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Holby City: The scary shouty lady and the frankly terrifying man

isaac-holby(Series 19, ep. 20) Imagine the scene. You have a cage fighter with anger management issues and a grudge, trapped in a lift with one of Holby’s premier surgeons. And the cage fighter is not the scary one.

Marc Elliott was absolutely mesmerising in this episode. From almost the first scene, when he saw Dominic talking to another man (the cage fighter, Adam, who was a patient) when he’d said on the phone he was with Zosia, Isaac Mayfield was in A Very Bad Mood Indeed.  Dominic was the obvious target of his wrath, but in provoking Adam, who was already angry and frightened and embarrassed about his planned surgery (for breast cancer), Isaac demonstrated that he’s even more dangerous than we thought. He has an unnerving understanding of psychology and how to press people’s buttons, which he chooses to use to needle people and exert power over them. In the scene in the lift, Yinka Awoni as Adam was also brilliant. It was one of those scenes where I hardly remembered to breathe.  Continue reading

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Holby City: Little gifts of love

matteo-jac-holby(Series 19, ep. 19) Unusually for me, I’m going to start with a patient storyline. I usually whizz over them as just a backdrop to the regulars’ stories, but I really loved the Darwin story about Sandy, who was terrified of surgeons. Erin Shanagher previously appeared in an episode of Casualty in which the patient story knocked my socks off, and she was equally good here. Sandy was justifiably upset, angry and fearful about the way she’d been treated as a baby, and I liked the way her story was used to highlight aspects of Jac’s and Matteo’s personalities and relationship. 

It was Valentine’s Day, as if we would ever be allowed to forget. Darwin was full of (appropriately) heart-shaped balloons, courtesy of Mr T, but Jac wasn’t feeling the love as she’d dumped Matteo last week. But then how to resist a romantic Italian who presents you with a ticket to Rome? Jac had a good try, but between Matteo’s cheeky charm and a bit of business with Mo and a voice recorder, all was well that ended well.  Continue reading

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Holby City: Bleak hospital

serena-holby(Series 19, ep. 17) Ooh, but this was a dark episode. The AAU and Keller stories were difficult and gloomy, with some of our favourite characters going through horrible times, with Darwin providing a bit of welcome light relief.

It started with a Serena voice-over, sorting people into lions, lambs and shepherds. This came from an essay Elinor had been writing before she died, and later in the episode we heard it again, with both Serena’s and Elinor’s voices speaking together, which was a spooky kind of effect.

Serena was looking for someone to blame for Elinor’s death. Just like she pointed the finger at Chantelle when Adrienne had a stroke, another sunny junior was in the firing line this time – Jasmine. And, to be fair, perhaps if Jasmine had been more experienced and more mature she might have spotted that Elinor had a problem earlier. That almost isn’t the point, though. It’s more about Serena’s need for control, to impose some order on a world that’s just been turned on its head. This was underlined by the presence of recurring guest character Lexy – the vicar with the Herzig heart who seems to bob up at moments of crisis. The crisis this time was her own – her husband was involved in a car accident and later died, prompting Lexy to question her faith. She was also someone for Serena to get cross with.  Continue reading

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Holby City: Teabag of truth

mo-holby(Series 19, ep. 16) The thing that shocked me the most about this episode was finding out that the mythical HR department actually exists. We saw it! Although, thinking about it, we only saw the glossy facade and Mo never actually went in, so it could have just been a hallucination caused by sleep deprivation.

The reason Mo was hallucinating the HR department was that she and Mr T had a plan to go to Gothenburg for a year with the baby. Mo would be putting her career on hold for a life of smorgasbord and bilingual mother and baby groups.

That was never going to fly with Jac Naylor, who employed the strategy she used so effectively with Zosia – pretend someone is completely replaceable and not needed at all, until they realise that there’s no place like Holby and cancel their foolish plans.  Continue reading

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Holby City: Welcome to our beginning

birdie-mo-holby(Series 19, ep. 13) I want to say what a glorious, funny, touching episode, but that would be to ignore the fact that, by the end of it, Bernie was asking Serena whether her daughter was on the transplant register. It was that kind of episode that Holby does so well – heart-wrenching drama one minute, a tipsy Jac Naylor fending off the attentions of a hairy Swede the next.

hanssen-holbyIt was Mr T and Inga’s wedding – though luckily, as it turned out, not a legally binding wedding but a Swedish “hand-fasting,” presided over by Helga the Hiccuping Humanist. It was quite a splendid affair, with Swedish costumes, Swedish music and a Swedish best man – none other than Henrik Hanssen himself. “Aren’t you in Sweden?” Mo asked him. “No, I believe I’m here,” he replied. Who knew that he and Mr T play chess together, and Mr T is winning?  Continue reading

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Holby City: Take your daughter to work day

elinor-serena-holby(Series 19, ep. 12) I know we’ve seen Elinor before, but once again well done to the people in casting for finding someone who actually looks like she could be related to Catherine Russell. I wonder if Serena was anything like Elinor when she was younger – in other words, a bit of a tiresome brat? Because it has to be faced, Elinor was teetering on the edge of being majorly annoying and I thought she quite deserved that whack on the head – if only for being a bit of a princess over the whole #Berena thing.

She wasn’t the only person with questionable views on AAU. Patient Tracey was suffering from pancreatitis and racism, and this led to Jasmine delivering a brilliant speech to her about the NHS. Of course, Serena couldn’t condone that kind of ranting behaviour in her junior staff – “But, off the record – well done.”  Continue reading

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Holby City: Watch out for that man!

dominic-holby(Series 19, ep. 11) This review may not be up to my usual impeccable standard, because I watched the episode several days ago in a hotel room in Berlin on a television that warmly embraced the concept of British TV without having an entirely secure connection to it. Therefore it’s entirely possible that I missed some important chunks of dialogue. And possibly action. If I was being entirely professional I’d watch it all again and take notes, but it’s Christmas and there’s sprouts to sort out and whatnot.

dominic-zosia-holbyIt was a good episode though. Lee was back. The man who broke Dominic’s heart – and, more significantly, broke his heart at the time that Arthur was ill. He knows how to press Dominic’s buttons, and there was a tense scene when Lee went AWOL from his bed and turned up in the staff room with a knife in his hand. We all remember why that isn’t a good idea. Was he going to stab Isaac, his love rival for the hand of the fair Dominic? Well, no. But by the end of the episode I rather wished that he had. The final scene between Isaac and Dominic was absolutely brutal, with Isaac showing a cruel streak a mile wide and leaving Dominic in tears and Arthur’s granddad’s medal in pieces. All we can hope now is that Dominic will have nothing to do with Isaac ever again, but to do that would take a lot of self-esteem, and Dominic’s self-esteem is quite a fragile thing.  Continue reading

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