Holby City: Truly brave

morven digby holby(Series 18, ep. 29) Essie makes a mean shepherd’s pie, apparently. I start with Essie because I’ve been a bit critical of her in the past (when she was being Chrissie 2.0), but in an episode like this, where she’s very much embedded in the general goings-on of Keller and doing her transplant coordinator thing, I really like her. She has a warmth, steadiness and dependability which is exactly what you’d want from a nurse.

It’s also exactly what Digby needs at the moment, though he’s pretending hard that it isn’t. Everyone was worried about him in this episode, as his cancer treatment was taking its toll on him and he looked quite pale and fragile at times. Sacha, Essie and Dominic wanted him to go home and rest, but when Morven’s dad was brought in following a car accident, he insisted on staying.  Continue reading

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Game of Thrones: Breathless catch up

jon snow game of thrones

(Series 6, ep. 1) Game of Thrones is back, and there’s much rejoicing throughout the land – at least that segment of the land which (a) has access to Sky Atlantic and (b) gives two hoots.

If you give two hoots and haven’t seen it yet, don’t read on, because it’ll ruin it for you (SPOILERS AHEAD!!!) Continue reading

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The Durrells: Corfu curiosities

by Maggie Gordon-Walker

imageI was in two minds as to whether to watch ‘The Durrells’. I read ‘My Family and Other Animals’ for the first time when I was about eleven and regard it as an exceptional work, parts of it still reduce me to helpless laughter. Like meeting your heroes, a misjudged adaptation can sour the original, especially if it’s on ITV, which recently gave us the mangled Dr Thorne.

Happily I can report this is not the case. I’ve not seen any of the other versions of it, but so far, this manages to capture both the spirit of the novel and the eccentricity of the family versus that of the islanders rather well. It follows the fortunes of the widowed Mrs Durrell and her four children as they flee a damp and depressing England to start a new life in Corfu in the 1930s. Larry, Leslie and Margo are young adults, Gerry, the narrator and author of the book, is the youngest and strikes terror into the hearts of his family by his fondness for bringing any number of living creatures  (rampant gulls, scorpions and tortoises) into the house as pets to be admired.  Continue reading

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Holby City: Time to be brave

alex bernie holby(Series 18, ep. 28) I’d forgotten what a brilliant actor Heather Peace is. She appeared in Holby yesterday as Alex, locum anaesthetist. This was the same Alex who’d been in the army with Bernie and sent her flowers when she first arrived at Holby as a patient. The charged atmosphere between them just screamed “unfinished business” – even Dominic noticed.

There was such chemistry between Heather Peace and Jemma Redgrave and their scenes together were intense and emotional. Bernie and Alex were in love and Bernie was struggling with the choice she’d made to try and make a success of her marriage and family life. Bernie had a little heart-to-heart with Dominic in the Linden Cullen Memorial Shrubbery. “How wonderful life could be if only I was brave enough,” she told him. Dominic said she shouldn’t live a lie. When we last saw her she was heading off home to have a difficult conversation with her husband. Meanwhile, Alex has gone, because she couldn’t bear to have her heart broken again. She told Bernie to come and find her when she’s sorted her life out. I really hope she does just that, because Holby needs an anaesthetist now Jesse’s gone, and Alex would be an excellent addition to the cast.  Continue reading

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Holby City: Jesse gets his priorities in order

hanssen holby(Series 18, ep. 27) Lift doors opening. CEO with nosebleed! But why? The action goes back to ten hours earlier, but luckily for us it’s been compressed into one hour of quality drama, so we don’t have too long to wait to find out.

It turned out that the cause of Hanssen’s nosebleed was the least of the action in what was a very busy and traumatic night shift, not least for Mo and Jesse. The Curse of Holby relatives and friends reached giddy proportions when both Jesse’s father Thomas and Mo’s mother Ina were both admitted at the same time, straight from Jesse’s mother’s funeral.

jesse holbyWe discovered that Jesse had been actively avoiding visiting his mother since she’d become disabled by a stroke, and he did his best to avoid spending time with his father in hospital. Luckily Morven was on hand with her speciality doctoring, which throws in lots of TLC along with the FBC’s, U’s and E’s and LFT’s. She discovered that Thomas was diabetic but was refusing medication – he didn’t see any point living on lentils without his wife. “There are worse things than dying,” he said, though in my opinion there are worse things than lentils because I’m quite partial. Anyway, Jesse eventually realised that he’d just been drifting since Adele dumped him in the Linden Cullen Temple of Anguish. It was time to get his priorities straight, which meant taking his dad to Trinidad to help him scatter his mum’s ashes in her home country. Thus we had to say goodbye to the prettiest anaesthetist since Zubin, while Jesse went off to concentrate on cracking out of prison to terrorise Denise on EastEnders (I don’t know if he’s actually pencilled in to do that, but I’d vote for it).  Continue reading

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Holby City: The one with the Norse gods

hanssen holby(Series 18, ep. 26) If you see the phrase “Norse God” and immediately think “Henrik Hanssen,” you’d have agreed with whoever voted for him to win the Sexiest Doctor prize in the annual Holby Awards. He beat stiff competition from Oliver Valentine and Dr Raf Not-Smug for the accolade, and accepted it with the slightly ironic grace the situation demanded.

digby dominic holbyFor other Norse gods we must turn to Digby, and his new hobby of making copper medallions of all our favourites from the Thor movies and giving them to his friends and colleagues to wear (I was quite pleased that Loki was meant for Dominic). Never mind that it turned their skin green, it kept him occupied and that’s what he needs at the moment.

What he doesn’t really need is people pussy-footing around him, but that’s what darling Dominic spent most of the day doing, because he wants to help. Sadly with the best will in the world you’re not going to be able to stop a doctor with cancer coming across patients with cancer, and Dominic realised (with Sacha’s help) that the best way to help Digby was to be normal around him. Which meant the skin-discolouring Norse god (the medal, not Hanssen) had to go for a start.  Continue reading

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Holby City: Please not Digby!

digby holby(Series 18, ep. 25) This was the most beautifully written and acted episode. The scenes between Dominic and Digby were heartbreakingly perfect as Dominic was the one to discover that his friend’s cancer had spread. The moment when he put Digby’s glasses on for him was such a tender expression of his care and Digby’s vulnerability – I had to make a very big effort not to cry loud snotty tears, particularly as I was watching it on a train. Beautiful, Hanssen-level acting from David Ames and Rob Ostlere.

adele holbyElsewhere, Adele was very committed to neurosurgery. We knew this because she said so every five minutes. It took the death of her old holiday rep friend, Denise Welch, to make her realise that she wasn’t that committed to neurosurgery after all. After a glittering career progression in which she’s been expert in everything from hearts to brains to radio presenting, she’s finally found her true calling in the world of palliative care. Unbelievably, Holby is not the centre of palliative care excellence (well, they can’t be brilliant at every specialism), so she’s off to The Mythical King/St/Whatever John’s to be trained. Or to train them, because she’s bound to know better.

cara raf holbyAnd lovely Nurse Cara Martinez finally plucked up the courage to ask Dr Raf Not Smug on a date (a proper date, not involving Fletch and the Fletchlings) – but then realised that she wasn’t over her miserable husband, Jed ‘Alias’ Martinez, who has been banged up for five years. This has prompted Cara to seek a new post on Darwin. 

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