Author Archives: Sue Haasler

About Sue Haasler

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

Holby City: A broken bird

19140459-low_res-holby-city(Series 21, ep. 46 ‘Sandra’s Choice’ by Damian Mullen 12.11.19) My review of this episode is at Metro as usual, but before you go…

– Line of the week: (Serena spots Dominic at the viewing window in theatre and lets Lofty know) ‘It appears you have male.’

– Line of the week 2: (Max gets her priorities right) ‘I won’t have you smoking in the vicinity…’ (Of the hospital? Of sick people? Of all the lovely muffins in Pulses?) ‘…of my new coat. It cost me a fortune.’

– Jason giving Lofty parenting tips including not leaving a naked baby on the sofa: ‘I still can’t get the stains out.’ I would add to this, don’t take a nappy off unless you have another one immediately to hand.

– Poor Jac. And poor Elliot, who has made something of a career of being the punchbag when other people are suffering – remember how horrible Oliver Valentine was to him after Tara died?

– I thought Vicky Entwistle was really touching as Sandra.

– Catherine Russell’s acting really is ninja-level, though. The way she faltered a little bit when giving parenting advice to Lofty, you could almost see the pictures of Elinor that were playing across her mind. Serena’s pain is real and always present, however well hidden. It’s going to be such a loss to Holby when Catherine leaves.

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Holby City: You of all people

jac emma elliot holby 45(Series 21, ep. 45 ‘Remember, Remember’ by Joe Ainsworth 5.11.19) You know the drill – pop over to Metro for my full review of this episode. But first…

– What a pitiful turnout there was to that 150 year celebration thing. And why had Fletch decided that having it outdoors was a good idea in November?

– I knew Josie was going to die in Pulses. Not just because the service is notoriously slow. It was a poetic way to end a life which had apparently mostly been spent in the hospital anyway, though it was sad she didn’t get to have her free scones first.

Spoiler alert: if you’ve read my Holby book you’ll know all about the ‘cupboard’ in Pulses where someone has to crank the lift doors open and shut because it’s not a real lift. Now they’ve moved the counter to a different side, you can see that cupboard door very clearly.

– How come Fletch and Essie didn’t recognise local MP Simone Milton? I’d recognise my MP if I saw her in the street. I wouldn’t have anything nice to say to her either. Yes, Theresa ‘Let’s back a hard Brexit even though my constituents voted to Remain’ Villiers, I mean you.

– I’m glad Ric got his mojo back. He’s recovered stunningly well from brain surgery, too.

Jac seemed quite deranged when she dragged Emma towards the mortuary. I’m sad that the various pressures she’s under have made Jac behave badly to Emma, because she’s been a lovely mother generally. 

– But Jac’s face when she saw Elliot – that was just heartbreakingly sweet.


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Casualty: The one with the extreme hoarders

Casualty - Series 34 - EP11(Series 34 ep. 11 by Gerard Sampaio 2.11.19) Off you pop to Metro to read my proper review. But first…

– Ethan and Effie are beautiful and tragic, aren’t they? Like something from a Young Adult novel.

– I guessed toxoplasmosis would be involved as soon as we saw Raymond lying adjacent to the cat litter tray. It’s a medical drama classic (and don’t forget to wash your hands when dealing with that sort of thing, obvs).

– I was desperate to know what was in the letter Jade had from her mum. I was hoping Marty would get in the car and helpfully read it out loud for us, but he didn’t.

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Holby City announces Catherine Russell’s departure

GenericsSad news from Holby City today as it’s been announced that Catherine Russell will be leaving after seven years playing Serena Campbell.

Catherine explained her reasons for the change, saying, ‘Playing Serena Campbell and being part of the Holby family has been an absolute delight. I just need to get out there, frighten myself again and pretend to be someone else.’

It’s been promised that Serena will make a ‘heroic’ exit in early 2020. She’ll face a ‘dark reminder’ of the past and we’ll see her ‘joyously rebellious side’ as she fights for her family and the values she holds dear. The door will also be left open for her to return – Catherine says ‘Hopefully I’ll be able to revisit the hospital as it really is the most wonderful place to work!’

Catherine has put a video on Twitter about her decision here

Executive Producer Simon Harper has paid tribute to Catherine’s work on the show. ‘She’s truly one of the Holby greats,’ he says. ‘We are all very sad to say goodbye to her – but it’s no surprise such a talented actor should want to go and play other roles again after seven outstanding years.  Catherine, we wish you all the best, while raising a bucket of shiraz to the glory that is Ms Campbell – and I just can’t thank you enough.’

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Holby City: Evan’s back! Dead!

19076400-low_res-holby-city(Series 21, ep. 44 ‘Hubble Bubble’ by Joe Ainsworth 29.10.19) Pop over to Metro to peruse this week’s review. But first…

– You’d have assumed things would have gone back to normal after the craziness of last week, but you’d be wrong. It’s Halloween, so we must have ghosts. Evan was a very good ghost (he even did that twitch thing that he started to do in the cottage-in-the-country episode).

– I’d have also enjoyed a Ghostly Gaskell, but you can’t have everything.

– They keep showing Joseph in the ‘Previously’ sections (thank you, Holby people) – so I think we have to blame a lot of Jac’s mental anguish on her heartbreak at having to deal with losing him yet again. I can relate.

– Bernie (whom we and Cameron have to deal with losing on a gradual and weekly basis) has now taken her rightful place in the Linden Cullen Memorial Shrubbery where her remains will be free to drift around the delightful landscape and possibly settle as a fine dust on the Raf Di Lucca Memorial Lump.

– It was nice of Cameron to offer Serena a bit of ash and also nice of her to refuse (‘She was your mother’), but what about his sister Charlotte? Did she have no view as to her mother’s final resting place?

– I hope Jac’s getting lawyered up ready to fight That Stacey and the Man with the Missing Balls for custody of Emma.

Dominic was so sweet with the trick-or-treat kids. It seems to be Lofty who has the problem with impending fatherhood, which is inconvenient to say the least.

Line of the week: (Ric, on possibly meeting the health minister) ‘I must remember to wear my formal pyjamas.’ 

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Casualty: Not the David

Casualty - Series 34 - EP10(Series 34, ep. 10 by Pete Lawson 26.10.19) Have a look at my full review on Metro (go on, you know you want to). But first…

– I could have slapped Ethan throughout this episode. He was distracted, unprofessional, unsupportive and just generally a bit useless.

– Though I actually emitted a squeak when Rash punched him. That’s so not like Rash.

– I also emitted a squeak when I saw that sledgehammer. It soon became apparent that it was going to be a DIY-related injury rather than a heinous crime, though. Never knock a wall down without determining whether it’s actually holding the roof up, folks.

I love Rosa more and more every week. Her back-story about her little boy dying was really sad. I like the little family she’s made with David and Ollie. And I’m really looking forward to her mum visiting so we can see David posing as her boyfriend.

Derek Thompson was heartbreaking in the scene with Robyn. She’s so sweet and caring – and seems to be very good with money, as she always has a bit put by to offer friends in need.

Line of the week: (Rosa to David) ‘You’re not David! Not the David!’ He is, though.

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Holby City: If you see a bright light, don’t run towards it

erica holby 43(Series 21, ep. 43 ‘Promise’ by Patrick Homes 22.10.19) Blimey. That was a mad hour of TV, wasn’t it? To read my proper review of the episode, pop over to Metro. But first…

– Is anyone else old enough to remember the time travelling weirdness that was Sapphire and Steel? At times this episode reminded me of that (‘Your coming here has opened a rift’). If you have no idea what I mean (or you also remember it fondly), have a look on YouTube.

– I wasn’t able to see who was in the photos on Jac’s desk (preview episode on little laptop screen) – was it Paula and Jac? Or Jasmine?

– And was the portrait to the left of Michael Spence his wife Annaliese? Ric had an affair with her, so that would fit.

Ric Griffin has never struck me as a man without a heart, or with a rotten heart (though he wasn’t his best self in his dealings with Diane and Leo). But the suggestion was that without Ric, Holby had never needed the moral compass of Hanssen. Does it also follow that, as Elinor and Bernie were alive and well in the Paradise world, their deaths were Ric’s fault? Was it that his allegiance to the NHS was to blame and if Holby had always been a private hospital none of these things would have happened? I suppose Bernie’s trauma unit might have remained and so might she – but I can’t imagine that was supposed to be the message.

– Or maybe I’m over-analysing things. It had the logic of a dream, which is to say that it floated along on its own reality and it did that very well.

– The scenes about Dominic and Lofty were a bit of a jolt after all the hallucinogenic oddness. It was like flicking the channel between two completely different programmes. It worked, though, because I think a solid hour of strangeness would have been a bit much.

– The real drama, of course, was whether Ric would live or die – and it’s such a relief that he’s alive.

– It was so sweet that the person who brought him back to life was great-granddaughter Erika. She’s his chance to make a fresh start.

Line of the week: (Jac) ‘Do you need help with emotional harmony?’ Jac’s hippy Wellness Advisor was an absolute scene-stealer.

Line of the week (2): (Sacha) ‘What did I miss?’ Hula dancers, ukuleles, a pregnancy reveal… Nothing much, really. And that was just in the real world…


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