(Series 20, ep. 8 ‘Hard Day’s Night’ by Michelle Lipton 20.2.18) I’m undecided about new registrar Xavier* Duval (Marcus Griffiths), but I think at the moment we’re meant to be. He has his twonkish side (“Delivering a baby is like watching your favourite pub burn down,” whatever that means apart from he can’t be bothered), but then after said baby is delivered (by Meena, Nicky and Donna) he gives Donna his credit card to go out and buy a load of stuff for it because the baby was totally unexpected and the mum (Jamie-Rose Monk, who was excellent) has nothing ready. So I would say he’s a man of gestures. Some are nice gestures and some aren’t, but we’ll have to wait and see what kind of person he is behind the gestures before we can say whether Zav could ever replace Raf.
Nicky had met Xavier the night before, when she got very, very drunk, had an argument with Meena, and ended up in the on-call room handcuffed to the bed. We learned all this via the medium of not very interesting flashbacks (or is it just me who finds what people got up to when they were drunk very tedious?). What was more interesting was that a very hungover Nicky was in charge of the whole of AAU on the night shift for the very first time. Xavier was floating around the hospital in case anyone needed him, but he was a bit of a mixed blessing when he did float on to AAU. When the new mum needed an operation to get the placenta out, Nicky wasn’t confident that Xavier could do it, so she called Serena in. Berena fans all around the world will have been delighted to see Serena turning up in her pyjamas, but Serena was less than delighted to be there.
I loved it when Nicky asked the new mum if she wanted a hug. That was such a nice thing to do, especially with a hangover. That little gesture made me warm to Nicky more than anything else she’s done so far.
There was another appearance from the glorious Wanda Ventham as Lofty’s gran Sheilagh, who was a bit bored on Keller at night. She wandered about a bit and came across Ollie, whom she recognised as the doctor who’d been shot in the head. His response wasn’t friendly. “Shot your manners out, I see,” grumbled Sheilagh (imagine if Lofty and Dominic ever got married – Sheilagh Chiltern and Carole Copeland in the same family! That would be comedy gold). Eventually she persuaded him to engage in a spot of gambling with her, and they went for a walk and managed to watch some transplant surgery before they were shooed away. And then Ollie realised Sheilagh was having a stroke.
His diagnosis and quick reaction saved Sheilagh’s life and has made Roxanna look quietly optimistic that he’s getting better (again) – but she only looks optimistic when he isn’t looking, because she’s managing his expectations.
On Darwin they’re doing that classic rom-com thing of Fletch and Jac inching closer (arranging family days out together, with the kids) and then a bombshell drops which throws them apart again. The bombshell in this case was Essie letting slip to Fletch about Jac resigning just before she got shot. I’m not sure why this is a massive deal to him – she wanted to leave, she changed her mind – but it’s made him all cross and he’s cancelled their playdate.
* Trivia corner: the name Xavier has almost been used before in recent Holby memory. Matteo Rossini was originally going to be called Xavier Cotillard, till he ended up being Italian and not French. Amuse yourself with other Holby snippets and facts by grabbing yourself a copy of Holby City: Behind the Screen (out on 2nd March). Pre-order now!