The X Factor: Xtinct-Factor boot camp

by Maggie Gordon-Walker

x-factorWhen you hear the words ‘boot camp’ you envisage bloodied, muddied, exhausted bodies staggering to a finish line. Something at the very least to stretch you. Back in the halcyon days of  X Factor, when Simon still had passing acquaintance with a razor and Sharon looked older than she does now, I seem to remember they did about three challenges; numbers being whittled down painfully and agonisingly before the weary survivors learned their fate on a grand stage reminiscent of A Chorus Line. Now they had a right royal knees-up on Friday night on Cowell’s dollar, then the next day performed one song that they chose from a wide selection.  Continue reading

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Holby City: Another roll of the dice

isaac-dom-holby(Series 18, ep. 50) Dr Isaac Mayfield has certainly changed his taste in men. His current beau is the wonderful Dr Dominic Copeland, but in this episode we met his ex. Miles Richardson, King of the Revolutionary Spleen Procedure (Jonathan Firth), was one of those creepy/scary/weird people that, if they sidled up to you at a party, you would make every excuse to get away from. I think he was supposed to have charisma, but he was nasty and manipulative and I didn’t like him at all. He wasn’t very nice to our Dominic, which made Dom go all possessive and defensive with Isaac. Given his history with Lee and the fact that he’s only just starting to trust Isaac, I think this was an understandable response.  Continue reading

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Casualty: The good guys

ethan-alicia-casualty(Series 31, ep. 4) Ethan is one of the good guys. We know this because (a) we know this and (b) it was mentioned at least twice during the episode. But is a good guy what Alicia is looking for? At the beginning of the episode it seemed like what she was mainly looking for was a good time, and that’s not really Ethan unless your idea of a good time is hunkering down with a mug of cocoa and a Big Bang Theory box set.

But when some hapless joggers fell through the treacherously porous surface of Holby Forest, Ethan and Alicia were mobilised to provide on-site pain relief. Well done, Elle – good plan to send people who’ve recently been trapped in the debris of an explosion and make them go down a dark hole. But it gave Ethan the chance to demonstrate that he’s actually quite brave, and to get a panicking Alicia safely back to daylight.  Continue reading

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Holby City – the book!

imageI’m almost tachycardic with excitement. I’ve been wanting to talk about this for ages, but couldn’t until everything was signed and sorted – and now it is.

I’m writing the first ever official, by arrangement with the BBC, Holby City book!

It’s a behind the scenes look at how the show gets to our screens, from the initial story ideas to the finished article we watch every Tuesday evening. The lovely people at Holby (and they are lovely) are being brilliant about letting me poke about and ask them lots of (probably annoying) questions. I’m finding out some fascinating stuff about the massive amount of work that goes into each episode, from the scripts to the filming, the actors to post production, and loads of stuff I wouldn’t even have thought of.

The book will be published in spring next year. Get email updates about how it’s coming along, with some gossip and fun stuff and opportunities for you to get involved, by following this link.

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Holby City: I’m looking out for him

fletch-holby(Series 18, ep. 49) I was absolutely gripped by this week’s episode. I don’t think there’s a Holby fan on the planet who doesn’t like Fletch. He’s a genuine, kind, caring, funny man who just wants to help people and make a living so he can support his kids. So I was rooting for Fletch, and I love Raf and the bromance between them, so I was rooting for Raf, too. As well as being engaged with the human side of the story, I was intrigued by the puzzle of the mystery illness that got worse and worse, and even had the best medics in TV-land stumped for a while. It was nail-biting stuff, and thank heavens for Bernie, an oasis of calm among all the angst.

mikey-fletcher-holbyA special mention also for Kai O’Loughlin, who plays Mikey Fletcher. This week he subdued his cheeky chappie persona a bit (usually he seems about to burst into a chorus of ‘Consider Yourself At Home‘ at any moment, which is a lovely thing to watch but wouldn’t have been appropriate here) and he was brilliant. He’s completely believable as Fletch’s son and has masses of charm, personality and talent. His scene with Hanssen was absolutely precious. I was glad it was Mikey who provided the clue that eventually led to a diagnosis. “He’s okay now. I’m looking out for him,” he said.  Continue reading

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Casualty: Thunderbolt and lightning, very very frightening

jac-casualty(Series 31, ep. 3) A man was struck by lightning near the beginning of this episode, and his wife said it was nature’s way of letting him know he’d been too cautious and had to embrace new experiences. Personally the lesson I took from it is not to hang out of a metal-framed window during a thunder storm, but that’s me being excessively cautious again.

robyn-casualtyThe lightning  message resonated with Robyn, whose boyfriend Glen only has two years to live. He doesn’t have a “bucket list” but Robyn does, so they’ve started on her bucket list with a trip to Euro Disney. Bless.  Continue reading

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Holby City: You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone

bernie-serena-holby(Series 18, ep. 48) I know not everyone is on board with the whole #Berena thing. There are some who are against it for the same reasons that Coronation Street has had to fend off complaints recently, and I’ve got no time for that view. There are others who would have preferred Bernie and Serena to have remained as supportive colleagues, and that does make sense and would have been a nice relationship to explore. But where could that have gone, drama-wise, much beyond “Gosh that was a hard day. Let’s kick back with a nice bottle of Shiraz”? It certainly wouldn’t have delivered such blissfully toe-curling scenes as we had last night, as Serena ‘fessed up to a comatose Fletch that she kissed a girl and she liked it, and the even more blissful scenes she shared with Bernie. I’m all for a storyline that brings out the beautifully subtle and elegant comic talents of Catherine Russell. She and Jemma Redgrave are brilliant together, and I’m looking forward to watching this story develop.  Continue reading

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