Holby City: Jac back. Everyone on their A game

jac holby(Series 18, ep.7) Jac Naylor was back full-time at Holby from her maternity leave (hurrah!). Was this the reason that everyone was on their A game in this episode? Not just character-wise, but acting-wise and writing-wise, too. It was an absolute cracker.

The main effect of Jac’s return on Oliver Valentine was a tad odd. He started the episode feeling all confident and looking forward to getting his hands on a very unusual tumour (it was called Howard). As soon as Jac appeared, his confidence drained away. She wasn’t helpful: “Have you found a Yellow Pages to stand on in theatre, or do you still need to borrow one?”  Continue reading


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Casualty: Cal faces up to fatherhood

cal casualty(Series 30, ep.12) “Cal faces every parent’s nightmare,” said the preview, and to me that meant back-to-back episodes of Thomas the Tank Engine. I know I’ve gone on about that before, but honestly – that’s a Christmas I’ll never get back (to be fair we all had flu as well. It wasn’t all Thomas’s fault).

ethan casualty“Every parent’s worst nightmare” in Cal’s case was that baby Matilda (or “Toad” as he still adorably calls her) was ill and might have had meningitis. She didn’t, but that wasn’t confirmed until she’d had to go through various nasty procedures, which upset Cal so much he had to go and sit in his car and wait for a pep talk from Charlie. And then he squared his shoulders, turned his frown upside down and went to look after his daughter, because he’d realised that being a dad meant being by her side to try to make the bad stuff feel better.  Continue reading

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Holby City: But we’re so close to an arrest!

cara holby(Series 18, ep.6) The Mythical St James’s is apparently real enough to have its own quiz team, according to Fletch. In fact I’m sure they have an A&E department as well (which occasionally gets used if Charlie is a bit over-stretched on Casualty). If only Nicole Brady had gone to St James’s to haemorrhage, Nurse Cara Martinez might have had a quieter shift and we wouldn’t have had to endure her husband, Jed “Alias” Martinez, bleating on at her again about how he’s so close to making an arrest he can’t possibly peep out from behind his undercovers.

Instead we had Bad Man Sean Brady stalking the AAU corridors holding the baby and eventually discovering the truth about who the real father is. Pausing only to put the baby down, he proceeded to give Jed the good kicking we’ve all felt he deserved for weeks, until Cara knocked Brady out with a swift whack with a crutch.  Continue reading


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Casualty: Dr Pinky Hair less perky

alicia casualty(Series 30, ep.11) Is this the last we’ll be seeing of Dr Perky Pinky Hair? Was she only temporary? I ask this because at the end of last night’s episode she was emailing her resignation to Connie. Emailing! Time was when only a proper paper letter in a proper paper envelope would do, but these are the times we’re living in.

The reason for her resignation was that she felt she’d been bullied by Dr Lily Chao. Well, I know Dr Chao can be a bit of a Cao, but compared to Jac Naylor she’s a pussycat. Plus she has mitigating circumstances in the form of grieving about her late father and trying to choose a nice headstone for his grave.

Alicia demonstrated her brilliance at doctoring (nice work with the improvised chest drain in the back of a van while an angry vengeful man is trying to bash his way in to finish the job he started), but the thing that annoys Lily is that Alicia also feels the need to demonstrate her tip-top people skills regularly, rather than sticking to the job at hand. I can see her point, really. The doctors should get on with the doctoring and leave the touchy-feely stuff to Lofty.

noel jacob casualtyMeanwhile, Jacob received a letter containing the name of the police officer who shot him. Rather than an email, this one was a proper paper letter in a proper paper envelope. This was so Connie could catch him about to open it and persuade him that to do so would have career- and liberty-threatening consequences. I like it when Connie gets all cross and talks through her front teeth while her back teeth remain firmly clenched. You know she means business, and it makes a change from going all simpery and silly whenever Jacob is in view.

And Dr Zoe Hanna decided that Max really wasn’t going to change his mind about being Mr Zoe Hanna, and took her wedding ring off. She didn’t throw it into a nearby bin like Jacob did with his letter, though, so there’s hope.

Next time: Cal “faces every parent’s nightmare.” Back to back episodes of Thomas the Tank Engine! (Or is that just me?).


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Holby City: Lots of pain caused by small things

mo william holby(Series 18, ep.5) Mo Effanga is a wonderful character. She’s strong, skillful, feisty, funny – and she can break your heart. So it did seem a bit odd a few weeks ago that she seemed to give wee William back to his father without too much of an effort and quickly console herself with quiz night. Where was the big emotional leave-taking?

They were saving it up for this week. Faced with the possibility that William might be going to live with his granny Viv (Sorcia’s mother, with whom Sorcia had had a difficult relationship), Mo and the little boy got in her funny pink car and headed off. She didn’t seem to have much of a plan – by then she was operating completely on instinct and emotion and wasn’t thinking much at all. Mr T, who knows her better than most, tracked her down to the local bus station.  Continue reading


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The Archers: Scones Out For the Lads

CG 1I’m calling it: Calendar Girls is the weirdest play Lynda has ever tried to put on. Yes, I do remember the one when she wasn’t sure, right up until opening night, whether Jim would read in English or Latin (you’d think that as the director she’d have needed to know that). And I also recall 2008’s effort, Jack and the Beanstalk, in which Lynda played the rear-end of a cow. I’m sure you’ll have your own examples of the craziest village plays. But there are three key reasons why Calendar Girls is even more bizarre than its predecessors.

  1. Everyone in Ambridge knows the film inside out.

Whenever Lynda approaches someone for a part, the person knows who she is talking about. Even young’uns such as Emma, who are unlikely to have even seen the film on the grounds of implausible demographics, know all the characters’ names. It is JUST NOT POSSIBLE. For one thing, CG has not entered the public consciousness in this way. And secondly, even if it had, the names are not memorable. They are all names like Chris, Annie and Ruth. Names like characters on The Archers, really, and look how long it took us to remember them. I still call Jenny, Chris and David ‘Thingy.’ Calendar Girls is not the Rocky Horror Show. There are no Riff Raffs and Frank N Furters in CG, more’s the pity. (Imagines exciting new mash-up, rings agent, explains idea, agents pretends to lose signal and puts phone down.) Continue reading


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Holby City: How to restore your confidence

digby selfie holby(Series 18, ep.4) I think my favourite moment of Selfie’s entire Holby career came in this episode. The sight of him sitting on a bench with Digby munching popping candy was rather delightful.

As Digby is Selfie’s daughter’s flatmate, it wasn’t so outlandish that they’d both be sharing a little confidence-boosting brains-speak in the Linden Cullen Memorial Shrubbery. They both had something to prove in this episode: Selfie that he was over the shock of being almost blown up by a grenade, and Digby had to show his AAU colleagues that he could cope with his anxiety without resorting to the drugs trolley. Digby’s new drug of choice is the aforementioned popping candy – a trick he learned from Zosia. Apparently the odd sensation it produces is enough to take your mind off any other odd sensations, or something. It’s the food-stuff of the devil, that’s all I know.  Continue reading


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