Holby City: Who turns up at work their first day on a horse?

matteo-holby(Series 19, ep. 8) Matteo Rossini, that’s who. On the index of “memorable first appearances,” that has to rank fairly high. I’m not sure he even needed the horse, though, because Dr (Mr?) Matteo Rossini is perfectly memorable on his own terms. It’s not just that he is fabulously good-looking (he is), it’s not just that he has that flirty charm thing going on (he has), and it’s not even that he’s a very good doctor (he is). It’s the way his very presence affected everybody else. Mo was rendered almost speechless by his charisma, Zosia was intrigued, Ollie instantly switched into territory-marking testosterone overdrive, and Jac… well, Jac hated him. And that was a beautiful thing to see, because Jac is at her best when she has a proper rival, and when it’s someone with whom she obviously also has chemistry – it’s going to be a lot of fun.  Continue reading


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Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life

gilmore-girlsWinter (Episode 1)

It’s been nearly 10 years since Lorelai and Rory were last on our screens and the anticipation of these final (final, final) episodes, brought back by Netflix, has been enormous. I have read more articles about this TV show comeback than I have about any other show in the last 5 years. Everybody has had an opinion about what our fast talking, coffee guzzling mother and daughter team should have been getting up to in the intervening years; whether Rory’s lost loves would return, if she’s become the jet setting journalist she’d always dreamed of, whether Lorelai and Luke have been busy having dozens of babies and what each of the ensemble cast has become.

The first episode couldn’t possible cover all of the answers but in true Gilmore Girls fashion, it tries to get through a fair few (and at break neck speed).

This series contains 4 feature length episodes named after the seasons (bringing to mind the Carole King song “You’ve got a Friend”, appropriate given that her and her daughter sing the Gilmore Girls theme tune “Where you lead”), in this post I’ll just be going over Winter because a) I want to milk this writing about the Gilmore Girls gig for 4 posts and b) because I’m old skool and unlike the rest of the world who now binge watch box sets, I’m ekeing these final episodes out one at a time.

Spoilers for episode 1 from here on in

Continue reading


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Holby City: Love is all around

dominic-bernie-holby(Series 19, ep. 7) Holby City has proved in the last few weeks that it can go to some very dark places indeed. Selfie’s back story of abuse, highlighted by the dreadful actions of Tristan, was intense and dramatic.

By contrast, we got this lovely episode, where there was humour and lightness in every story.

sacha-dominic-holbyI’m going to have to start with Keller, and Sacha’s attempts to recapture his lost youth – or Tom Jones’s lost youth, if the new hairdo was anything to go by. “No one’s commented on my hair,” he moaned to Dominic. “Not to your face,” said Dominic. Well, someone had to. This wasn’t even the funniest bit of hair-related Dom/Sacha dialogue. Dominic realised (because he is sensitive, deep down. And he was also relying on Sacha’s sofa as a bed for the night) that Sacha was upset, and tried to make amends. “Can I say I’m sorry in a cuddly, let’s-be-friends again kind of way?” he said. “Stop talking to my hair!” Sacha replied. “I’m not,” said Dominic. “I’m looking at your physicality, your stance, your manliness.” “I look absolutely ridiculous, don’t I?” Sacha said. The reply was absolute genius: “Only from the scalp up. The rest of you is 100% to die for.”  Continue reading


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Holby City: Self assessment

selfie-holby(Series 19, ep. 6) He’s been the egotistical brain surgeon that everyone loved to hate, or just simply hated. And as such, Guy Self has been a magnificent villain and possibly the most aptly named character ever. This Guy was all about himSelf: a smarmy super-ego who didn’t mind whose feelings were trampled over to get what he wanted.

zosia-selfie-holbyAnd yet, by the end, I think everyone will have been pretty much rooting for him. Over the past few months, the writers and John Michie have been steadily filling in the blanks about Selfie’s past life that put his character and his actions into perspective. We’ve always known about his dead wife, and his sometimes fractured relationship with his daughter. Occasionally his treatment of Zosia has been cold and heartless, at other times he’s given her the support she needed, but it’s always been obvious that he loves her. Since we met his monstrous mother (and what a brilliant performance that was from Brigit Forsyth – it was a shame she was killed off so swiftly) and discovered his background of abuse, it’s been clearer why he acted like he did. He craved approval, and he only knew one path through life, which was through ambition and success. His template for being a parent was based on what his own parents had given him, and the loss of his wife had thrown him back on that as the only way he knew how to be.  Continue reading


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Holby City: The apex of his career

selfie-holby(Series 19, ep. 5) The very first scene was an unconscious Tristan (frankly, that’s the best kind of Tristan) bleeding all over a passport. Then a flashback to 24 hours earlier.

Despite the episode being called ‘Song of Self, Part One,’ Selfie didn’t do any actual singing. He might have been in the mood for singing to begin with – his Self Centre was about to be built (would they have to flatten the Linden Cullen Memorial Shrubbery to create space for it? Surely not! Serena’s mum’s ashes are there) and the future was looking rosy. He even told his support group that he was finished with them now, because with his Self Centre he wasn’t Nothing or No-one any more.

tristan-jemima-selfie-holbyAt the heart of the episode, the story got very dark indeed. Tristan’s nasty side turned out to be far nastier than anyone had suspected. Jemima, back in the hospital after she’d been run over trying to run away from Tristan, was discovered to be pregnant. And Selfie deduced that she was pregnant because Tristan had raped her.  Continue reading


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Holby City: Seriously though, never trust a Tristan

selfie-holby(Series 19, ep. 4) Selfie has always been morally somewhat dubious, and this episode once again plunged him into some very grey areas indeed.

He was called from a black tie dinner (is this John Michie’s pitch to be the next James Bond?) to attend to a woman (Laura Rogers) who turned out to be Slimy Tristan’s girlfriend Jemima (as opposed to his wife, Patsy “Big Pockets” Brassvine). The reason Selfie was the only person who would do for what seemed basically a quick first aid case was that Tristan knew he could be sure of Selfie’s “discretion.” After all, Tristan had the power to make all of Selfie’s neurosurgery dreams come true.  Continue reading


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Class – full marks for this Who spin-off


I think we can agree that 2016 has pretty much sucked – I feel like Frodo on the side of Mount Doom, unable to remember the taste of strawberries or mainstream politics that weren’t basically fascist – but here, at the end of all things (less than a fortnight before the US presidential election), comes an Eagle: Patrick Ness’s Doctor Who spin-off, Class.

Class takes us to a refurbished Coal Hill Academy, where time has been spread a little thin thanks to the Doctor’s frequent visits, and introduces us to four sixth-formers, Charlie, Ram, Tanya and Avril, and their teacher Miss Quill. It’s not long before galactic malcontents are slipping through the rift in time to cause more disruption than an Ofsted inspection…

To avoid anything even faintly spoilerish, I’m going to steer entirely clear of plot here – except to say the first three stories are all great. What I will say is that the writing is excellent. Geeky lampshading and jokes – check. Playing with audience expectations – check. Characters you’re rooting for after just five minutes – check. Proper LGBT representation – check… Look, basically this is everything I’ve wanted Doctor Who to be for the last few years, okay? (Well, apart from the copious blood-splatter. I’m not a monster.)

The cast are all superb, but especially watchable are Fady Elsayed, who picks out all the subtle layers of Ram Singh, and Vivian Oparah, whose acting has a similar thoughtfulness and intensity to Sophie Okenado’s.

Funny, scary and smart – this really is a class act. Head over to BBC Three and watch the first three episodes now.

Posted by Jo the Hat



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