(Series 18, ep. 10) Carli Norris must be a brilliant actor. Fran Reynolds started her Holby life as a fun-loving, funny, caring person (I think I described her as “relatable”), friend of Essie, amusing thorn in Sacha’s side, always available for a bit of plain-speaking relationship advice whether it was asked for or not. And in the last couple of episodes I don’t think there’s been a character I’ve wanted to slap more – at least not since Sahira Shah left. To be so believable in both roles (as the same person) takes skill.
Character-wise, I suppose Fran’s fondness for Selfie should have rung alarm bells, but otherwise there was nothing to suggest that the mere sight of Jac Naylor would have her turning to the dark side so thoroughly. There’s obviously something behind it – there’s history between the two of them, which Jac is unaware of and which looks like becoming clear in the next episode.
This week saw her escalate her apparent vendetta against Jac, with that old chestnut of mortality figures. We’ve seen before with Prof Elliot Hope, and Zoe Hanna on Casualty, that the best doctors always seem to have more patients dying on them. This gets folk ruffled until they realise it’s because those doctors are the ones brave enough and skilful enough to take on the sickest patients. Fran showed these figures to the sister of a patient who was pencilled in to have a frozen elephant trunk inserted in her (it wasn’t made of elephant). She also spent much of the episode chasing Henrik Hanssen around corridors. He really should have swatted her back to her ward (actually a different ward – it was clear she wasn’t a very good fit for Darwin), but then he mightn’t have been present when Jac rather brilliantly took things up a notch and goaded Fran into hitting her. Smacking a consultant is the surest way to have you escorted off the premises by two non-speaking extras. Fran’s last hope was that Selfie would save her – or at least buy her a glass of wine and some artisan crisps at Albie’s – but he wasted no time in clearing off, leaving her bleating, “Guy! Guy!”
Fran wasn’t the only one having a bad day, and while I’m in slapping mode I could possibly slap whoever decided that Dominic wasn’t entitled to just one more week of happiness with Lee. I know Dominic’s “happiness” was keeping Digby awake at night, but still… Lee has only gone and emptied Dominic’s bank account and cleared out almost everything in their flat, including Digby’s grandfather’s medals and Dominic’s mum’s running away money, which was stuffed in a teddy bear. Possibly it’s been a character-building experience for Dominic, who finished his shift and then went back to check on a rather wonderful shoplifter patient he’d been looking after. I can’t help thinking that being in love was a character-building experience for him as well, though. Bless him.
And God bless AAU, every one. The majority of them – Fletch and the Fletchlings, Raf, Cara, a random patient and probably the non-speaking extra who spends his time checking drip bags – are all going to be spending Christmas at Serena’s. She’s been whizzing around Waitrose buying up all their Christmas goodies, only to be let down by daughter Eleanor who prefers to Christmas elsewhere. Gazing around her domain, Serena realised that most (all) of her staff have had a traumatic year, what with one thing and another, so everyone is going round to Campbell Towers on the Big Day to help her with a crate of Shiraz (or a soft drink for the Fletchlings) and Downton Abbey.
Digby and Morven will have to make their own arrangements – but more of them in next week’s episode. And a whole lot more of Fran v Jac.