Poldark: Aunt Agatha brings it

imageBurly miner struts across the Cornish cliff, rippling his muscles. ‘I’ve a message from Trenwith. Where’s Poldark…?’
‘He’s behind youuuuuu….!’

Sorry, I thought we’d got lost in panto-land for a minute. I’ve watched both the previous series and it seems they’re certainly ratcheting up the ham-factor this time round if the opening episode was anything to go by. Perhaps this is inevitable after the first couple of series – Downtown Abbey certainly suffered the same fate.

Maybe it’s the new telly I got last year, but the colours seem to be set permanently to one of those especially lurid filters, such as Lark or Juno, that you find on Instagram. Our three central heroines – Demelza, Elizabeth and Caroline look like Charlie’s Angels in olde worldy frocks or maybe a Timotei ad, so lustrous are their floating manes and improbably perfect white teeth and flawless complexions.

There was much consternation in the nation that Ross, Every-Woman’s eye-candy (hashtag #hotstuff), didn’t flash his torso in Episode One. Normal service was swiftly resumed in Episode Two, with Demelza’s brothers also plunging obligingly bare-chested into the sea for good measure.

No, Episode One was about LAYING ON THE DRAMA.  Continue reading

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Holby City: When a pocket is a loaded gun

jasmine holby(Series 19, ep. 37 ‘For You May Be the Next to Die…‘ by Patrick Homes) The hour started with an unsettling, dreamlike scene of young Fran and young Jac, presumably in the terrible care home they lived in when they were kids. We saw Fran – geeky and awkward-looking – going to Jac (who was uncannily, recognisably Jac) for comfort. A horrible song full of nasty death imagery played over it.

Then, in the apparent safety of Holby, there was Jasmine, singing the same song to herself. It was one of Paula Burrows’ favourites, apparently. Even if we’d never heard of Paula before, I think we’d have quite a clue about her personality just from that detail. Morven thought the song was horrible, but Morven is still too close to losing Arthur for death to be an abstract notion to her. To Jasmine, a naturally optimistic, full-of-life person,  it was just a catchy tune.  Continue reading

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Holby City: MoT – passed with flying colours

(Series 19, ep. 36 ‘For the Love of Maureen’ by Joe Ainsworth 13.6.17) The end of the episode saw Mo, Mr T and Hector drive off into the Holby sunset in Mo’s funny little pink car. It was a lovely happy-ever-after for them, and the whole episode was a beautiful send-off for Mo, who ever since her first heavily-pregnant appearance has been a wonderful warm, funny, feisty character. She got to say goodbye to all her Holby family in touching little one-to-one scenes and a funny party scene at the end. Chizzy Akudolu said on Twitter that her tears in her scene with Sacha were real, and there was genuine emotion also in a scene with Ric and a wonderful one with Jac, where Jac paid tribute to Mo as a black working class woman in a posh white man’s world. It’s not often you hear Jac Naylor’s voice break up, but it did at the end of that speech.  Continue reading

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Holby City: This time last year

(Series 19, ep. 35 ‘The Hard Way Home’ by Martin Jameson and Nick Fisher) Has it really been a year already? On this very day in 2016, Holby and the world lost Arthur Digby, husband, friend, doctor and all-round lovely man. The repercussions of that have lasted ever since, especially among those closest to him – Morven, Zosia and Dominic. Morven’s reactions have been more straightforward, and on the anniversary of his death we found her trying to work up the courage to face a memorial get-together, and sobbing her heart out on the stairs.

Dominic has had a torrid time of it in the last twelve months. After losing his best friend, he found himself in an abusive relationship with Isaac. His self esteem at an all-time low, he’s recently been taking to the gym like a man possessed and throwing back steroids. This has made him all angry and shouty, and this culminated in him getting rather nasty with Sacha in theatre. It reminded me of when Oliver Valentine turned on Elliot Hope after Tara’s death, because Sacha, like Elliot, is a delightful human being and beloved mentor, but also like Elliot he has his vulnerabilities and in some ways lays himself open to attack. Sacha doesn’t get cross very often, but I rather like it when he does, and he did.  Continue reading

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The Archers: Why are we meant to care where Pip lives?

BoxesGah, script-writers! What is going on?? I know it’s not the first time I’ve said that to you, and doubtless won’t be the last. But look here, Pip has had three addresses in as many weeks, and I just know that there won’t be a decent pay-off. If the only reason you’ve dragged us through her boring house moves is so that the following scene will play out in an episode several years in the future, I will be quite aggrieved.

Pip: Oh no, this official form will to take ages to fill in [sound-effect of pen being hurled onto the desk].
Toby/Rex/Tom [it’ll be one of these three who wins the dubious Pip prize in the end, mark my words]: Why’s that, Pip?
Pip: It asks for all my addresses in the last five years! Do you remember that time after we/me and Toby split [delete as applicable] and I left Rickyard and went back home, then ended up slumming it at Lower Loxley?
T/R/T: Oh yes, that’s right. Fancy a coffee?
Pip: Go on then. [Sighs, sound-effect of pen being picked up.] I’d better get on with this.
Brian [entering randomly]: I say Pip, you look awfully glamorous considering you’re just filling in a form.*

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Holby City: Oh Hec!

(Series 19, ep. 34 ‘Twist of the Knife’ by Jon Sen) Of course we know that Mo wouldn’t ever harm her baby. She’s a doctor, for one thing, and she’s Mo, for another thing. Mo just wouldn’t do anything like that. And yet she almost persuaded herself that she could have hurt him, and she did it so well that she almost persuaded me. Mr T was already thinking she might have (and that’s what got Mo to doubting herself in the first place).  Continue reading

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Holby City: We’ll always have Radiohead

(Series 19, ep. 33 ‘Enigma’ by Peter Mattessi) It’s a rare staff member who doesn’t get surprised at the hospital by their secret past turning up at some time or another. Just look at Ric Griffin – and we will look at him a little later, the naughty man.

Lofty got his ‘secret past surprise’ very early in his Keller career, considering he only started last week. When a new patient, Lenny, arrived on the wards there were some meaningful looks exchanged between him and Lofty from the outset. They were “family friends” they said, but this hid a more complicated truth. Eventually Lofty admitted that he’d been engaged to Lenny’s sister, Alice, but jilted her at the altar. No wonder Lenny seemed angry. In fact, Lenny seemed very angry indeed. I really liked this character – he was a bit of a bad boy, an ex drug user, the kind of person who’ll break the rules to have a cigarette in the staff room, but loyal and in his way very charming. His sister, when she turned up, was also lovely and you could see why Lofty had been attracted to her. But the real attraction was Lenny. They’d had a little Moment at a Radiohead concert and it was enough to convince Lofty that he had no business getting married to Alice. He really loved her, but not the way he loved Lenny.  Continue reading

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