Casualty: Zoe starts again. And again

max zoe casualty(Series 29, ep.26) Sometimes Casualty departs from its usual straightforward narrative style and does something a bit different. This was one such episode, in which we saw the same day repeated three times, Groundhog Day-style.

Like Groundhog Day, each section opened with an alarm going off, but instead of Sonny and Cher we had ‘No Surprises’ by Radiohead. Frankly that would have been enough to make me want to put my head under the pillow and give up, but Dr Zoe Hanna is not me and, besides, she had Max to wake up next to, and his smile would be an antidote even for Thom Yorke-induced gloom.  Continue reading

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The Joy of Sets: Stella

ruth jones stella(Guest post by Grace C)

I recently made a trip to London to visit a childhood friend of mine. With both of us having moved on to concrete pastures away from our green-belted Scottish haven, it was inevitable that we would end up with a bottle of wine reminiscing long into the night. It’s fair to say that one of the most common causes of our laugher were discussions around the particular oddball characters or town quirks that formed the backdrop of our youth. Like a homemade patchwork quilt, we all have our distinctive squares coloured by different accents, houses or backgrounds, but the feel of it is the same. It provides a familiar comfort, even if at times it can be a little itchy or smothering.

Relating to the nostalgic intimacy of a tight-knit, eccentric community isn’t what drew me to Stella (it was the presence of the talented Ben Glover on the soundtrack that did that), but it is a main part of what got me hooked. It wasn’t a shock that such a vivid and relatable character-led comedy drama would come from Ruth Jones; the whirlwind success of Gavin and Stacey proved she is Queen of the small-town caricature, but there is something about the extra grit and emotion alongside this that gives Stella its own identity. Before the end of the first episode you already feel an attachment to the characters, both those who are there purely as eclectic village furniture and also those who fulfil the more dimensional roles.  Continue reading


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Holby City: Picking up the mantle of Michael Spence

harry raf holby(Series 17, ep.24) I haven’t blogged for a couple of weeks, during which time Jonny Mac has been incarcerated, Jac has been reunited with Emma and Dr Harry Posh has been starring in his own version of The Phantom of the Opera while Dr Raf Smug works out how to use his new 3D printer. Or something.

raf holby“Make me pretty again,” Harry said to Raf at the start of this episode, and Raf was all set to do just that, having studied the Tressler face more closely than even the most besotted fangirl clutching a signed copy of a Blake CD. Then Raf’s brother, Thug Smug, turned up with the news that their mutual mother, Mama Smug, had passed away. As always with a McAndrew/Hope episode, the writing was spot on. Serena telling Raf about her trip to Paris when she found herself sobbing about Adrienne in front of a Chateaubriand and a nice Bordeaux was a lovely scene and it was nice that Serena could support Raf as he’d supported her.  Continue reading


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Holby City. Jonny be good

Screen Shot 2015-03-11 at 20.45.41
Sadly, due to sad family circumstances, Sue ‘Queen of Holby’ Haasler is unable to blog this week, so I’ll be providing a brief stand-in post for my lovely friend.

Look, I’ll admit. I watch Holby every week, and I’m a devoted fan of Sue’s blog, but I’m counting down the days until Henrik Hanssen is back in the captain’s chair on the bridge, or wherever the person in charge of this hospital keeps everything running smoothly. Selfie is a vain, inept twonk, and I don’t like it when there are staffing shortages and confusion over shift patterns, however fictional. Jonny can be irksome at times, but it’s preposterous that he should be on remand awaiting trail for murder. Great that it transpires at the end of the episode that Jac is paying for a high-class defence team for him (as well as supporting Elliott’s Kibo development. She must have a hell of a salary), but I’m not sure why he couldn’t get bail, neither do I understand why he has no memory of explaining how to change the battery of the ‘Kibo’ to the memory-deficient partner of the patient who died. Continue reading


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The Archers: Oh dear. They’ve all fallen down that disused mineshaft

bowmansWhen listening to the Archers, the spirit of Tony Hancock’s masterful parody, The Bowmans, is never far away. In the famous final scene, Old Ben Merriweather (Hancock), sees ‘half the village’ coming across the fields.

Tony: ‘Dang me, they shouldn’t be walking across that field.’
Actor: ‘Why not?’
The rest of the cast cry out in unison. This is followed by silence.
Tony [flat]: ‘Oh dear, what a shame. They’ve all fallen down that disused mineshaft.’

Naturally my first thought, on listening to the Great Flood sweep across Ambridge, was that at long last, our Old Ben Merriweather moment had come! This was a marvellous once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get rid of all the dead wood, in one fell swoop. I felt sure that the scriptwriters had finally seen sense, goaded by a million whinging listeners (including me), and that the following tragic scenarios would now play out: Continue reading


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Waterloo Road: Leo and Sonya let the school down

leo waterloo road(Series 10, ep.19) The penultimate episode, and a few plot strands were resolved. Justin was permanently excluded for cyber-bullying Bonnie, but a bit of detective work from Kenzie soon uncovered the real culprit to be mild-mannered younger Fitzgerald brother Leo. Oh, Leo. That’s no way to impress people.  Continue reading

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Critical: Where’s Lorraine?

critical claire skinner(Series 1, ep.1) Critical is Sky 1’s new super-realistic medical drama. “It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen,” according to the Sky website.

I’ve just watched the first episode, and so far it’s like a few things I’ve seen, and most of them sci fi rather than medical drama. Critical is set in a “state of the art” trauma unit, which is all sparkly white (with pale blue hints) so the blood shows up that much better. There’s masses of space, with a massive resus room that manages to house about thirty people, most of them standing round counting. It looks more like the medical facility on board Prometheus than the average A&E.  Continue reading


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