Holby City: Incurable romantic

digby holby(Series 18, ep. 31) Holby City was trending on Twitter last night, as viewers up and down the country blinked away their tears to share their thoughts about what was a brilliant episode.

It wasn’t an episode I’d been looking forward to. I avoid serious spoilers (the detailed ones that almost make watching the programme pointless), but it was obvious from all the hints that things were not going to go well for Digby – even if you factor in that he got married to a gorgeous woman who makes him very happy.

I’ve always loved Digby since he first appeared. One of the most brilliant medical students of his year, he also had to cope with a lack of social skills and general anxiety (as well as a nasty  car crash, a mugging and being pounced on by Zosia). At the same time, he has such a beautiful smile and is obviously such a nice person that you’re always on his side. He’s quirky and funny and he has a backpack with horses on it. He’s adorable. His colleagues think so, too, and his relationships with Chantelle, Zosia, Morven, Sacha and especially Dominic have been precious to behold. 

So for a character like that to get cancer that spreads and becomes fatal – that’s hard to watch. For it to happen when he’s just fallen in love is even harder.

digby sacha holbyFull credit to everyone involved in this episode. Rob Ostlere was heartbreaking – I think everyone watching would have wanted to give Digby a hug, and the scene where Sacha did just that had me in bits. Morven was a beautiful bride and was trying to be strong, as was Dominic, whose facial expression often says more than a thousand words could.

The big drama was nicely balanced with some stress-relieving humour, with writer Joe Ainsworth giving Serena, Bernie and Fletch some comedy gold in the form of a man with a bath tap up his bum (cue lots of “He’s feeling hot and cold” type jokes).

serena bernie holbySerena seemed to have thawed towards Bernie a little bit after last week, which was good to see, because they make a great double act (and there are already ‘Berena’ fans out there hoping for more). Sadly Serena has been suspended, after carelessly leaving her laptop in her car. The car was stolen, and thousands of patient records have made their way on to the internet, which is a PR nightmare for Hanssen. It was good to see that, even in the midst of a PR nightmare he can still take the time to sit at a table and eat a hard boiled egg very nicely. It’s also exciting to learn that Holby has its own ‘IT boffins.’ I remember when all the computers in the ED went down because of a corrupted USB stick, and it was left to Max the porter to sort it out. No sign of an IT boffin when one was really needed.

mo mr t holbyAll of this would have been enough for most hours of top quality continuing drama (speaking of which – that BAFTA should have gone to Holby). But there was another, huge, part to the story. The Mo and Mr T ‘will they/won’t they’ relationship that has been rumbling on for literally years moved on in a massive way yesterday. The episode started with Mo waking up in Mr T’s bed (I’m guessing it was his bed because of the duvet cover. I can’t imagine zoo animals being Mo’s thing). It seemed their relationship had finally ‘moved to the next level.’ A nation threw its collective hat in the air and shouted ‘Hurrah!’ As did Mr T. Mo, however, seemed less keen. Mr T had been offered a job in Gothenburg, and he was about to leave. Sleeping with him, it seemed, was Mo’s idea of a goodbye present and seemed like a good idea at the (slightly drunken) time.

mr t mo holbyNormally I’d have been wondering what she was thinking, loving him and leaving him like that. The fool! But I have to admit that, for the first time ever, I found Mr T a bit annoying in this episode. He was just so full-on and more or less had the wedding speech written and the little Effanga-Thompsons registered at good schools. I could understand why Mo would have second thoughts. Though I did laugh out loud when he gave a random man in a wheelchair a high-five. On the other hand, for 99% of the time, Mr T has been a complete darling, so I wasn’t that surprised when Mo had third thoughts and realised she’d hurt a very good man very badly.

When Jac appeared briefly in her motorbike gear and suggested a dash to the airport, I thought she was going to offer Mo a lift like she did for Sacha when he dashed to catch up with Chrissie (but look how that turned out). She didn’t, and maybe that would have been the difference between getting to Stansted in time and not. We’ll never know. Mo missed her chance – though as Jac pointed out, there’s always the phone.

So much going on, then, and all top quality, unmissable stuff. Like I said – that BAFTA should have gone to Holby.

8 Comments

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8 responses to “Holby City: Incurable romantic

  1. all hospitals have IT boffins as you call it but they are available only 9 to 5 pm.
    I am a doctor working in the NHS and love reading your reviews.

    • Thank you Anusha. “IT boffins” was the term that either Serena or Hanssen used in the episode. I thought as far as Holby was concerned they might be as mythical as their HR department!

  2. Jenny

    Too right it should have gone to Holby……what WHERE they thinking??
    Rob Ostlere deserves an award all of his own, he was absolutely brilliant.

  3. EjectionFraction

    Not sure what a suspension and enquiry will achieve – seems a little heavy handed for Serena’s unfortunate oversight. I’m glad I’m not the only one who found Mr T a little irritating and full on. Reminiscent of his exuberance in the episode where he bought a babygrow/googled schools ahead of Mo’s (negative) pregancy test result. Oh Digby…

  4. Mr Donnelly

    Coming as it did just after EastEnders in which Peggy was given bad news about her cancer, it was a tragic evening in BBC1 drama.

  5. Sirena

    Okay I cried for the second time in a couple of weeks and I am not a crier. This episode was so sad and the acting was just so brilliant. I am now bracing myself for the inevitable conclusion of this storyline and getting ready to say goodbye to such a fantastic character. On a lighter note has anyone else noticed the continuous joke of people always interrupting Hanssen when he eats no wonder the man is so thin.

  6. HolbyNut

    Absolutely heartbreaking. Cried my eyes out. LOVE Diggers and hoping for a miracle!

  7. Andrew P

    Great episode, and so sad. Working in cancer research, as soon as I heard Digby had melanoma I had a very bad feeling. Then it seemed genuinely ok, because they thought they’d got the primary tumour before it spread. But as soon as he developed metastasis I feared the worst, because the prognosis is so poor for that disease; and it moves so quickly; and while Holby is a magic place, for serious diseases they treat them seriously in their writing, and this is one of those times.

    On the lighter-ish side, my wife and I wonder if there might be some consequences to the Mo-Mr T one night stand…

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