Daily Archives: December 20, 2009

Getting ready for Christmas, Casualty-style

Generally I’m not particularly squeamish when I’m watching Casualty or Holby, but there’s one thing I can’t look at, and that’s nosebleeds. There was a pretty spectacular one in this episode, issuing forth from the nostrils of guest artiste Keith Barron. The sub-competent May attempted to treat it, but got things wrong and it was left to cocky Lenny to fix the problem. May thought she’d get a little revenge by telling Lenny that the patient had later died of a massive stroke (he hadn’t), but she reckoned without Lenny deciding it was time to hone his people skills by breaking the news to the patient’s two daughters.  Needless to say, they didn’t take the news well, and were more than a little shocked when daddy was wheeled out of the lift a few minutes later looking fairly perky.

To be fair to May, she confessed to what she’d done, so now she’s on her final warning, and that fellowship place is looking like a lost cause. May has an ace up her sleeve, though, in the form of her own daddy, who works for the hospital trust and is in prime string-pulling position.

Yet another bad week for Ruth. After inviting her brother Jonathan to stay with her, she was looking forward to a nice family Christmas, and gave him some money to buy a tree, turkey and tinsel. Sadly it turns out that he isn’t the reformed character he was making himself out to be, and was found collapsed with a needle sticking between his toes. Later on Ruth got home to find her flat trashed. Lovely Staff Nurse Faldren keeps offering her advice and she keeps snapping at him “What business is it of yours?” It’s his business because he still loves you, foolish girl, and it’s still not too late to have yourself a merry little Christmas after all.

The prospects for Nick Jordan having a merry Christmas look bleak, as we last saw him throwing his Holby City ID card off a very high bridge. This was following the board meeting where Adam was called to explain why he’d gone AWOL to a hip-hop nativity play and apparently left the no-longer licensed to practise Nick Jordan in charge. Nick popped up at the 11th hour and said it had all been his doing, he’d only wanted a chance to prove he could still cut the mustard in A&E, but apparently he can’t as his fine motor skills are no longer as fine as they were. Dr Zoe Hanna tried to persuade him not to commit career suicide, but ever since she saved his life by stealth, Nick hasn’t trusted Dr Zoe. We last saw her doing what she does best – knocking back a row of tequila slammers. At least one person in Holby is determined that she’ll be rat-arsed merry this Christmas.

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Strictly: The hobbit pips the hare to the post

Was that a great surprise? Cute plucky little Chris Hollins and perky pretty Ola Jordan winning the public vote to win the 2009 Strictly Come Dancing? No, of course it wasn’t. They haven’t been in a single dance-off for the whole series. The voting public adore short, happy people. Tall, better looking, confident and naturally more talented people will never be that popular. It’s not about who dances best, which is fine, except the programme has consistently fudged what the criteria is for winning.

Although in fairness, Chris did dance very well in all four of his dances last night. He and Ola did better than Ricky and Natalie in the side-by-side Lindy-hop. Perhaps benefiting from being closer to the ground in a bouncy, hoppy number since ‘bouncy and hoppy’ is what epitomises Chris and Ola. And boy have they practised over the months. Hundreds of hours of hard slog. For that reason, I’m pleased that they won. Without a shadow of a doubt, Chris has improved vastly more than Ricky because he really wasn’t great when he started. Not that Ricky hasn’t improved too, he has, but the fool made it look too easy, and that didn’t endear him to people. Expert after expert tried to tell us how extraordinary his technical achievement has been. ‘Amazing musicality, great finish’. Ricky’s hands-free spinning shoulder lift last night (I’m not using the correct technical term obviously) was ‘incredible’, said Bruno. ‘Takes years to learn’. He might as well have been speaking Finnish. The pain never showed, Ricky was too cool for school. And Natalie didn’t help by being long, lithe, blonde and wearing very little. At one point last night she seemed to be dancing in a swimming costume, inexplicably. I think, deep down, we resent people for being that damn good. Why would we want to reward that?

People saw nice looking but ordinary Chris dancing week after week with pretty Ola and thought ‘I could do that!’ (although I have noticed how much leaner and fitter he has become over the weeks). Ola is married to someone we know and quite like (who sports a silly haircut so is never too cool for any school). Chris has a steady girlfriend we hardly ever see and lives with his mum and dad. He and Ola are sweet but very unsexual, and their sincerely affectionate friendship is in itself fascinating. In what other forum could two heterosexual people kiss, cuddle and become so incredibly intimate and yet we readily believe they are not having sex? I did wonder if Ali and Brian (and Ricky and Natalie?) had to lose for being too bloody obviously happy together on and off screen. Their intimacy beyond the dances may have made viewers feel excluded.

Anyhoo. What I’d like the programme makers to do now is sit down with the judges and decide clearly what the criteria is for winning the glitter ball trophy. If it’s entertainment, fine. Improvement over time? Also fine. Just make sure the way it is judged allows that to happen. Then people will know what they are spending their money on for those phone votes.

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