Author Archives: Sue Haasler

About Sue Haasler

Author of the official Holby City book; latest novel Half A World Away out now.

Casualty: Good things happen

(Series 36, ‘I Will Trust In You’ by Dana Fainaru 9.4.22) Have a look at my review of this episode at Metro. I think I’ve said nearly everything in that, but…

Paula’s story really has been brilliant and it’s been thanks to some lovely writing and also the brilliant work of Rosie Jones and William Beck. They’ve been a great pairing, with their humour cutting through the tragedy and lifting up the happy moments. Casualty at its absolute best.

Line of the week: (Dylan) “Sometimes good things do happen to good people.”

I think Adi may have misjudged Marty, thinking he’s all about parties and clubbing. I think he could also be a lovely dad if Adi gave him the chance.

Jude’s dad turned out to be better than expected, too.

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Casualty: Iain gets grain strain

(Series 36 ‘Judgement Call’ by Philip Ralph 2.4.22) Please bob over to Metro for my full review. But before you go…

It was such a nice Casualty throwback to have a tractor incident as accident o’ the week.

I was really glad that Minnie and Luke’s story turned out happily for them.

Chrissie and Iain were never going to be happy together if she’s in bits every time he’s doing something risky. He’s always doing something risky.

But when Minnie said at the end that the people you love have to come first, is he going to make things up with Chrissie and ask Jan for a desk job?

The riskiest thing he did in this episode (apart from to get trapped in a grain silo) was to still have the shutter sound switched on on his phone. It’s a bit of a giveaway when you’re trying to take covert shots and your phone keeps clicking away.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again and I’m saying it now – I love Rosie Jones. And I love the double act with William Beck even more.

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In case you’re missing Holby

In the run up to the final Holby episode, my Metro colleagues and I were busy as bees with Holby interviews and articles. In case you missed anything or want to revisit, here’s a handy list of links.

Holby City stars reveal final episode ‘is really important’ to be a part of

Holby City story producer explains the challenges that came after show axe

Rosie Marcel is ‘upset’ Holby City was axed while it was beating EastEnders

Holby City star David Ames opens up about what he’s learnt playing Dom

Holby City stars discuss a Fletch and Donna spin-off after show ends

Holby City star Alex Walkinshaw on fans campaigning to try and save the show ‘It was delightful’

Holby City star David Ames says Dom’s journey helped some fans come out

Holby City stars Bob Barrett and Guy Henry reveal whether they’d reprise their roles in Casualty

Holby City stars Bob Barrett and Guy Henry reveal how they reacted to cancellation news ‘It’s like grief’

Holby City stars on Dom and Ange’s relationship after Carole’s death

Davood Ghadami felt he ‘didn’t have the right’ to be sad over Holby City axing

Holby City star Davood Ghadami says show axing made playing Eli ‘extra special’

Holby City star Davood Ghadami teases show finale ‘It left me emotionally exhausted!’

Holby City’s David Ames describes Dom, Digby & Zosia trio as a ‘golden era’

Holby City legends tease what’s ahead for the final episode

Former Holby City stars pay tribute ahead of final ever episode

Holby City fans in disbelief as final ever episode airs tomorrow.  

BBC confirmed to Holby City that axing it was ‘nothing to do with the show

Holby City stars share how they reacted to show’s cancellation

My review of the last episode.

Holby City story producer Ben Wadey reveals finale secrets and why Jac died

A Love Letter to Holby City as the show ends forever

Holby City fans hit out as axed soap gets BAFTA nomination the day after ending


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Holby City: It was home

(Series 23, ep. 50 by Joe Ainsworth 29.3.22) I’ve gone all tearful about this episode over at Metro so please go and have a look. But first…

I can’t really believe this is the end of Holby City. This programme has meant so much to so many people’s lives. For me it turned from just being my favourite TV show to being the best job I’ve ever had when I wrote the Holby book. The weeks that I spent at the studio researching the book and talking to all the incredibly talented, kind and lovely people who make the show are memories I’ll treasure forever.

I actually got a small pay cheque from the BBC when I was invited to a script conference for series 16, so I think I can actually lay claim to being part of the story team. For an hour.

Back to the actual episode. Line of the week, of the series, of the entire show: (Jac, obvs) ’This is what the NHS means to us. Not a badge on a cabinet minister’s lapel. Not a number down the side of a bus. It’s a nurse missing her break to sit with a lonely patient. A surgeon grinding out a 15 hour op. The sound of sirens coming to the rescue. Thursday night applause floating across the rooftops. It’s all of us doing the best we can in impossible circumstances. It’s something to believe in. It’s home.’

I loved that they took the chance to have one last go at the useless, lying, self-serving government, and praise the wonderful NHS, in such a beautiful and poetic way.

Line of the week 2: (Sacha) ‘You love me really’ (Jac) ‘You know I do.’ As last (living) words go, that was perfect.

Line of the week 3: (Nicky does well in surgery) ‘I can’t wait to tell Jac.’ That feeling that the person you want to share the highlights of your life with isn’t there any more.

These final episodes have been incredible and I’m just left gobsmacked once again at the skill and genius of the people who write this show. To be able to pivot from being a continuing drama to wrapping things up in a dramatically satisfying and emotionally truthful way takes such clever writing and they absolutely pulled it off.

In the end there was very little separation between what was going on in the story world – Jac’s death – and the real world – the cancellation of the show. Knowing that the actors and crew were in real life saying goodbye to something they loved made seeing them say goodbye to Jac even more heartbreaking.

When Rosie Marcel told me that Luke Roberts had promised her he would be involved in her exit storyline, I pictured that it would mean a rekindling of their romance and a happy ever after. That would have been the Hollywood ending, but it wouldn’t have been true to Jac’s story. I’m glad that in the end Joseph was the custodian of part of her legacy. The scenes with him and the other returning actors could have seemed a bit too contrived in less assured hands, but it was so sincerely done and carried such a strong message about organ donation that it fit perfectly with the tone of the story.

And those final scenes as the camera pulled back on all those people doing their jobs, carrying on as if it’ll all go on even when we’re not watching, that was just lovely. It was a thank you to the NHS, to the fans, and to every single person who’s ever come through those gates at Elstree to work on the show.

Goodbye, Holby City. You’ve been brilliant x


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Casualty: Matthew turns on Stevie

(Series 36 ‘Trigger’ by Dan Berlinka 26.3.22) Please pop over to Metro for my official recap/review. But first…

BBC Pictures has temporarily (I hope) locked me out of getting any new pictures (hence the rubbish little pic above). While searching for an image I came across this article by the brilliant David Brown which I somehow missed at the time – ‘Is Casualty’s Stevie a Psychopath Too Far?’ Someone in authority must have read that, because Stevie’s psychopath ways have been greatly dialled down. In fact I quite like her these days.

I’m afraid Matthew’s PTSD storyline is doing nothing for me and risks falling into the same category that David talks about in the article – too much shock and melodrama. It felt like the highlight of tonight’s episode was when Jan asked Dylan how Paula was getting on. Paula is a character I can really care about.

Line of the week: (Stevie – she is very good for lines of the week) ‘Don’t let the accent fool you, I’m not a priest, I don’t do confession.’ I love how Stevie hasn’t got the memo that Casualty staff are supposed to heal the emotional turmoil of the patients as well as stitch them up.

Job reference of the week: (Dylan about Paul) ‘He was a rubbish receptionist.’

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Holby City: The penultimate

(Series 23, ep. 49 by Andy Bayliss 22.3.22) Pop over to Metro and see what I made of this week’s stunning episode. But before you go…

I can’t stop thinking about this episode, even a week after I first watched it. There was so much in it.

One thing that really haunts me is that Jac’s new flat had the view of the school playing field and the sound of children playing. Was she hoping Emma would go to that school one day? The juxtaposition of the sound and sight of the school kids all full of life, and knowing that Jac was facing her own death was almost unbearably sad.

And the song she’d been listening to – English Rose by the Jam. An echo of the rose that was named after her.

(We once had a plumber who had the lyrics to that song tattooed on his arm).

It was such a brilliant idea to bring Ken back. And Lexy.

That ending. Thinking Jac was dead, then seeing she was alive. Her optimism when she thought the surgery had worked and her utter despair when she discovered it hadn’t.

Jac saying sorry to Elliot for putting him in that position. That was why she didn’t ask Elliot to do the surgery first, in case that happened.

And now there’s only one episode to go. There’s still the slim hope that Jac’s life can be saved, but the stage is set for an absolutely unmissable, hugely emotional, final 40 minutes as Holby goes out at the top of its game.

And yes, you will need tissues, whatever happens. All the tissues.


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Casualty: Can’t get another Teddy

(Series 36 ‘Break Your Heart’ by Lisa McMullin 19.3.22) Pop along to Metro to read my full review. But before you go…

I’ll be really sad if this is the end of Teddy on Casualty. I really like the character, especially his scenes with Sah. I hope he’ll be able to continue being a paramedic.

And please say Rosa is coming back – and bringing Xiomara with her.

In the preview episode I saw, AJ’s hallucinations were yet to be added in, so all we saw was him sitting in the tree and reacting. But that was scary enough. The actor, Jude Chinchen, did a brilliant job.

I think Adi does love Marty and his relationship with Jessica is all about the baby. But Marty is quite insecure so he might feel threatened anyway.

Line of the week: (Jan) ‘It’s a hospital, not the seventh circle of hell.’ (Gaynor) ‘I’m not sure how you tell the difference.’ (Jan) ‘More pay in hell.’

Revelation of the week: Dylan is not Lawrence Llewellyn-Bowen. Who’d have guessed?

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Holby City: Elliot prepares to freeze the Ice Queen

(Series 23, ep. 48 by Katie Douglas 15.3.22) Pop over to Metro for this week’s review. But first…

Only two more episodes to go. Two. More. Episodes. And they are both brilliant, which kind of makes it worse. Oh, BBC, what were you thinking cancelling this show?

But back to this week and – Elliot Hope. Of course it had to be Elliot. And of course he would eventually think of a way of doing Jac’s op that nobody has tried yet.

Somewhat ironic that the best chance of saving Jac’s life is to freeze her. She’s been called the Ice Queen so many times that you’d think she’d be cold enough already.

Essie, Digby and Jasmine at the beginning was a beautiful touch. I actually gasped out loud when Jasmine appeared, knowing how much Jac loved her and how Jasmine’s death had robbed her of the chance to tell her.

I loved that ghostly Essie was a bit miffed to hear that Sacha had moved on so quickly after her death (but only as far as Jodie, and what a huge mistake that was) but she was thrilled to hear how much he’d missed her.

This must mean she’s not haunting Sacha, otherwise she would already have known all this.

When Elliot said he had something that other heart surgeons don’t have (“They don’t love you [Jac] like I do,”) I would argue there are at least two other heart surgeons who do – Mo and Joseph.

Jac’s rules for nurses: “No talkers, no idiots and no one too young to remember the millennium.”

Kylie’s driving history: “I crashed a go kart once. People cried. There was blood.”

Donna arrived just in the nick of time and I’m pleased she got to do the ‘improvised chest drain scene’ before the show ended. It’s a classic. And of course she hates the private hospital. If you sliced Donna up she’d have NHS written right through her.

There was a classic Hanssen moment when he saw Kylie lurking outside his door.

Metro prefers to refer to him as Henrik, but he’ll always be Hanssen to me.

Only two more episodes to go. I know I already said that, but…


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Casualty: In at the deep end

(Series 36 ‘Now I Can Breathe’ by Sean Robert Daniels and Stephen McAteer 12.3.22). You’ll be wanting to have a look at my proper recap of this episode over at Metro. But before you go…

It can’t be easy being Iain’s girlfriend. He’s always jumping into dangerous scenarios and I very much haven’t forgotten what happened to The Lovely Jeff.

When Iain said he’d got the chess board from the boss of the place, did he mean David (boss of nurses in the ED), Jan (boss of paramedics) or Hanssen (boss of hospital)? I felt if it was meant to be Hanssen’s, it would have been in a more arty box. Or not in a box at all but displayed in a shelf without a speck of dust upon it.

Unlike Anya I do not have aphantasia. In fact I very much have phantasia, if that’s a thing. Too much picturing, anyway. For example if I’m reading a book and it says “he nodded,” I can’t read on until I’ve worked out exactly how much nodding was going on, angle of head etc. This is why I’m a slow reader.

Is Robyn going to get back together with Paul, do you think? I’d be wary, if I was her.

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Holby City: The rose has a leaf

(Series 23, ep. 47 by Katie Douglas 8.1.22) Kindly pop over to Metro where you’ll find a full review of this episode. But I have a couple of additional thoughts before you go…

Opening scene of the season: I loved that pre-title sequence with Hanssen making the sombre and stirring speech and then Jac cutting in with, ‘Goodness sake, Henrik, just read the bloody thing!’

The list of people who’d won the Junior Doctor Prize and then died was both amusing and sad, being a poignant reminder of all those beloved characters – as Sacha said, ‘Tara Lo, Jasmine Burrows, Arthur Digby. Cameron Dunn won it twice in a row but he almost definitely cheated.’ Plus a mention later from Lexy the Holby vicar of Penny Valentine.

I seem to remember but can’t be bothered to look, that Lexy was an early recipient of one of Elliot Hope’s experimental artificial hearts. Was it the Herzig or the Kibo? I think Oliver Valentine got one too, at one point.

Fletch still loves Jac, doesn’t he? She probably loves him too but she hasn’t got time for All That because she’s too busy trying not to die.

But Joseph though (I feel disloyal if I don’t mention him at least once).

It’s always lovely to see Selfie. I know he’s an awful person who’s done terrible things, but he’s a great character and John Michie is, frankly, a legend.

Fletch carrying Jac to Darwin after she collapsed reminded me of when her sister Jasmine died and Dr Damon Ford carried her to AAU.

Hanssen being cruel to be kind to Russ was well-intentioned but also misguided. But obviously there’s a part of Hanssen that’s terrified of what being in a relationship with Russ would mean to someone with his famously guarded personality. Leeds isn’t far away from fictional Holby, though, so I don’t think Russ will give up. Billie will make sure he doesn’t.

Hurrah for Madge and Kylie trapping that hideous Regina woman.

Jac’s rose had a new leaf on it. For anyone who remembers Hanssen nursing the symbolic/actual bird back to life, that’s got to be A Sign.

So who did Fletch ring at the end of the episode? I know but I’m not telling.


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