Category Archives: Holby City

Holby City: Nothing but the work

(Series 20, ep. 38 ‘One Man and His God’ by Andy Bayliss 18.9.18) I’ve written a nice long review of this episode over at Metro, but before you go to have a look here are some additional thoughts.

– The ending was just about the most twisted, terrifying thing I’ve ever seen on Holby. The idea of deliberately leaving someone in a ‘locked in’ state (especially as we knew that Roxanna’s mother had already experienced that) – well, even the most seasoned Gaskell-watcher will have been shocked at just how far his drive to succeed has pushed him.

– We’ve had murderous people on the wards of Holby before (Nurse ‘Killer’ Kelly Yorke in series 5/6; Hanssen’s son last year), but Gaskell is an entirely different kettle of fish. The scary thing about Gaskell is that he truly believes he’s only one step away from the next great medical breakthrough. He takes no pleasure in people being hurt or dying, but at the same time he views anyone who suffers during the course of his experiments to be collateral damage. The bigger picture is all he cares about.

– I loved the flashback scenes. Young Gaskell, Hanssen and Roxanna were perfectly cast and played their parts brilliantly, and Andy Bayliss’s script filled in plenty of blanks about each of them in a subtle and moving way. I also liked how the different sets of flashbacks were in the minds of each of the three older characters, so each one had a slightly different focus.

– Scenes between Hanssen and Dominic have become as precious and lovely as scenes between Jac and Sacha. It’s a similar dynamic – a closed-off, apparently cold person and someone who is expressive and emotionally open who sees them for who they really are.

– Gaskell’s last words to Roxanna – ‘forgive me’ – were chilling. I honestly doubt she’s going to be forgiving him any time soon, even if he ‘fesses up and sorts out the mess he’s left inside her head (if that’s even possible).

(Picture: BBC)

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Holby City: Look out!

(Series 20, ep. 37 ‘All Lies Lead to the Truth’ by Robert Goldsbrough 11.9.18) This week’s review can be found over at Metro. Before you go, here are some random musings about the episode.

– Is Meena’s new car cursed? She’s had a terrible time ever since she got it, with a miserable birthday followed by a Boxing Birthday (or is it just my house where we have those?) in which she reverses into Serena’s car and later on knocks down a fleeing neurosurgeon. If I was Meena, I’d be getting that car swapped for something a little less haunted, ASAP.

– I thought Roxanna’s spying on Gaskell was really suspenseful. The bit where she was snooping around the wet lab and he was walking along the corridor was scary. I’m still not sure how she got out. Did she find a secret back door? Or had she gone out of the front door before Gaskell turned the corner?

– And then when she revealed to him what she knew and he turned the tables by trying to tell her that she wasn’t well. Will she wake up and manage to tell Hanssen what she knows before Gaskell can go any further? Or is the staff member with the best quiff since Fletch already destined to be a commemorative plaque in the Linden Cullen Memorial Shrubbery?  Continue reading

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Holby City: All the blue shiny things

(Series 20, ep. 36 ‘Keep Your Friends Close’ by Isla Gray 4.9.18) For a full review, please head over to Metro. But first, a few random thoughts.

– I like the way the Gaskell story is warming up. He hasn’t gone full ‘mwah-ha-ha’ at any point, but we can see how he’s focused to the point of being dangerously obsessed. I have no idea where his moral compass is, which is why it was an excellent idea to put the moral compass of the hospital (Hanssen) up against him. But Hanssen’s view of things has been shaken by what happened with Fredrik, and is further complicated by his feelings for Roxanne.

– I have to wonder, did Gaskell bring all his blue luminous objects with him when he arrived, or are they standard-issue NHS items? Perhaps they’re alien artefacts he got when he was Doctor Who, and their strange intense glow is a form of mind-control. This would explain quite a bit about the Prof.

– Hanssen taking frightened patients out onto the hospital’s scenic fire escapes. Not sensible.

– I’ve honestly forgotten what Meena and Nicky fell out about, but I wish they’d sort it out. I do actually feel sorry for Meena. She’s very lonely and adrift. I think Zav probably knows deep down that she really wants more than just no-strings fun, but he was happy to take what she said at face value. I don’t think either of them is going to feel very good about themselves in the morning.

– Abi was back, which was good news for anyone requiring a CT surgeon because they’ve been a bit thin on the ground of late. But even when she’s there, she never seems quite there, if you know what I mean. Luckily we can see from the Autumn trailer that Darwin is going to get considerably busier soon.

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Holby City: Sacha at the end of his tether

(Series 20, ep. 35 ‘Man Down’ by Michelle Lipton 28.8.18) For a full review of this remarkable episode, whizz over to Metro. Before you go, a few additional thoughts:

– What a brilliant performance by Bob Barrett. Since Sacha had his initial breakdown when he was shoplifting etc, he’s seemed fine on the surface but at times a sadness, despair or anger has leaked out. But Sacha is the man who looks after everybody else, and as this episode showed, those are the people who sometimes don’t feel they’re allowed to ask for help (for more on how Bob Barrett sees this aspect of Sacha’s character, have a look at his chapter in the Holby book).

– I loved Ric Griffin’s entirely logical, sensible, reading of the situation in the earlier scenes on the roof. He seemed to have a response to everything Sacha said, but it was in that way that’s trying to be helpful but isn’t really helpful because it’s making assumptions and not really listening to what the other person is saying. It was fantastic writing by Michelle Lipton, and perfectly acted by Hugh Quarshie who showed us that Ric went on a journey of understanding as he finally realised how bad things were with Sacha. His response at the end, to really listen, to hug, to quietly talk, was what Sacha really needed.

– Connor really was a lovely character and I was so impressed with Luke Higgins. Connor was funny and kind and flawed and very loveable, as he had to be to make us feel the extent of Sacha’s pain when he couldn’t save him. I loved how Tyler was there at the end to give Sacha a glimpse of hope.

– Holby just looks gorgeous these days. It looks like a feature film or big, heavyweight dramas like Line Of Duty. The production team all show real ambition and vision in the way they bring the stories to the screen. The scene with Sacha on the roof and Ric hurrying into the hospital building below – all in the same shot – took my breath away.

– If you haven’t seen my interview with Bob Barrett about the episode, have a look here. He also told me some juicy snippets about things coming up which I can’t possibly divulge right now, but let’s just say that there’s a lot of exciting stuff ahead!

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Holby City: The Botox bar in my bedroom

(Series 20, ep. 34 ‘All Business’ by Nick Fisher 21.8.18) This week’s proper Holby City review can be found at Metro here. Before you go, I have to talk about Xavier giving Nicky’s bedroom away to Donna to use as a base for her Botox business.

This was puzzling on various levels, but I think I’ve worked it out. There are three bedrooms in that flat – Nicky’s, Meena’s and Frieda’s. As far as we know they haven’t got anyone in to replace Frieda. Remember back in the summer trailer, we saw Frieda asking an unclothed Zav, “What are you doing in my bedroom?”

So my guess is that either Zav meant to say that Donna could use Frieda’s room, or Nicky has moved in to Frieda’s, hence why hers is free to fill with lip fillers and what-have-you.

But there’s still one niggling question, which is why does Xavier have the right to organise who does and doesn’t occupy Meena and Nicky’s flat?

Elsewhere, I’m enjoying Roxanna putting on her sleuthing hat and deciding to get to the bottom of whatever the Prof is up to. And she gets to travel the world at the same time! She’s a smart woman.

And that was an ominous ending, wasn’t it? I’ve already seen next week’s Sacha-centred episode, and I have to tell you it’s absolutely brilliant, with a heart-wrenching performance from Bob Barrett.

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Holby City: Jac’s dying! Or is she?

(Series 20, ep. 33 ‘Bargaining’ by Katie Douglas 14.8.18) For a full-length review of this super-tense episode, head over to Metro. Before you go, here are some random thoughts:

– Serena telling that porter that his arm would have to be amputated was a bit much, wasn’t it? Isn’t there something in the ethics handbook about that sort of thing?

– It must have been the lightest script that Rosie Marcel has had recently. I think the longest sentence she had to learn was ‘Fix me.’ 

– Prof Gaskell banging his head on the desk was amusing. Was it frustration that his trial is so close to succeeding, yet it inconveniently keeps killing people?

– The Prof kind of reminds me of Donald Trump in the way that he rejects people who are critical (Roxanna) and tries to surround himself with people who can reflect his own magnificence back at him (Essie). Obviously he has nicer hands and better hair than Donald Trump though.

– There’s a lot of blue, glowing stuff around Holby recently. They also have it in the new operating theatre on Casualty. I don’t know what it is, but it’s very pretty.

– Serena’s comment, ‘I’m a hell of a woman, Jason, and I intend to keep it that way.’ Are Berena fans worried about Serena’s susceptibility to flattery from Steven? Should Bernie be worried?

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Holby City news: Mo to return!

Chizzy Akudolu has just announced on ITV’s Loose Women that her character, Mo Effanga, will be returning to Holby City.

Confirming the news, Executive Producer Simon Harper says, “Chizzy is an all-time audience favourite and it’s glorious to have her back for a stint. Mo comes sweeping in after huge, dramatic events at Holby with all her trademark warmth and humour intact – and is determined to change one particular life on Darwin for the better.”

Mo will return to the wards just before Christmas, and Chizzy will start filming soon. She says, “Being back on Darwin is like putting on your slippers and wrapping up in your duvet. You’re home. I’ve really missed the cast and crew.”

And Holby fans have really missed Mo, so this is great news!

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