Monthly Archives: September 2009

Holby City: Joseph fails to punch Linden… again

holby-josephYou have to admire Joseph Byrne’s restraint (apart from when it comes to having drunk one night stands with Jac). A less Zen sort of man would have punched Linden’s lights out several times over for canoodling with Faye on the day she became Mrs Byrne. Instead, in tonight’s episode Faye’s disabled son Archie had a medical crisis, which only served to make Joseph more devoted to her. We left them keeping vigil by the boy’s bedside, a sleeping Faye encircled by Joseph’s protective arm. Oh lucky Patsy  Kensit.

Elsewhere, Maria was given a grim choice between a life in a wheelchair or an operation that could either make her walk again or kill her. She opted for the surgery. Next week her life will be in Ric Griffin’s hands once again. Let’s hope he’s not too distracted by the news (via Dr Penny Valentine) that it was Jac who went to the press about the abysmal failure of his zero tolerance policy. Expect all kinds of sh** to hit hospital fans next week.

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Casualty: I’m traumatised!

michael-frenchSaturday’s episode of Casualty was traumatic. Yes, I know trauma is what Casualty is all about, and I should have been prepared.

It’s worse when it’s one of the regular cast members who’s suffering,  but it’s not like it doesn’t happen regularly. We’ve only just had one of the new F2′s falling down a burning shaft. We’ve had Tess impaled on a spike, Alice beaten up by girly thugs, Curtis plummeting from the roof. The list of Casualty casualties is endless.

But watching Nick Jordan suffering with brain cancer has just been gut-wrenching. It’s because he used to be so uber-competent, arrogant and slick. He never had a hair out of place or a wonky tie in his professional life. It’s not easy to watch a man like that in a pool of his own vomit. Sunetra Sarker as Zoe was brilliant – trying to keep Nick alive by the sheer force of her own will. Which is why the ending was so harrowing. Having survived the operation that Zoe had been so desperate for him to have, Nick was left howling in pain, with vision that made everybody look like the aliens in Close Encounters. In desperation, he asked Zoe to kill him.

And there the episode ended. And I remembered to start breathing again.

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Lustbox: Ami James/Miami Ink

ami-jamesOne day I walked into the room and Pauseliveaction Junior was watching an American show where some scuzzy-looking types were tattooing people. I was alarmed – was this fit viewing for a pre-teen?

The show was Miami Ink, and it turns out that it is appropriate viewing, and it’s brilliant. It’s particularly brilliant if you like very tattooed men, which I do. The narrator and owner of the tattoo shop in which it’s set is shaven-headed former Israeli army officer Ami James – and what a lovely man he is (and v-e-r-y easy on the eye). The programme benefits richly from the regular shots of him topless. It’s so we can admire the artwork, of course, but the canvas is pretty darn nice as well.

On Miami Ink we don’t just see the tattoo artists at work (and they are artists, all of them absolute geniuses at what they do), we hear the reasons their clients want a tattoo, what it will mean to them and why they choose a particular design. For some it’s just that they like having illustrated skin, but for many the tattoo will be a memorial for someone they’ve lost, or a celebration, or a way of marking a life transition.

It’s not just tattooing, it’s flirt therapy as well. Ami James could (and probably does) flirt for Florida, in the way only a man who looks like he could kill you with his bare hands but is as gentle as a lamb can do.

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Strictly: More bitch slapping, less back slapping

fwOne irksome thing about programmes like Strictly Come Dancing is that you are  forced to face reality -characters you adore from TV series are actors. Pah. Dull dull dull. I have no interest in hearing anything that contradicts my happy fantasy world. I don’t want to know that the fabulously evil, scheming Tanya Turner in Footballers’ Wives is Zoe Lucker. And when she’s competing against arch FW’s rival, Amber Gates on the dance floor, I don’t really want to know that it’s really actress ‘Laila Rouass’ and that they like each other. I want an unseemly Dynasty-like cat fight with hair extensions being ripped off, glittery eyeshadow being smeared and sequins hitting Brucie in the eye. All this ‘good sport’ nonsense is so disappointing.

But anyway, it was ‘Ding Ding, Round Two’ for Strictly, and the second lot of celebs got wheeled out. In the case of jockey, Richard Dunwoody, he danced like he was on wheels, bless him. Tuffers was smooth but with an appropriate touch of the louche, looking like he still had a fag tucked behind his ear. Ricky Whittle was too good and knew it, so I don’t like him so much. We all wanted Jo Wood to do well, and she looked like a gorgeously mature version of Calamity Jane, but sadly she was no Doris Day in the fancy dancing stakes.

CKEver since Queer as Folk, I have loved Craig Kelly, but as with Jo Wood, the lovely boy looked like could have done with a big fat spliff to loosen him up a bit. But I hope popularity with the public will mean both of them manage to stay in for a while.

And über-Strictly fan Natalie Cassidy from East Enders? She did fine, and her dress was beautiful, but I’m not entirely sure how I feel about her yet. I’m not sure if I’m mentally up to allowing her to step out of  Walford.

I know that the viewers who are devoted to dance and know their stuff still hate Alesha as a judge, but she seems ok to me, so there.

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Holby City: Connie’s dream job

amanda-mealing-holbyConnie Beauchamp made no secret of the fact that she wanted to be Director of Surgery at Holby. A while ago I thought she’d cracked it, but that’s the thing with Holby – if you take your eye off the political machinations for a minute, you can easily get confused.

So Michael Spence (who gets his trousers from the 1970s) is currently Director of Surgery. Connie pouted about this for about five seconds, and then carried on with her ambitious schemings as if nothing had happened. And this week, following some deft manipulation of the aforementioned Michael Spence, Connie was crowned – wait for it – Director of Robotics. Has there ever been a more apt job title in the history of the world? It conjures up visions of Connie at the head of an army of steely-eyed surgical androids (no, I don’t mean Jac). “I always get what I want,” she told Spence, in that voice she has that’s like a hypodermic syringe dipped in honey.

Elsewhere on Holby lovely ginger nurse Maria is recuperating but still can’t feel her legs. Donna forced her to cheer up and go and sit by the bedside of a girl with cancer. Chrissie told her dad that she is pregnant with the child of Dr Valentine, who wasn’t yet born when Chrissie took her driving test. Her dad, who is very wise because he used to be Jesus, told her to tell Young Dr Valentine, but she didn’t get the chance because it was his boy scouts night. And Joseph was having a few days off to get his head together. Coincidentally, Linden was also off sick. I wonder if they were resolving their issues online via World of Warcraft?

Latest Holby posts here

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Casualty: Psychedelic counselling

casualtyIt’s not been an easy start for the latest batch of newbies on Casualty, but they should have known that it never is. Typically you will get in a slanging match on your first day by parking in an ambulance bay, and/or you will kill someone on your first shift.

For these three (from left to right, the cocky Scottish one with parental abandonment issues, the underconfident pretty one and the borderline autistic super-smart one with a crush on the pretty one) it was an extremely stressful first day when their fellow F2 was killed in the line of duty by falling down a burning shaft. In the olden days, Duffy would have given them a firm-yet-fair talking to and Oscar winner Brenda Fricker would have made them a nice cup of tea, and all would be well. But this is 2009, so they were sent to the staff counsellor – you remember him, the one Toby accused of sexually harassing him. Toby fans will have been delighted to see the man himself, now a GP and “the man who changes the lightbulbs” for the counsellor. I’ve never heard it called that before, I have to say.

The scenes in the shrink’s office were filmed with an odd lens that put fuzzy edges around everybody. Arty! Perhaps it was meant to convey the inner turmoil of the confuzzled characters as each of them struggled with a stereotypical medical student demon. Eventually they were threatened with a pep talk from Charlie, but possibly the most upcheering thing was when the pretty underconfident one (I will learn her name eventually) pulled back a cubicle curtain to reveal Dr Ruth Winters locking lips with lovely Staff Nurse Faldren. If a tortured soul like Ruth can put her problems behind her and get frivolous in work time, there’s hope for us all.

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Raven: Ruffled Feathers

raven_water_800I’ve had ravens on the brain of late. I’m pleased that my son has returned to watching Raven on CBBC, because there aren’t many children’s programmes where mothers can legitimately enjoy a man striding about dramatically in black leather spouting nonsense about ‘The Way of the Warrior’. Yes of course it’s overacting to an absurd degree, but somehow James Mackenzie manages to do it without looking like an arse. 

merlinThe second raven has come about via the welcome return of a new series of Merlin on BBC1 Saturday evenings. Both Harry Potter and Agatha Christie films feature a roll call of Great British Actors that frankly become intrusive and irritating. You can’t escape into a film where you’re star-spotting. But Merlin seems to feature some really good actors (Anthony Head as Uther Pendragon, Richard Wilson as Gaius and the voice of John Hurt as the Great Dragon) without making a fuss about it.

Mackenzie Crook was in episode one, playing a petty thief whose body gets taken over by the spirit of Cornelius Sigan. He is an evil sorcerer whose symbol is a raven. What it is about these birds?

I kept expecting Crook to take his eye out a la Pirates of the Caribbean, but other than that, he plays Evil incarnate blindingly well and facial hair rather suits him. I also like the fact that the main actors in Merlin (Colin Morgan as Merlin, Bradley James as Arthur, Angel Coulby as Guinevere) are young, unknown and rather cute.  But best of all, I like a Saturday evening programme that we all watch as a family, clutching cushions en masse to our faces during the scary bits.

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Doc Marten: Bad (bedside) Manners

clunes 2I’ve got a secret thing for Martin Clunes, but only when he’s playing the grumpy medic in Doc Martin (back for series 3 on ITV1). It’s like that nice Hugh Laurie in House all over.

Can’t quite understand what makes a grumpy, misanthropic yet genius doctor so appealing. Must be the genius part. I actually also used to quite fancy Connie in Holby, and she was arrogant too.

It’s a bit Mills and Boon too. Getting the attention of someone committed to their job takes some doing, so you get a huge sense of achievement. But it won’t last. In Mills and Boon, you never see the nightmare aftermath of trying to share the chores with a self-absorbed, brooding type. Do they ever notice the loo roll needs changing? Do they hell. And Martin Clunes isn’t even particularly good looking, well not in a Mills and Boon sense anyway. Not with those ears. But he’s smart, dry, funny and always right, in a medical sense.

At the end of the first episode, Louisa, his ultra-nice primary school teacher ex-fiancee returned very much up-the-duff. Good luck with that love. I wouldn’t bank on him changing any nappies soon.

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Coronation Street: It’s Tyrone I feel sorry for

coronation-street-molly-kevFans of Michael Le Vell’s hairy chest (are there any? Probably, because it takes all sorts) will be in seventh heaven currently, as the hunky mechanic has been displaying his torso toupee fairly regularly. He’s having what the tabloids are no doubt referring to as a “steamy affair” with Molly Dobbs, purveyor of over-priced produce at Dev’s corner shop, and wife of Kev’s business partner Tyrone.

And it’s Tyrone I feel sorry for. He might be a bit dim, but his heart’s in the right place (and he could probably thrash Kirk in a pub quiz. Damned by faint praise, I know). He may be a bit boring and a bit thoughtless as a husband – but just look at his little face! He looks like a marsupial in overalls! How could you even think of hurting him, Molly you tramp?

On the subject of tramps, reformed prostitute Leanne and reformed alcoholic Peter Barlow are back together again in Weatherfield’s own version of Leaving Las Vegas. It’s all so flapping romantic it hurts.

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Derren Brown fails to stick me to my seat

derren-brownAfter last week’s lottery-predicting stunt (which still has people arguing about how he did it), this week’s Derren Brown show promised that the nation would be quite literally glued to our seats in a feat of subliminal suggestion.

Anyone who’s read Derren’s (brilliant, highly recommended) book will know all about the techniques that he used last night, and it had nothing to do with subliminal effects: the “film” we were asked to watch was a sideshow. The method is explained in  the chapter about hypnotism, and it’s all to do with suggestion and reinforcement. He asks you to notice all the points where your body is in contact with the seat, and then those bits will feel heavy. Add in a bit of muscle stiffness (keeping your head in a particular position, making sure your feet were flat on the floor), a bit of flattery (only the very talented would be able to do this) and a bit of fear (keep your phone nearby), and the scene is all set.

So doubtless this one worked on a few suggestible people. Not on me, though, partly because the cat was digging her claws in me, which did my concentration no good, but partly because I’d read the book and knew what he was up to. As I also knew the lady in Hamleys was going to choose a giraffe – did anyone fail to notice the amount of giraffe patterns around that shop?

Subliminal suggestion was working on another level, though – Pauseliveaction Junior is now demanding a trip to Hamleys at the earliest opportunity.

There. I got through all of that without any crude references to Adam Lambert being able to stick me to my seat where Derren failed. I’m so proud of myself.

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