(Series 18, ep. 11) There was so much packed into this episode – a shocking revelation, atrociously bad carol singing, two Christmas kisses, a proposal, a new job, and Hanssen as Santa. It was absolutely glorious.
The best thing about it was that I realised how many wonderful characters there are in Holby at the moment. Every ward is full of lovely people. I especially love AAU, and would put up with any amount of sick on my shoes if I could be part of Serena’s gang. It looks like they have such fun together (as actors as well as characters). I loved the scene where Serena was auditioning for inter-ward competitive Christmas carols. Morven was amusingly dreadful. Serena dismissed Raf’s offer to solo: “Far too rugged and world-weary,” she said, and he looked rather thrilled. Digby had the right choirboy look, but his voice was no better than Morven’s. Serena sighed and said she was missing Dr Tressler’s dulcet tones.
The storyline on AAU was all about Morven and Digby. I feel that Morven herself would use the phrase “keen as mustard,” and she really is. She has all the skills to be a great doctor, but lacks the life experience of old hands like Fletch as far as difficult patients is concerned. This got her into trouble with a very unpleasant man this week, and Digby did his sometimes misguided best to help her out. The two of them make the most adorable couple, and their funny little kiss at the end was perfect for their characters.
Despite me having been ready to slap Fran for the last two episodes, she once again thoroughly turned things around this week. Carli Norris really has been brilliant in this role. She turned up at the hospital trying to bribe first Hanssen then Selfie with a bottle of alcohol before giving up and downing it herself. Ending up as a patient having taken some stolen prescription drugs still wasn’t enough to get Jac to listen to her, so she hit Jac where it hurts, by taking Emma from the creche and taking her walkies – to the roof.
We finally discovered Fran and Jac’s shared history. They’d both been at the same children’s home, and while Fran was the target of abuse from one of the staff, Jac had avoided it by keeping her head down and her guard up. Fran blamed Jac for not doing something to help her. It was a shocking story, handled beautifully by all concerned, and added another totally plausible piece to the jigsaw of Jac Naylor.
To Keller now, and Sacha was wearing possibly his finest shirt ever. It was so bright and festive he really didn’t need the turkey-shaped Christmas hat to complete the look. When you picture a general surgical consultant, do you picture a cuddly man in a Santa shirt and a turkey hat? This is what we need to start doing, as Sacha finally decided to go for it, went for it, and got it. This was in part thanks to an old acquaintance of his, Hugo (Daniel Flynn) who was one of these competitive, somewhat bullying types. Sacha initially crumbled under the pressure, but when Hugo was found to have inoperable cancer, Sacha’s strengths as a doctor and a person came to the fore and he impressed the interview panel. He celebrated by proposing to Essie.
Romance was a bit in the air, what with Digby and Morven and Sacha and Essie. So what about Oliver and Zosia, who’ve been circling around each other for some time? Well, he did sprint towards her and give her a proper kiss – but afterwards he sprinted away from her just as fast. She looked confused.
I’ve not really mentioned Henrik Hanssen yet, but he was very much in evidence throughout the episode – at one point turning up in a Santa costume after the Santa who’d been booked to dish out presents at the creche failed to turn up. The booked Santa obviously had much shorter arms and legs than the tallest CEO in the NHS, but somehow Hanssen even manages to wear an under-sized cheap Santa suit with panache. But what’s going on in his family life? Why was he looking sadly at a Christmas card depicting his family (it was his family, wasn’t it?). Why did the Christmas card only contain a question mark?
In the final scene, Jac was leaving the hospital with Emma and Gary the dog. She told Hanssen that Jonny would be spending Christmas with them, and invited Hanssen to join them (can you imagine what fun that would be?). He declined. “I think Christmas is for families,” he said, adding rather sadly, “Cherish it while you can.”