Holby City: Her name was Dr Lo

(Series 19, ep. 45 ‘Calm Before the Storm’ by Katie Douglas 15.8.17) In a nutshell: Sacha found God, Nina and Matteo found each other and Selfie found Ollie’s Achilles’ heel. It doesn’t sound like a lot to fill an hour of TV, but I was gripped throughout. The hour just flew by.

Guy Self really is a brilliant baddie, and I think he’s even better this time around than he was during his first stint, because now we know what a complicated personality he really is. He’s no cartoon villain, there’s a vulnerability there which at the moment he is reigning in tightly as he reverts to his default setting of Manipulative and Devious – though would the old Selfie have become quite so flustered during surgery?  Continue reading

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Holby City: You can’t take the military out of the girl

(Series 19, ep. 44 ‘Go Ugly Early’ by Nick Fisher 8.8.17) So that’s the end of the Trauma Unit. The little room with the plastic flaps instead of doors, that has been the site of so much pioneering traumatic excellence over the months, is now a little empty room, the flaps flapping plastically in the breeze of trolleys whizzing by. Most importantly, the Trauma Unit was the queendom of the utterly marvellous Berenice Wolfe, and her queendom is now gone and so is Bernie.  Continue reading

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Holby City: Guy Self is back in the building

(Series 19, ep. 43 ‘The Evolution of Woman’ by Simon Norman 1.8.17) Nina has been Queen of Medicine (or whatever her job is) for all of five minutes, and she’s already circumvented the mythical HR department and the CEO by bringing a familiar face back to Holby. “Guy Self, darkening my doorstep,” muttered Hanssen, nicely marking his own territory with that use of “my doorstep.”

It seems that Nina and Selfie have History, and it’s something to do with Berlin. Whatever it is, I think Nina has the upper hand at the moment, or she thinks she does. That’s the thing with Selfie, you’re never quite sure where you are with him.  Continue reading

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Casualty: You had one shot

(Series 31, ep. 44 ‘One’ by Paul Unwin) The word that was going through my mind as I watched this one-shot, real-time episode of Casualty was “choreography.” The way the camera moved fluidly around the different parts of the set, at one point even being lowered from the first floor down to the ground and then moving seamlessly on, was nothing short of incredible. Actors would walk into shot, deliver their lines and then the camera would be following somebody else, taking up some other part of the story. Apparently the crew were all in costume in case they happened to appear in any shot, but if they did I certainly didn’t notice them – everyone in the background seemed to be doing the usual doctor-stuff, nurse-stuff and patient-stuff, as always. I didn’t see a mis-step or a thing out of place.

The whole thing had been brilliantly thought out by the writer, Paul Unwin, and the director, Jon Sen, so that the episode had dynamics and pace. The actors all made it look easy, and it was testament to them that after a while I started to forget the “one-shot” aspect of it and got swept into the story. I actually felt a bit emotional by the end, with Jez’s scene with the father of the baby who died in the fire, and then with Duffy’s voice-over. I know that last bit was a tad cheesy, but if such a special episode couldn’t be used as a love letter to the NHS it would have been a missed opportunity.

See the behind-the-scenes video here

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Holby City: Not your average WAG

(Series 19, ep. 42 ‘Baggage’ by Patrick Homes 25.7.17) Since Donna’s return there’s been a bit of mystery surrounding her. Why isn’t she relishing her WAG status and swanning about getting spa treatments and buying over-priced luxury goods for her swanky mansion, rather than mopping up pee, pus and sick in AAU? Why does she look sad when she thinks nobody is looking? And why has her credit card been declined?

We discovered the answers to all these questions when her niece/adopted daughter Mia (Briana Shann) turned up at Holby. One thing I especially loved was that Hanssen remembered Mia. I remember them having a sweet little scene together when he found her alone in the corridor in her first incarnation. Hanssen also very sweetly paid Donna’s bill when Pulses declined her credit card. He was very busy being Enigmatic and Delightful all over the hospital this week.  Continue reading

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Casualty: The one before the one-shot

(Series 31, ep. 43 ‘Somewhere Between Silences Part 2’ by Jeff Povey) Okay Casualty, you’ve lured me back with your gimmicky promise of an exciting “one shot” episode next week. Which means I needed a bit of context. You can’t just turn up cold for a one-shot, you know.

First thing to say about this week’s episode is – George Rainsford. Blimey. Acting on a Shakespearean level there, all suppressed grief and rage and ethical conflict. Pitched against this was the dwindling family of racist thugs, the Ellissons. Papa Ellisson has expired previously. One of his sons (the nasty one, Scott) spent this week’s episode in a “will he ever walk again?” situation after falling from the Casualty mezzanine, which should surely have had some kind of mesh fitted after lovely nurse Sam Colloby tumbled off it years ago. The good news (for Scott) was there was no reason why he wouldn’t walk again, but the bad news (for Scott) was that now he almost certainly won’t walk again, because he’s dead.  Continue reading

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Holby City: Life lessons learned

(Series 19, ep. 41 ‘Going the Distance’ by Chris Murray 18.7.17) Essie is a mass of thwarted maternal instinct, isn’t she? She’s currently directing it all at Parker (whom she inherited from a former patient). He’s a perfectly nice lad, but Essie is constantly worrying that she’s not looking after him properly, or he’s going off the rails or whatever. A template for mother/son perfection presented itself this week in the form of patient Roma (Maria Miles) and her utterly devoted son Lewis (Jack Kane). Essie wished that she and Parker could have such a bond, but actually Roma and Lewis were teetering along that fine line where devotion can become harmful for one or both parties. Roma realised that and made some changes, and Essie realised, with the help of Raf, that she needs to relax about Parker a bit. I bet she won’t, though.  Continue reading

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