Holby City: A hospital’s a dangerous place

fletch holby(Series 18, ep. 47) For those who watch Holby but not Casualty, the ‘Previously’ segment brought us up to speed on Connie’s accident and Saturday’s helicopter crash. Then we saw Fletch, who’d been a part of the helicopter mayhem, giving us a little talk about what a difficult but rewarding job he had. Directly to camera he said, “You just gotta remember, a hospital’s a dangerous place.” Nobody who’s watched Holby for very long would doubt that for a minute, but it added an extra twist of tension.

Fletch had the unenviable task of looking after Stephanie Simms, the woman who’d caused Connie and Grace’s car accident. She was under police guard, because there was a chance she’d try to escape. She spent most of the time trying to get inside Fletch’s head by asking him about his children. She’s a manipulative one, but Fletch was on to her. “If you get a chance, give that bitch a morphine overdose,” Connie told him, which in hindsight might have been the best course of action, but he’s way too professional for that sort of thing.  Continue reading

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Casualty: 30, with stars and sprinkles around it

casualty 30(Series 31, ep. 1) For four long weeks we’ve had to wait to find out whether Connie and Grace were going to survive their car plunging down a ravine. Nail-biting tension! But it turned out that that was just a starter tragedy, before the main course of full-on mayhem ensued.

It was the 30th anniversary of the day Charlie Fairhead first walked into Holby ED, with a bit more hair and a Bristol accent, but otherwise basically the same wise, sensible and Special person he is today. Charlie’s first day was also the first episode of Casualty, so this was a double celebration, and the episode had to be even more spectacular than the magnificent cake Noel had organised.  Continue reading

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Holby City: Happy families

jac jasmine holby(Series 18, ep. 46) Jac has apparently been away on some happy-clappy retreat thing with Emma (can you imagine it? No, me neither). The short-term effect was to make her smile a lot and be all co-operative and amenable with her colleagues, and it didn’t last long. There was no long-term effect.

Any thought of peace and good will to all got blown out of the water as soon as she discovered the identity of her new F1. Jasmine, who’d been bouncing about like a medically-trained puppy and impressing Jac with her knowledge and her keenness, didn’t wait all that long before telling Jac who she really is – her half sister. Jac’s reaction was about what we’d expect, given her relationship with the toxic Paula. “If anyone finds out we’re related, you’ll never work in medicine again,” Jac told her sister.

It’s going to be fascinating to watch how the relationship between these two evolves. Jasmine said that she hadn’t had an easy time with Paula – including not knowing that she was dying. I can’t imagine Jasmine giving up easily, either, even though Jac has gone into her usual state of emotional armour-plating. Meanwhile, Jasmine is consoling herself with Oliver Valentine.

In what was a very well-crafted episode, Selfie was at the same time struggling with his own issues with his mother. Valerie died in the operating theatre, and in the conversation that followed it was clear that Jac and Selfie have more in common than either of them would like to think. It’s part of what attracted them to each other (though I didn’t really buy that attraction at the time, but that’s because I don’t think anyone but Joseph is good enough for Jac) and it’s part of what makes Jac hate him so much. In fact she hates him so much that even though he offered to leave (having said he would to try and persuade Jac to do a Herzig procedure on Valerie), Jac said she didn’t want him to. She wants him gone, but on her terms: “I will get rid of you, and it will be painful.”  Continue reading

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Holby City: Unfinished business

selfie holby(Series 18, ep. 45) Guy Self. Selfie. Self-centred, selfish, self-absorbed, self-promoting, always the villain of the piece. And yet an episode which started with Selfie in typically arrogant mode with the publication of his memoirs (Head Space – sadly not currently available from Amazon and all good book shops) ended with him in tears – and frankly, I was almost in tears with him.

The cause of this turnaround was the appearance – as a patient – of his mother Valerie, beautifully played by Brigit Forsyth. Zosia didn’t know that Granny was still alive, and she seemed so nice, too. But it was clear that Selfie was a haunted man. It wasn’t until Valerie made her presence felt at a meeting where Selfie was trying to impress bigwigs that her sweet facade started to crack – and as soon as Zosia wasn’t around, we caught a glimpse of something very nasty indeed.  Continue reading


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Holby City: The cake eating man and the tell-tale kidney

image(Series 18, ep. 44) Another triumph for the casting department, this time in the form of Bernie’s son Cameron (Nic Jackman). He really did look like he could be related to Bernie, not just in looks but something about his manner – that quality that Bernie has that I can only describe as “stillness.” He had that too, and obviously it’s not all about the casting but also the actors working well together.

Cameron succumbed to the Curse of The Holby Relative by becoming a patient, following a car accident for which he was taking the blame. It was a complicated and interesting story which had Bernie covering for Cameron and Serena covering for Bernie when the alleged passenger in the car was found to have a kidney injury that could only be caused to the person driving.  Continue reading


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Holby: The beep wobbles

ric hanssen holby(Series 18, ep. 43) I’m not sure who commissioned the Digby memorial plaque that was unveiled by Ric in the Linden Cullen Memorial Shrubbery, but I’d be asking for a refund (it was rubbish) and also having serious words with the handy-person who made such a hash of nailing it up above the Pondering Pond.

It raised the question – what would be a fitting memorial for the late and much-loved doctor? I assume that those pesky Germans have rebadged the Digby Stent now, so that’s out.

It fell to Ric to solve this puzzle, and eventually he came up with the idea of an academy called the Arthur Digby Foundation, to seek out new medical talent wherever it might manifest itself (starting with Ric’s former boxing sparring partner, who was back again with a leaking aneurysm and a new interest in medicine). I don’t know who’s going to pay for all this, but let’s not worry our pretty heads about that because it’s a lovely idea.

It was a difficult day for Ric. He’s perhaps been worried that he didn’t do everything humanly possible for Digby (though of course he did), and this was made worse when Morven asked him about that very thing. Morven’s sadness breaks my heart, btw. This all led to Ric having a fit of what I shall call the “beep wobbles” – when you’re in the middle of some delicate surgery, the machines are going beep, there’s blood everywhere and you go a bit funny and someone has to take over. I really hope it doesn’t happen in real life as often as it happens in Holby.  Continue reading


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Holby City: I got you, babe

bernie morven holby(Series 18, ep. 42) At one point in this episode, Morven told recurring character Hugh  (Keith Barron), that she thought Arthur’s favourite place had been right there in that very hospital. It’s hardly surprising, really. Is there any other workplace in the world where the staff are so supportive, kind and protective, while at the same time being at least 100% more attractive than the general population? Ok, there’s Selfie, but you have to mix it up with the occasional bad guy and even he has his moments.

holby cityThe episode dealt a lot with grief and moving on – variants of the old “life’s too short” axiom kept cropping up at regular intervals. It was Morven’s first day back at work after losing Arthur (apart from that time she popped up in the locker room to say goodbye to Cara). “I’m Dr Digby now,” she said, and that little phrase captured a whole world of love, bravery, pain and pride. [Side note: When I was a kid our GP’s were a husband and wife combo, and to differentiate between them everyone called them “Dr Corrigan and Dr Mrs Corrigan.” Now I’m all grown up, again I have a husband and wife GP combo, only now everyone – patients, receptionists – calls the female GP “the lady doctor.” Which (a) makes her sound like she has the same area of specialism as Mr T and (b) makes it sound like I live in Victorian England].  Continue reading


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