Casualty: Fellowship or fiancéeship?

(Series 33, ep. 20 by Rebecca Wojciechowski 19.1.19) My full review of this episode can be found over at Metro, but before you go I have a couple of things to add.

– I found myself pondering, not for the first time and probably not for the last, exactly where Holby is supposed to be these days. How far from Manchester is it? Would a long distance relationship between Holby-based Ethan and Manchester-based Alicia have been so difficult? I suppose when you factor in the long shifts etc, it might have been.

– And what did the fine hospitals of Manchester make of Connie’s conviction that Ethan going there would be ‘career suicide’? Surely there’d be an opening somewhere, with a possibility of career progression, for an experienced ED doctor?

– So many questions, but the fact remains that George Rainsford and Chelsea Halfpenny did a beautiful job with this storyline, considering that until this week I was not quite certain that they were even a proper couple. The ending was suitably tear-jerking. I was just glad that Charlie wasn’t in this episode, because Charlie saying goodbye to beloved colleagues totally does me in.

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Holby City: Can we keep her?

(Series 21, ep. 3 ‘The Burden of Proof’ by Gerard Sampaio 15.1.19) For my full review, pop yourself over to Metro. But before you go, here are a few random thoughts.

– ‘Oh please, can we keep her?’ I think everybody will have been nodding along with Serena’s wish to have Lola Griffin/Williams on AAU every Tuesday until the end of time. Sharon D Clarke is fabulous in the role – charming, feisty, charismatic, she has an almost magical way with patients and staff alike. I absolutely love her.

– I didn’t think Dominic’s ‘lie’ about being useless at Physics was a big deal, really. It was just an awkward attempt to bond with Harriet rather than a reversion to his ‘Psycho Dom’ days. The exaggeration of his experience in the surgical procedure was more serious, but what doctor on Holby hasn’t occasionally done that? Cut him some slack, Ange.

– Is it just me, or does Holby get an unusual number of patients (and staff) who want to join, or have already joined, the army?

– I’m very glad we didn’t have to witness Nicky and Cam at Albie’s karaoke night. If there’s two things I can’t cope with on TV it’s karaoke scenes, and people who can’t dance trying to dance (hence why I can’t watch Strictly). And nosebleeds. That’s three things.

– I’m excited to see what Lofty gets to wear for his new job of Discharge Coordinator. Maybe he can wear the green scrubs that Essie used to have when she was Transplant Coordinator? Not the exact same ones because I shouldn’t think they’d fit.

– What on earth were Lola and Ric up to to get him that head injury? On second thoughts, best not to dwell on that one.

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Casualty: We need to talk about Duffy

Casualty - Series 33 - Ep178(Series 33, ep. 19 by Julie Dixon 12.1.19) This week’s Casualty review can be found over at Metro

So what do we think? Does Duffy have dementia, or will it be some fixable thing that Holby’s ‘neuro team’ (currently very diminished after Professor Gaskell killed Roxanna then himself, and Selfie left for wherever) be able to sort out? And will Charlie and Duffy fix their relationship? I’m guessing a definite yes to the second question, because Charlie is an angel of a man and when he realises that Duffy has been struggling with more than just lust for Bill Crowthers he’ll be full of remorse and compassion. On the other hand, it’ll be difficult for him to come to terms with the fact that she confided in Bill and not in him.

Oh, I don’t know what’s going to happen! But I do know that Louise and Robyn are currently Not Helping.

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Holby City: Young adults everywhere

(Series 21, ep. 2 ‘China Crisis’ by Joe Ainsworth 8.1.19) Happy new year, Holby fans! The review for this episode is over at Metro, and now I’ve come out of Christmas hibernation I can summon up a few additional random thoughts about it.

Tom Campbell-Gore succumbed to the Curse of the Holby Relative/Friend/Staff Member fairly easily, didn’t he? It’s a shame, really, as I was rather enjoying his arrogant ways. And enjoying Serena putting him in his place very much.

I rather like Ange at first sight, though she does remind me of Colette Sheward in a practical, sleeves-up, no-nonsense kind of way.

Has the YAU (I hear that in my head as a James Brown sort of ‘Yow!’) been conceived so that Holby can nurture the next generation of young acting talent by bringing in lots of Young Adults? It  would be very commendable if so, but I do get a bit vexed by these ‘units’ that take over perfectly sensible wards. It’s usually Darwin that gets corners of it stolen by other departments, but they always get their territory back in the end. I wonder how long the YAU will last before someone decides they need the beds back?

Essie does love a Special Uniform, doesn’t she?

Cameron’s appearance on Darwin prompted some of the best lines of the week (‘That’s all I need, another pound shop Hugh Grant’ and the line about ‘Foetus and Fauntleroy’ from Jac), but I think my favourite line in the whole episode was ‘Serena Campbell. No Gore.’

The scenes between Lorraine Chase and Jaye Jacobs were beautiful.

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Bros: After the Screaming Stops

Like several thousand others, I watched the Bros documentary over Christmas. Its popularity clearly took the schedulers by surprise, who’d parked it in a 10.00pm BBC4 slot with repeat in the early hours of New Years Day. I nearly missed it because my Radio Times only awarded it a paltry three stars. I thought it was an outstanding piece of film-making – it wouldn’t surprise me if it popped up again in the near future with a primetime spot on Beeb 1.

Leaving aside any of the content, it was a supremely well put together piece. It cunningly opened with a teaser of one of their backstage rows during their oft fraught rehearsal period last year, knowing that no-one would be shifting until they saw this played out in full. There were beautifully lit, revealing speeches to camera by our eponymous brothers, intercut with footage from their heyday in the 80s, their lives now in the US (Matt in Vegas, Luke in California) and their reunion gig at the O2 in August 2017. There was a slightly eerie refrain of Wogan asking ‘What will you do when the screaming stops?’ from an interview he’d conducted with them at the height of their success.

One of the brothers’ complaints, and it is a justified one I think, is what a slating they were given by the press ‘back in the day.’  I can’t deny that I was NEVER a fan of their oeuvre; insubstantial teeny pop it certainly was, but no worse than most of Stock Aitken & Waterman’s output that also clogged up the charts at the time. I don’t suppose it helped that their first big hit was ‘When Will I Be Famous?’, grandstanding par excellence. However, in the days of X Factor/TOWIE/Love Island et al, this wannabe-star posturing looks positively tame.

From most of the comments I read from others in response to the documentary, it seems that sneering is still the order of the day. It is true they come across as self-important, overly serious and startlingly un self-aware at times. There’s a definite Spinal Tap-ness going on with their often unintentionally hilarious musings. Matt (the more prolific of the two at these) proudly showing us the painting he had done of his dog with a pint is right up there with Nigel Tufnell’s wide-eyed wonder at his guitars and you have to pinch yourself as a reminder that this isn’t fiction.

There’s a couple of quotes that I did like though, such as ‘everyone has to be on the same page so that you can turn the page’. And there’s some genuinely touching and tear-inducing moments – mostly footage and subsequent memories of their late mother. They also treat their fellow musicians and fans, both now and then, with genuine respect and affection and I found myself warming to them and hoping that the comeback concert would be a success, which it seemed to be. Whatever your view of their music, Luke can play drums and Matt can sing, so good luck to ‘em.

The relationship between them is fascinating. Luke, we discover, always felt the ugly relation; the bridesmaid, never the bride; parked behind his kit while Matt was in the thick of the crowd, the more ‘successful’ one. And yet it was Luke who exerted the most power in their relationship, being the one to walk away from the band while they were still riding high. He has been married for over twenty years; his wife Shirley is present but not overbearing during the concert filming, and significantly, not interviewed. It is their story, not anyone else’s. It is likely that Shirley has been the steadying influence on Luke, who comes across as more grounded than Matt. For me the most poignant moment comes as they walk the long walk from backstage to start their gig. ‘You’re the love of my life’, says Matt to Luke. ‘I love you too’, says Luke, somewhat distractedly, no doubt thinking of the night ahead. ‘No, you’re the love of my life,’ reiterates his brother. This is not answered.

You have to remember they were only eighteen when they were catapulted into stardom, with crowd hysteria worldwide allegedly not seen on that scale since The Beatles. It does something to your psyche, I’m sure. I’ll forgive Matt some of his ludicrous pronouncements for that.

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Holby City: All the festive feels

Apologies for this short and un-illustrated post. It’s Twixmas and I’m not opening my laptop for any reason.

Luckily there’s a proper Holby review over at Metro as usual, so pop over there for my thoughts on this festive episode, which came complete with a couple of pretend Santas, Mr T as an elf, and Alex Walkinshaw completely knocking it out of the park.

Holby City review with spoilers: Love for Xavier, heartbreak for Fletch at Christmas

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Holby City: Dofty together, Berena apart

(Series 20, ep. 50 ‘The Right Sort of Animal’ by Ed Sellek 11.12.18) Pop over to Metro for a full review of this glorious episode. Before you go, some random thoughts.

– How fabulous was this episode? I love the quirky things that Ed Sellek puts in his scripts and there were loads of them here. Xavier’s reference to The World According to Garp (telling Serena she was ‘pre-disastered’) has shot him right up in my estimation, and there was another literary reference with Morgan the Organ – the poor man who got hit right in the middle of Pachelbel’s Canon (ouch). The stained glass face stuck in Lexy was brilliant too.

– Reverend Richard Coles’ appearance was really nicely done. His character Henry De Havilland added to the general quirkiness of the wedding in a really joyous way.

– Greta (Zoe Croft) looked absolutely beautiful.

– I also loved Greta’s advice to Dom. Both Greta and Jason are great at getting straight to the heart of things and cutting through the nonsense.

– It was nice to hear Lee Mead using his singing talents, and well done to David Ames for being able to be sung at without going bright red and giggling. Or is that just me?

– It was also lovely to have a Dofty wedding. I was so happy I forgot (till it was over) that Carole Copeland and Sheilagh Chiltern weren’t even there. Luckily both of them will be making appearances in the next few months (see the winter trailer) – but will they ever meet?

– I have a lot of thoughts about Berena, which you can read about in a separate piece over at Metro.

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