(Series 20, ep. 3 ‘There by the Grace of…’ by Elliot Hope and Johanne McAndrew 16.1.18) Many years ago I used to work with people who had physical disabilities. I think it says a huge amount about James Anderson’s well-observed, thoughtful acting that, in this episode, Ollie reminded me really strongly of a man I worked with who was disabled after a head injury – the speech patterns, the mannerisms – and I hadn’t thought about that man for years.
For plot reasons, Ollie was on AAU this week. Roxanna thought it would be helpful for him to have the stimulus of being surrounded by people barfing on other people’s shoes all day long, but just in case it was too much he was popped into a side room and the staff were told not to get him over excited.
It was lucky he was there. Patient o’ the week Anita (Stephanie Racine) was worryingly unwell, and Sacha thought he knew why, but he was a bit distracted by the news that Ric was in the prison infirmary. Newbie Nicky and Donna thought there might be something else going on with Anita, and it might be heart-related. If only there was a cardiac surgeon languishing in a side room that they could consult.
Ollie might be a bit more short-tempered these days, but he can still interpret test results with the best of them, and he confirmed that Nicky and Donna were right. This could have got them all into trouble, but in the end Sacha was just glad he hadn’t killed anybody, Roxanna was glad that Ollie is making good progress, Ollie was glad to have something to do other than listen to The Saturdays all day, and Anita was glad to be alive.
Donna was less glad than everybody else, because in the middle of all this Ric had phoned her to say he didn’t want any visitors to the prison at all. It was just a standard phone and not FaceTime, so we could see what Donna couldn’t – that he’s in a wheelchair, and not in the prison infirmary with a chest infection at all. We need to hurry up and #FreeRic before it’s too late. I wonder if we could get Judge Rinder on the case?
Even in the middle of all this drama Sacha found time to nip up to Keller to tell Essie he thought she was throwing Raf’s money away by investing it in Prof Gaskell. Like me, Sacha thinks that Raf meant the money as security for Essie. She doesn’t agree, though. She wants to do something bold and innovative and medical that will have Raf’s name on it somewhere.
Prof Gaskell was very keen to have both the money and Essie involved in his trial, and he set her to work processing the candidates. I’m not sure who was covering Essie’s usual duties while this was going on, but let’s not worry about that. One of the trial patients was Charlie (Peter Brown), an adorable boy (frankly anyone with a Liverpool accent is adorable IMHO) with a terminal diagnosis. As usual with Essie, she got emotionally involved, and couldn’t accept that Charlie had complications which might render him unsuitable for the trial. There was a heart v head debate between her and the Prof, but again as usual with Essie, whenever she confronts power, power always ends up gazing back at her admiringly and agreeing with her. We’ve even seen Hanssen do it. So Essie has now put her doubts about the money aside and is fully committed to Prof Gaskell and his trial.
I said last week that Fletch was getting a bit obsessed by the security of the hospital, and it was all getting a bit much this week, with lines of people queuing up outside waiting to be frisked on the way in, and Lofty being berated for forgetting his ID card. A patient, Larry (Graham Cole), who vaguely knew Raf, said it wouldn’t be what Raf would have wanted. This made Fletch reconsider. Raf had also apparently left Fletch a load of old records, representing a complete history of the early Mod era. Looking at Raf, you’d never have suspected that..
Dialogue of the week – Jac: “Essie, I know I’m not the caring sharing type, but if you ever need to rant, get anything off your chest…”
Essie: “I’ll speak to Fletch.”
Jac: “Good idea. I’m really bad at that stuff.”
Sue Haasler’s new novel Half a World Away available to pre-order