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Holby City: We’ll always have Radiohead

(Series 19, ep. 33 ‘Enigma’ by Peter Mattessi) It’s a rare staff member who doesn’t get surprised at the hospital by their secret past turning up at some time or another. Just look at Ric Griffin – and we will look at him a little later, the naughty man.

Lofty got his ‘secret past surprise’ very early in his Keller career, considering he only started last week. When a new patient, Lenny, arrived on the wards there were some meaningful looks exchanged between him and Lofty from the outset. They were “family friends” they said, but this hid a more complicated truth. Eventually Lofty admitted that he’d been engaged to Lenny’s sister, Alice, but jilted her at the altar. No wonder Lenny seemed angry. In fact, Lenny seemed very angry indeed. I really liked this character – he was a bit of a bad boy, an ex drug user, the kind of person who’ll break the rules to have a cigarette in the staff room, but loyal and in his way very charming. His sister, when she turned up, was also lovely and you could see why Lofty had been attracted to her. But the real attraction was Lenny. They’d had a little Moment at a Radiohead concert and it was enough to convince Lofty that he had no business getting married to Alice. He really loved her, but not the way he loved Lenny.  Continue reading

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Holby City: The one with the theremin

(Series 19, ep. 30 ‘Gold Star’ by Ed Sellek) Well that was fun, wasn’t it? Apart from the dead patient at the end, which was extremely sad. But up until that point, it was one of those episodes packed full of one-liners and excellent comedy stuff from – well, everybody, really. There was a bit of slapstick from Zosia (did you see her whizzing off with troublesome Mr Phibbs in a wheelchair in the background of the scene where Hanssen was talking to Birdie at her bedside?), some funny business with the vending machine and Hanssen’s favourite snack, the Whippy Whirl, Sacha smiling again thanks to a relaxing shvitz (it’s like a sauna, apparently, and it certainly did Sacha a power of good), and Bernie and Ollie teasing Ric about needing naps.  Continue reading

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Holby City: An out-of-control monster

(Series 19, ep. 26) It was one of those starts-at-(almost)-the-end episodes, and the start showed a panicking Bernie, flanked by Fletch and Jasmine, busting down the door to the roof (which was locked for the first time in its history)…

What had happened to Serena? Would we find her teetering on the edge of the parapet, or already in a messy mush in the car park? Would Bernie be in time?

Flashback twelve hours, which luckily for us had been condensed to just one hour. We found Serena “stuck on some hideous merry-go-round of blame and regret.” This could be construed as a general description of AAU on a good day, but it was all about Elinor’s death and Serena’s reaction to it, particularly in her treatment of Jasmine. It was also affecting her family – she said that even loving Bernie didn’t make her feel better, and she was so horrible to and around Jason that he wanted to move back in with his old carer, Alan. “I’m officially an out-of-control monster,” Serena said. She was still unable to address any of this properly until she almost hit Jasmine and Jac was there to (magnificently) intervene. Serena was summoned to see Hanssen, who was infinitely kind and understanding and said there was almost nothing he wouldn’t do to help her.  Continue reading

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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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