, while women swooned and felt inspired to go back to medical school so they could be that brilliant as well.   Continue reading


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Game Of Thrones: Ding, dong, the king is dead.

Another day, another Westeros wedding ending in fatality.  In an episode  that opened with a young girl being chased and torn apart alive by dogs, one would think things couldn’t get any darker. And you would be right: the death of King Joffrey is an event to be celebrated by all, except perhaps Tyrion, who now looks set to face punishment for the murder of his nephew regardless of whether or not he is responsible.Joffrey

The focus was heavily on ‘The Purple Wedding’, another opportunity for Joffrey to grab the centre of attention and humiliate all of those around him. Tyrion was his main target for cruelty, with an uncomfortable slapstick performance from an acting group of dwarves leaving even Tywin looking abashed.  In sharp contrast to the sadness played out on Tyrion’s face by the fantastically versatile Peter Dinklage, Joffrey was having a whale of a time, seeming happier than he has been, well, ever. His last laugh was imminent though, as he sunk down the contents of a poisoned chalice and collapsed to the ground in a macabre demise.

His last bout of energy caused him to point the finger of blame at Tyrion, who was promptly seized and led away for murder.   Continue reading

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Holby City: Indispensable

raf harry amy holby(Series 16, ep. 26)  It’s all ready to kick off on AAU, with an epic love triangle of Hanssen /Shah /Douglas proportions (read that any way you see fit) about to ensue, as Dr Posh and Dr Smug (aka Raf) fight over Mrs Smug (aka Dr Amy Teo).

Now they have a Consultant Pharmacist on AAU, no pharmaceutical can be dispensed without Amy having to worry about contra-indications and whatnot. It’s practically criminal that they’ve been dishing out Camoxidan left, right and centre for years without as much as running it past (and usually through) Best Nurse Eddi McKee first.

amy harry holbySo Amy was on hand at the bedside of Posh’s patient, a former glamour model (whose image had apparently enlivened many a lonely midnight hour while Dr Posh was at boarding school), giving out advice and prescriptions and looking a bit queasy. There’s usually only one reason women in soaps look queasy, but she’s not pregnant. We can still file it under “hormones,” though, as she’s going through IVF. That and being married to Dr Smug is all a bit of a strain, so how lucky Dr Posh was on hand with his blue (“blacker than black”) dinner suit and his suave ways picked up at boarding school when he wasn’t hunched over a photo of his glamour model patient.   Continue reading


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Game Of Thrones: Underhand and golden hand

(Season 4, ep.1) It’s been a while since a television announcer warned me that there will be graphic adult themes from the outset (well that’s my story and I’m sticking to it) but it can mean only one thing: the television fantasy/action/thriller/porn series that has gripped a feverish world has made its return at last – and it was largely triumphant. Stand alone, it made a fine piece of television; against the impossibly high standards that a popular series inevitably sets itself, it fell just short.game of thrones

The episode did a highly decent job of cramming the ridiculously large cast of characters into the episode so that each person’s favourite got their fair share of airtime, if only just to give tantalising scenes to their stories.

Any episode that opens with the brilliant Charles Dance (aka Christopher Lee’s long lost son) glaring into the screen gets my attention straight away and we saw him disown his one-handed son, after giving him a lovely fatherly gift of a new sword. Jaime/Young Harrison Ford/Prince Charming from Shrek 2 was not interested in taking his rightful place at the helm of Casterley Rock however, instead opting to focus on reigniting his incestuous affair with his charming sister Cersei. Cersei wasn’t really in the mood for sexual sibling shenanigans, as it transpired she was still a little peed off that Jaime got himself captured.   Continue reading


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Joy of Sets: The Professionals Mk1

pla prosI will be honest with you. I adore the Professionals and have done since I was a child with (what felt like) a life-size poster of Bodie and Doyle on my bedroom wall. When I heard about the remastering of the show for DVD and Blu-Ray, you could probably have heard the squeeing from space. But, be warned, I watch this show with my slash goggles on – they allow me to overlook the political incorrectness, sexism and ludicrous moments like Cowley calling for a “helicopter and the nuclear bomb squad” or Bodie and Doyle defusing an atom bomb in a bowling alley (Stake Out) and focus on the alchemical gold of Bodie and Doyle.

For those who prefer a, ahem, straighter reading of the text, this is what you need to know. The lads have never looked better. Watching the repeats on ITV4 is genuinely like peering back through 30-odd years of grime. I’m not sure the show looked this good even when it was first aired… Network has done an incredible clean-up job. And the shiny new boxed set comes with lots of gorgeous extras, including exhaustive production notes (a 180-page paperback filled with everything you could ever want to know about the making of the first series. My only complaint is the tiny font they’ve used – good for the trees, bad for my eyes), Without Walls – the 1996 Channel 4 documentary about the show (which left me wanting to give creator Brian Clemens a slap, to be honest), a couple of bits of unused footage, and a massive gallery of photos, many of which haven’t been seen before, and covering the first few days’ shooting with Anthony Andrews as Bodie (on Old Dog With New Tricks).

pla punchbagOh and Network has put the episodes back together with the original, unintentionally hilarious, title sequences. I was too young to see the first couple of series, so for me Laurie Johnson’s iconic theme tune has always conjured the image of a car smashing through a window, Martin Shaw looking like he’s about to chop down a particularly nefarious tree and Lewis Collins ferociously working out in the gym. The sight of Shaw and Collins vigorously throwing themselves at random targets in the original titles is one that makes me smile and wince in equal measure. (We also get the original closing titles, worth checking for the sheer lack of traffic on the roads of London back then.)

If you’ve spent the last 35 years or so ignoring Bodie grabbing Doyle’s arse, Doyle touching up Bodie, or the pair of them making eyes at each other and flirting, and would like to continue watching from a heteronormative perspective – now’s the time to jump ship (if you’ll pardon the pun) on this review. Those who ship (or at least don’t mind if others ship) Bodie and Doyle, come with me below the line…

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Holby City: Three little words

bonnie holby(Series 16, ep. 25) Jonny and Bonnie’s wedding day. What could possibly go wrong? Given that the groom’s heart didn’t seem to be entirely in it, there was scope for quite a lot to go wrong. A jilting at the altar seemed the most obvious choice, and when Jac contrived to have Jonny assist her on a tricky piece of surgery on the bride’s brother, of all people, it looked like there was every chance he’d see the error of his ways and decide he wanted Jac.

jonny jac holbyThere was a lot to love about this episode, but one thing bothered me a bit – even assuming that no one wanted to give Bonnie the news that her brother was undergoing heart surgery in case it spoiled the wedding, didn’t she notice he wasn’t there? Didn’t anybody else? And wouldn’t she have rather been at her brother’s bedside?   Continue reading


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Holby City: Henpecked

jac holby(Series 16, ep. 24) Due to moving house and living in a circumstance that looks like an episode of Extreme Hoarders before the tidying people come in, I only got time to sit down and watch Tuesday’s Holby last night and my recollections about the episode might be a bit confuzzled due to having to watch it through a canyon between cardboard boxes accompanied by the faint smell of cat poo (our traumatised cat had decided the new sofa was the best place to go to the toilet and the smell is taking days to shift).

hen night holbySo… Predictably enough, Bonnie has turned into Bridezilla and her head is full of wedding cake (metaphorically-speaking) and she wants everyone to share her happiness (say that aloud in a kind of breathless squeak for the full Bonnie effect). This includes Jac, because they’re going to be all mums together as far as Emma’s concerned, aren’t they (grrr…)? So Jac is invited to the wedding, but obviously wouldn’t be seen dead at the hen night. Or would she?   Continue reading


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