Holby City: We stay and fight

(Series 23, ep. 41 by Rebecca Harrison 25.1.22) Head over to Metro for my review of this episode. But before you go…

Line of the week: (Jac) ’We stay and fight.’ (Fletch) ’I’ve got no fight left in me.’ (Jac) ’Then find it, because I need you.’

Not in front of Ange (or any woman) line of the week: (Russ) ‘About the only woman who’s worth talking to in this hospital is Jac Naylor.’

Wishful thinking line of the week: (Dominic)’I’m not here.’ (Donna) ‘Well neither am I. I’m on a beach in the Bahamas.’

I didn’t mention the Dominic/Sacha scenes in my Metro review, but they were precious. Sacha’s tie-dyed lab coat was a thing of hideous beauty.

I’m still not feeling Hanssen and Russ, but I can totally picture Hanssen as a stepfather to Billie and a granddad to her baby. He’s a lovely granddad.

Nicky’s last scene, as she looked out of the window at Amelia and Juliet outside, reminded me that we don’t get so many classic ‘window of regret’ scenes any more. Will there even be any more? *crying face*

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Casualty: I’ve created a monster

(Series 36, ‘Close Encounters’ by Hamish Wright 22.1.22) Please pop over to Metro to read my review of this week’s episode. I have had a few random thoughts as well…

The scenes between Faith and Angus at her house were quite chilling, as it all got nasty very quickly. Even though Angus climbed down from his creepy, entitled position I can’t imagine why Faith would later want to pick up where they left off. A man who could take that attitude as soon as Faith changed her mind about sleeping with him the first time is obviously dodgy.

His anger at Faith not wanting to sleep with him, in hindsight must have been as much about potentially being denied a robbing opportunity as much as being denied sex, but either way – nasty, nasty man.

I’m glad Ethan and the Khatris sorted out a custody arrangement with Bodhi that they’re all happy with. It’s basically the one they had just after Fenisha died, but at that point Ethan was in no fit state to care for his son.

And the story about the UFO boys was really sweet. I liked Jonny’s mum stepping up to support him and persuade him that they had to let brother Neil spread his wings a bit.

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Holby City: I’m asking you for hope

(Series 23, ep. 40 by Andy Bayliss 18.1.22) Please pop over to Metro to see this week’s review (and also last week’s, as I didn’t get round to linking that here). But before you do that…

It’s always amazing how on Holby a new treatment option can be found for a case that everyone agrees is untreatable (look how many times Sammy Carrington was running out of road, and now he’s fine). But let’s hope Eli agrees to the surgery that Jac is asking for.

I was thinking isn’t it amazing how Jac, a character who in her early days was characterised by being selfish, unpleasant and cold hearted is now the glorious centre of the whole show? While still being generally selfish, unpleasant and cold-hearted. It’s brilliant.

Only 10 more episodes of Holby to go, and I’m not ready to say goodbye to Jac, or Sacha, or Dom, or Hanssen, or Fletch. They’re like old friends.

I wonder who’ll get a happy ending? It looks like Hanssen might be heading that way, with that funny little romance with Russ. I’m still not really feeling it, even though Guy Henry is doing his fabulous best to make it all seem plausible and the little reactions we see to Russ are very touching and rather sweet.

I very much doubt that Fletch will jump the sinking ship and fully expect him to be there right to the end. But I have been wrong before.

This is far too much talk of endings and I’m going to stop. Far too miserable. See you next week!

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Casualty: She’s my baby

(Series 36 ‘She’s My Baby’ by Lydia Marchant 15.1.22) Please pop over to Metro where you can read this week’s review (and also last week’s, as I didn’t get round to posting about that on here).

But before you go…

I might have mentioned before how much I love Rosie Jones. She’s been excellent in Casualty and this was the most heartbreaking performance. I think the real skill is we don’t feel sorry for Paula in a pitying way. In some ways she’s hard to like, and there’s no doubt that the details revealed about her first child were horrible to listen to. But like Dylan we can see a person who’s trying, who deserves a second chance.

And whoever came up with the idea to put William Beck and Rosie Jones together in so many scenes was a genius.

I have to say I do like Paige Allcott. She’s at the bouncy/annoying end of the junior doctor scale, but I like that she’s so open and keen. She’s already good at the emotional hand-holding stuff, so probably Stevie is the best mentor she could have had to get all the medical stuff lined up behind it. She’ll be fine.

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Holby City: The one with the pert liver

(Series 23, ep. 38 by Isla Gray 4.1.22) Happy New Year! Please pop over to Metro to read my review of this episode.

I watched it before Christmas, so apologies in advance if my Further Thoughts are even more muddled than usual.

Jac! I am seriously worried about her.

Scrambled Simile Corner: (Eli) ‘Surgery is like riding a bike. Nobody wants to fall off, so you never forget.’ Especially if you’re an elephant. Who also does surgery. While riding a bike.

You’re willing to turn up looking like you got dressed in the dark’ Madge tells Ange because she has baby sick on her clothes. But then Ange turns the tables when Madge’s uniform has a stain on it: ‘Looks like you got dressed in the dark.’ She’s witty, that Ange.

But what’s with all of Madge’s scars? Is she being abused by someone?

Chat up line of the week: ‘I have a deliciously pert liver in my theatre with no one to put it in.’ Oh Russ, you charmer.

Are we feeling the Russ/Hanssen relationship? I’m not sure, but enjoying seeing how it goes.

Communicator of the Week: (Donna tackles sign language in her own special way) ‘And more signs would be a lobster – no, snail – a lobster, aaaand my personal favourite, booty call.’

Kylie puts her foot in it: (to Nicky re baby Juliet) ‘Do you think she looks more like you or more like erm…’ Erm would be the man who blew up the hospital after killing assorted people.

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Holby City: Last Christmas

(Series 23, ep. 37 by Kat Rose-Martin 14.12.21) Bob along to Metro to read my proper review. But before you go…

Poor Sammy. That child has been put through the mill for our entertainment, hasn’t he? Hopefully he really is cured this time.

No pressure line of the week: (Hanssen) ‘If the baton drops for a single second, a mother will be burying her child this Christmas’

Actual line of the week: (Donna sums up Hanssen) ‘You might be a fun sponge, but you’re a reliable fun sponge.’

Line of the week 2: (Jac is just a sentimental old thing when thinking of Sammy’s surgery) ‘If this surgery doesn’t get us out of special measures, I don’t know what will.’

But talking of sentimental – Amelia singing Silent Night to her lost baby. That was heartbreaking, and beautifully done by Lucy Briggs-Owen.

Carole’s box of letters! She continues to be wonderful even though she’s gone.

It was lovely to see Zosia in the video call with Ollie, and equally lovely to get that little glimpse of Nicky. I have a feeling we might be seeing a few more old faces before the show comes to its untimely end next year. Sad to say goodbye to the wonderful Oliver Valentine, though.

Ange and Josh’s two-way proposal was a precious thing. I like that he wouldn’t agree to it until he knew that she was properly aware of how his bulimia is currently.

And Kylie loves Louis! Adorable.

So that was our last Christmas ever in Holby (apart from the ED, which will still continue as they bravely struggle with the realisation that There Is Nothing Upstairs Anymore). No more carols under the tree in the Linden Cullen Memorial Shrubbery. No more ghostly visitations from dead relatives. No more Pulses’ Christmas menu (same old muffins with extra cinnamon). Bah. Humbug.

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Masterchef: The Professionals. Ho, ho, ho…

by Maggie Gordon-Walker

Time once more for Masterchef: The Professionals; the hardhitting juggernaut, with nary a festive cheer, especially unseasonal since it was filmed in summer. And we’ve got a new title sequence to admire, where our three presenters turn to the camera as if they’re being sent to their doom, especially Marcus Wareing, who looks up with wounded rabbit eyes, resembling a bearded Elisabeth Moss in The Handmaid’s Tale.

I was asked to share some thoughts on the latest MC instalment, which gets ever harder with this iteration. I mean, the line-up is almost always 95% young, white males, with varying amounts of Ts & Ps (tattoos and piercings). Slightly less Ts & Ps than I remember from a year or so back, although the recently dispatched John had those things, which are all hole and no earlobe. Like a pair of giant hula hoops either side of one’s bonce. I’ve just looked up what they’re called: ‘flesh tunnels.’ Well, that’s appetising, isn’t it…?

I didn’t mind John though, ear decoration aside. He was, whisper it, not actually cowed and grovelling, having the temerity to look somewhat irked in an earlier episode when receiving criticism. Through pursed lips, he declared in the VT that he thought what he’d produced was good and should have got better feedback. Dear God man, that’s like telling the Daleks to calm down a bit. He wasn’t aquiver with gratification at the prospect of The Mighty Shrek bestowing one of his favourable culinary bon mots…. ‘deep and meaty’, for example. It was definitely The Big E when Marcus declared smugly that John’s unravelling at the pop-up kitchen was ‘a classic example of a chef who’s not tried and tested’, with all the delight of someone finding an unexpected fiver on the pavement. (A special moment of scorn here for their notion of the ‘pop-up’; which takes place in an industrial hangar in the arse end of nowhere, with a fleet of servers with the word STAFF emblazoned on their T-shirts in the way no pop-up ever does).

So, at the time of writing, there’s six left. They mostly merge into one amiable, slightly anxious youth. Except Portuguese Daniel, who carries all the worries of the world upon his skinny shoulders. The lad is haunted. If this were the film version (dear God no, I couldn’t take Shrek in close-up), he’d be played by Steve Buscemi. You have the feeling you’d like to edge the knives away from him, just in case, but then he breaks into a smile. However, the real characters have all gone, along with the diversity. Such as Charath, who was the undeserved recipient of Marcus’ little moue that his curry should have had rice to mop up the sauce, not bread. Eh?! What’s the bread doing there then, knitting a jumper?!

Well now, onto the judges and let us consider Shrek some more, aka Gregg Wallace, which lends itself beautifully to Egg. The fact that he’s still there is a mystery, as he has neither wit nor knowledge to bring to the table. A couple of times in this series he’s held a different opinion to Marcus and Monica (the actual experts), as to the quality of what he’s eating. I did catch an irritated glance from Marcus at one of Egg’s utterances, yet it doesn’t seem to be enough to shift him. The contestants occasionally murmur that they were sorry Gregg didn’t like something they’d spent hours sweating blood over. Why are they not inwardly screaming in horror at having to pay heed to the ex-greengrocer with a failed restaurant…? Sorry, TWO failed restaurants. But the one thing he used to do right, THE ONE THING, Greggy-boy, was LOOK like an egg. Now he’s slimmed down so much he’s almost thinner than Monica. As far as I know Wife Number Four is working out ok, putting paid to the notion that people in relationships get tubbier (cf his erstwhile presenter Torode). It’s a pickle. Maybe even a pickled egg.

The most entertaining contestant by far was Nic, way back in the early rounds. My friend pondered if he’d imbibed too much coke in the dressing room (and not the stuff you drink), as the man DID NOT STOP TALKING. Certainly, the patter meant he couldn’t cook effectively, but the fact that he out-geezered Shrek by a million apples and pears is worth anyone’s licence fee. The heats had a couple of other amusing moments. In one challenge they were presented with a tin opener and told to knock something up. They looked as flummoxed as if they’d been given a monkey wrench and a couple of feather dusters and told to create a meringue with them. I know they’re all about their fine dining and/or foraging, but surely one of them has made something with a tin of tomatoes before? Another time they were exhorted to make something ‘with colour’. That’s definitely the result of someone on the production team on the happy sauce. I’m yet to think of something I’ve eaten that has entirely NO colour to it, but I’ll be sure to rush to tell the world when I do.

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Casualty: Press his nose

(Series 36, ‘Remember Me Part 2’ by Barbara Machin 11.12.21) Well, that was stressful, wasn’t it? For my full review head over to Metro. But first…

I must include an honourable mention for Iain’s Rudolf boxers. ‘Press his nose’ could be a contender for Line of the Week.

Holly Aird was excellently menacing as Laura. She was scary, but I did feel sorry for her too – she wasn’t a monster, just a very sick woman.

The script was so full of detail – Amina’s case showing how at that stage doctors were still very much learning about how Covid worked on the body, the outsourcing of radiology, no room at the obs and gynae inn for pregnant Rosie.

Tess is so capable and calm in a crisis. I want her back full time please.

To be fair to Laura, ‘Holly Merriman’ would have been a very festive name for the baby.

Thank goodness Charlie’s health situation turned out to be not too bad. But then again, if he hadn’t mentioned anything about it for the entire year since it was never likely to be anything too disturbing.

This is the problem with a flashback episode. We also knew Iain would pull through, otherwise he’s been a ghost for the whole of 2021. And I think Jan would have noticed that.

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Holby City: Goodbye, Carole

(Series 23, ep. 36 by Joe Ainsworth 7.12.21) Pop over to Metro to read my proper review of this sad, sad episode. But before you go…

I was in pieces when Carole died by the lake. How absolutely brilliant were Julia Deakin and David Ames? I loved how you could see Carole’s lovely warm sparkle was intact despite her failing health. She wanted to make sure Dominic knew how much he was loved. In the scene with Hanssen, too, she managed to convey just enough of how much she valued him.

When Carole said ‘Love’ to Hanssen, it made me remember that Love is his middle name.

Full credit to Guy Henry and Bob Barrett for their parts in making this storyline touch our hearts so much. And of course credit to the always brilliant Joe Ainsworth for the beautiful script.

Hanssen’s admission that he once thought his relationship with Carole ‘might go beyond the cha cha cha.’ Oh, if only it had.

But line of the week: (Carole) ‘Dazzle, my special boy.’ My hayfever is giving me hell today…

I’m so glad that covid filming restrictions have been relaxed now. If Dominic hadn’t been able to hold Carole’s hand, or sob in Sacha’s arms, it would have been wrong.

Jeong-Soo is going to be very sad when he hears about Carole. He was very fond of her too.

In other news: Eli and Amelia have both landed on opposite sides of the Amelia/baby decision, but that was always going to happen. And Claudia is threatening Ange’s confidence in her relationship with Josh, but ditto.

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Casualty: Unrelenting death, delays, shortages, grief

(Series 36, ‘Remember Me Part 1’ by Barbara Machin 4.12.21) Take a look at my proper review for Metro (where I’m also doing some of the EastEnders and Corrie stuff these days). But before you get too engrossed in Metro’s world of soap, I’ve had a few thoughts.

What a brilliant (if initially confusing) episode. Well done to master manipulator of time Barbara Machin for such a complex and engrossing story.

I don’t think I was watching Casualty in 2006, so I missed Laura’s first appearance. It was a clever idea to bring her back, and to have a grown-up Rosie now working in the ED.

It was an absolute joy to see Tess again. Hopefully by the end of the next episode she and Charlie will have resolved their differences.

Also lovely to see Iain in his red HEMS uniform again. He looks very good in red.

The appearance of hapless social worker Adi made sense of why nobody was pleased to see him last week in the Paula storyline.

And what a cliffhanger ending, despite the fact that we know Iain doesn’t die in 2020 because he’s still alive and well in 2021. Unless he’s a ghost, like Cal.

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