Holby City: What a strange girl you are

mo jonny jac holby(Series 16, ep.46)  Percutaneous fetal balloon valvuloplasty. It’s easy to say (the “balloon” bit is easy to say, anyhoo), but very, very tricky to do. Indeed, it’s so risky and rarely performed that Jac Naylor described it as “groundbreaking” to Selfie, and that was enough for him to give it the thumbs-up. Jonny Mac wouldn’t have given it the thumbs-up if he’d been CEO, because he thought it was way too risky and was just about Jac showing off. He should know by now that Jac does, indeed, enjoy showing off her surgical skills – but only when she’s reasonably confident of a good outcome for the patient.

jonny mo holbyThe unborn patient in this case was the result of a one night stand, and Jonny had plenty of advice for the baby’s father. In fact he came over quite misty-eyed when talking about Emma, and is still describing her as being strong because she takes after her mother. He hasn’t given up hope of a friendly co-parenting set-up for Emma, but to Jac it’s apparently off the table. “I can’t do this, ever,” she told him, twice. Is it because she’s afeared that if she becomes a “proper” parent she’ll go all Sahira Shah and have to make cupcakes and hide the faces of child patients in case they make her cry?   Continue reading


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Doctor Who (8.1): “I’m not flirting!”

Doctor-Who-Series-8-Peter-Capaldi-600x337(As always, don’t read on if you don’t want spoilers)

No disrespect to Peter Capaldi (we will get to his superbness in a moment) but in order to discuss the first proper appearance of the Twelfth Doctor, I’d like to briefly revisit the first proper appearance of the the Tenth.

Not because both wander round in their nightwear, or because the villain falls through London skies to his death in both debuts either.

“Don’t you think she looks tired?”

With six words the Doctor brought down Prime Minister Harriet Jones. And now I can’t help but think Steven Moffat’s scripts are looking tired too. And wonder if the brilliance of the new Doctor is going to increasingly show this up.

Introducing a new Doctor is a challenge and having the companion struggle to cope with the change is entirely reasonable way to deal with it, but Clara is still too annoying and not interesting enough for me to care that she doesn’t like the new man. He is, after all, Peter fucking Capaldi. Never less than mesmerising and with the bonus that he’s allowed to be properly Scottish. I just want to tell her to get a grip.

There were too many moments in Deep Breath when I knew where the gags and/or the story was going and, while Matt Smith’s brief appearance was a lovely, it was one of the few genuine surprises.

Enough of my grumbles though, let us focus on the good stuff.

  • Peter Capaldi.
  • Peter Capaldi
  • And did I mention Peter Capaldi? What a class act that man is. Imagine if he was your first – Your Doctor. It’s almost enough to make me wish I were seven years old again. I know that this Doctor is going to break my heart a hundred times over. It’s cracked already – by his pain when Clara says, “I’m sorry, I’m so, so sorry … but I don’t think I know who you are anymore.”
  • “I’m not flirting!” He might have been talking to the dinosaur, but we all know it’s a mission statement for Twelve and it’s long overdue.
  • The idea that he’s picked this face because he’s seen it before, and that it’s a message to himself is a neat one – as long as we actually find out what the message is. What exactly did Lobus Caecilius teach the Doctor in Pompeii? (I’m assuming he doesn’t know about John Frobisher…)
  • I guess there’s meta humour in cannibalising your own plots to produce a new story about clockwork robots scavenging flesh to make repairs.
  • Strax discovering Clara likes “muscular young men doing sport. Is that sport? It could be sport” All that Sherlock fan art and slash fiction must have made an impact on Steven Moffat. Speaking of which, do we know if Insp Gregson is a Lestrade-based meta joke? I do hope so.

I’ll be back for more, of course. Drawn by the charisma of Capaldi and in the constant hope that they’ll find a way to make me care about Clara. And with the difficult Doctor’s debut episode out of the way, things can only get better…

Posted by Jo the Hat


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Holby City: Brand Naylor

jac holby(Series 16, ep.45)  You only have to look at Elliot Hope and you want to give him a cuddle. He always seems a bit sad, a bit lost, a bit too nice for the world. Just in case this isn’t obvious enough, he has an adorable sidekick of a dog called Gary (#RIP Samson) which he brings to work to cheer up the geriatric ward in his spare moments when he’s not saving lives on Darwin. Or in lifts.

You couldn’t hurt a lovely man like that unless you were Jac Naylor and Selfie had offered you the career leap you’d always wanted. Even so, Jac wasn’t comfortable with sticking the knife between the shoulder blades of her former mentor. It even made her cry to tell him that she was now the face of the Herzig project, which had been his ever since he concocted the Herzig 1 out of twigs and pine cones in the wet lab. “It shouldn’t have been you who took this from me,” Elliot said, in a scene of Shakespearean tragedy proportions (Elliot was part King Lear, part Julius Caesar and Jac was part Cordelia and part Lady Macbeth). Technically it was the odious Selfie who took it from him (“Guy wants consistency… brand”), but of course Selfie was keeping such a low profile that he’s probably face down under a filing cabinet in the basement.   Continue reading


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Holby City: The best man (or woman) for the job

fletch holby(Series 16, ep.44) Honestly, the way staff are wandering willy-nilly between Holby City and Casualty these days, you might be forgiven for thinking it was the same hospital.

Following Connie Beauchamp’s recent-ish manifestation on Casualty, this week it was the turn of staff nurse Adrian “Adrian” Fletcher (or “Fletch”) to don the attractive dark blue scrubs of The Big Hospital Upstairs. He took to life on AAU very readily – he’d even heard of Albie’s, though no one from Casualty has ever gone there. Ric Griffin wasn’t that pleased to see him – Ric and Tess Bateman go back a long way, apparently, so obviously Ric wasn’t that impressed by the married man who messed Our Tess around. Ric has apparently forgotten the old saying about “two to tango” and that Fletch only recently saved the life of the blessed Tess, but still… At least by the end of the episode Fletch had won the admiration of Ric via the medium of some nifty work with a Sengstaken tube. Even Dr Smug was impressed by that one.

Harder to impress was Colette, who only had to clap eyes on Fletch and she would go all snarly. It turned out that she’d once turned down the opportunity to become Mrs Adrian “Adrian” Fletcher, presumably before he got married to the one he was married to when he was being a married man dallying with Tess. Who knew?   Continue reading


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The Archers: Don’t leave us, Carol!


I’m just thinking… I’ve had four glasses of Cabernet Sauvignon… I don’t think I should drive back to Bristol, do you? (NO WE DON’T, CAROL.)

The Archers scriptwriters have recently become a tad  obsessed with characters’ backstories. I imagine a bright young editorial assistant idly running her hand across those famous filing cabinets, full to bursting with index cards going back sixty-odd years, and saying, ‘You know? We should do something with these?’ her voice going up at the end of the sentence to indicate her youth and irritatingness. Leaping in to agree, because she’s young and quite pretty, the writers have been muttering about narrative depth and story arcs as if they were going out of fashion (they probably are), and throwing Midnight Walkers and John Archer’s unexpected progeny and Hazel Woolley at us, seemingly so we can mug up for Mastermind with History of the Archers as our specialist subject (don’t think this hasn’t occurred to me). Continue reading


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Coronation Street: Murder and vegetarian double shocker as Ken returns

“This place doesn’t change a bit,” cooed Ken Barlow affectionately, as he disembarked from a (non-Streetcars!) taxi, cloaked in an American style white blazer, and smiling contently.

How wrong could he have been? Quite apart from the fact that the Street physically has changed due to the recent studio move, there has been a lot that has happened in his absence that Ken did not know about. By the end of Monday night’s double, he had ambled miserably and exhausted to bed without supper or wife, having finally been put in the full, sordid picture.

But while Ken ended up being unhappy with his welcome home, it was a treat for viewers who have felt something missing in the absence of Ken, the undisputed King of Coronation Street.

The scenes between Ken and Deirdre were classic Corrie, and comfortably reminiscent of their fiery relationship of yesteryear. Ken’s fury at Deirdre’s level of secret keeping and Deirdre’s devastation as the pressure she’s been under finally hit her allowed William Roache and Anne Kirkbride to do what they’ve been wanting to do for over a year; give stellar performances together once more.

Of course, Ken and Deirdre ham it up; when have the Barlows not been a tongue in cheek married couple? But Ken and Deirdre are as endeared to the British public almost as much as fish and chips and it was surprisingly comforting to see them reunited on screen.  Continue reading


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Holby City: Carer or consultant?

serena holby(Series 16, ep.43) This week we discovered that Serena’s mother, Adrienne, has “a penchant for a silver fox.” Luckily for her, a thrilling example of the genre had just arrived back in Holby in the form of Ric Griffin. Apparently he’s got Jess all sorted out and safe somewhere, and now he’s back.

His presence was good news and bad news for Serena, under fire from Selfie who thinks her role as a carer for her mother means she can’t give her best, medically-speaking. She thought Selfie was only trying to edge her out because Ric was back, but on the other hand Ric is an enormously reassuring, calm presence. This is just what you need when your mother’s dementia has reached the stage where she’s smashed every mirror in the house and most of the mirrors in the AAU toilets. “At least 21 years of bad luck,” calculated PLA Jr.   Continue reading


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