Holby City: Cradle to grave

(Series 20, ep. 27 ‘The Anniversary Waltz’ by Joe Ainsworth 3.7.18) This episode was Holby City’s tribute to the NHS on its 70th anniversary, and it was full of lovely moments.

It was topped and tailed with voiceovers of Ric, Serena, Xavier and Jac talking about what the NHS means to them. To Serena “it’s a beautiful thing – a health service available to all, from cradle to grave.” Ric agrees: “Every patient who comes through those doors is equal.” Xavier, meanwhile, likes “the action, the buzz.” And Jac? “None of your business.” Jac doesn’t gush, not even for the NHS.

Holby was the receiving hospital for casualties when the roof of Holby indoor market collapsed. Beds were cleared, protocols were enacted, everyone had to be on top of their game. Patient Lennie Jefferies (Gary Beadle) immediately recognised Serena – or “Dr McKinnie,” as he’d known her. Many years earlier he’d been stabbed in a knife fight, and the young doctor who’d saved him had been Serena. Not only had she saved his life, but she’d inspired him to turn his life around and he was now a father and a model citizen. When he was found to be suffering from some nasty internal injuries it fell to Serena again, with Ric’s help, to try to save his life. Again she succeeded. 

I emitted a small squeaking sound when Lennie was visited later by his daughter. Her name was Serena. 

There were emotional moments on Darwin, too, where a man called Neville Pugh (Patrick Sandford) was about to get the heart transplant he’d been waiting for. By a string of unfortunate events and coincidences, the stand-by recipient of the heart, should it not be suitable for Mr Pugh, was in the same ward as him. Mr Pugh wasn’t supposed to know who the woman in the other bed (Hannah Boyde) was, but he overheard her telling her children, and this made him Think. Mr Pugh had no family and no friends. He explained to Jac (yes! Back at work!) that he lost his parents when he was very young and had become closed-off and fearful because he couldn’t bear the thought of losing anyone else. Something in this resonated with Jac, so she didn’t argue as forcefully as she perhaps might have previously done that his was the more immediate clinical need. She respected his wish to let the heart go to the person with the family who loved her. I thought this was a beautiful, sad little story and my heart went out to Mr Pugh, if that isn’t an unfortunate phrase under the circs.

For balance we had the wonderful Sheilagh Chiltern finally escaping from Holby and going back home, but not before she’d helped serve tea to the other patients and shared a lunch of hard-boiled eggs with Hanssen.

She had a conversation with Dominic in which he admitted he thought it would be “rather lovely” to still be with Lofty in 50 years’ time. So Sheilagh gave Lofty his grandfather’s wedding ring, and said if he felt like giving it to a handsome young doctor it would be with her blessing. Adorable!

Also adorable – Ric and Serena arriving at Albie’s a little late for the NHS 70th birthday celebration (because they’d been doing what the NHS does best – saving lives and caring for people). So they settled in with a bottle of red and proceeded to have their own party. Then they got locked in. Were they bothered? Not at all. “Fancy a cocktail?” Serena grinned, swaying over to the bar. She really is delightful when she’s drunk, and I love her friendship with Ric.

In other news, Abi spotted that when Jac’s around Fletch only has eyes for her, so she rather sweetly dumped him. “I just don’t think I’m the one,” she said. He found it hard to disagree.

Line of the week – Donna: “If it wasn’t for the money, the perks and the respect, I don’t think I’d bother with nursing.”

HOLBY CITY BEHIND THE SCREEN – Celebrate the NHS and Holby City with the official guide to the show.

HALF A WORLD AWAY – My new novel: love and treachery in Cold War Berlin.


Filed under Holby City

10 responses to “Holby City: Cradle to grave

  1. A brilliant episode. Reminded me of the old Holby – sick patients, brilliant, caring doctors, a bit of humour (Dom’s mum, Hanssen and those eggs) and our Jac back to her best! Thanks for all your reviews Sue. Here’s to the next 70 years of Holby, the NHS and your reviews! x

  2. This episode was fantastic. The look of Holby months ago with more people and staff buzzing around the wards. Jac, Fletch and Abi as the players in a triangle of affection. Sheilagh, Dom, Lofty and Hanssen’s dialogue was funny and heartwarming. Ric,Serena, Xav, and Donna’s lines great! And Serena was just marvelous in her interactions with Lennie. The Albie’s scenes with Serena and Ric were funny and touching. The old style of Holby is back!

  3. mrssatan

    I loved Jac calling Nicky ‘foetus’… couldn’t stop 😂😂😂

  4. I, too, uttered an involuntary noise when Serena met Serena..

  5. Thunderchild

    Surely line of the week should have been Jac’s “Oi, feotus”?

    Great episode. And no Moaning Meena either so an added bonus!

  6. Spud Glennerster

    Maybe Sheilagh will come back as a volunteer serving tea on the wards

  7. HolbyNut

    Echo all those comments and yes lol to the eggs. Gorgeous episode. Watched it twice.

  8. Brian Sutherland

    I love reading your reviews Sue, it explains so many things I may have missed…Any chance of an up to date photo at the top…? At least six are either dead or gone to pastures new..

    • I’m sentimentally attached to that photo, though, because I was there when the picture was taken (there’s a version with me in it) and it’s all the lovely people I met while writing the book.

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