Holby City has never been a programme to shy away from the supernatural, considering it’s full of doctors and nurses and scientific people like that. In recent memory we’ve had a whole episode that was in Maddie’s head as she lay dying, and Donna talking with her father after he’d passed away to a place that hopefully smells less of disinfectant.
Last night, as Linden and Holly decorated their home for Christmas, Linden was being haunted by his late wife Olivia, who appeared in awkward places in a red coat, like a taller version of the scary midget in Don’t Look Now. She also had a sideline in writing TELL HER THE TRUTH in condensation on various bits of glass. Obviously this stressed Linden out a fair bit, and Holly putting Stand By Me on his jukebox (who’d have guessed Linden would have a jukebox?) was the last straw. He yelled, Holly cried, and she ran away.
Linden was summoned to Holby at the request of a very ill patient, his Catholic priest. This man offered sage words of advice along the lines of TELL HER THE TRUTH (Linden was feeling a theme developing by this point), and asked Linden to borrow a pen, which he then put in his pocket. The pen, we felt, would have some Significance later.
By way of flashbacks, we discovered the truth of what happened the night Linden’s wife died in a car accident. Linden had tried to save her by doing a roadside tracheostomy. This hadn’t gone well, so Linden always blamed himself for Olivia’s death. Holly had been present at the time, and Linden couldn’t ever face talking about it so had given Holly into the care of her grandparents.
Father and daughter had all this out by the side of a road, and I did think that Holly had thrown her backpack into quite a dangerous place on a bend. As she went to retrieve it, a car coming round the bend crashed into her. And guess what? Linden was forced to perform an emergency tracheostomy, using the very same pen that the priest had given him. This time it was successful, Holly was saved, everyone agreed Linden hadn’t been in any way responsible for Olivia’s death. Linden wanted to thank his friend the priest – but it turned out he’d died before Linden had the pen conversation with him.
It all ended rather emotionally, with Linden listening to Stand By Me on the jukebox that Olivia had given him, and dancing with the ghost of his wife. PLA Jr was in tears, so I feel a bit Scrooge for calling the episode more than a tad contrived (two roadside tracheostomies in one family? A heavy snowfall when the trees are all still covered in green leaves? The likelihood of the pen in your pocket being a Bic when you need one?), and just a bit slow and irritating.
It was left to The Radiant Donna Jackson to bring some light into the proceedings with her karaoke rendition of Stand By Me, at a fundraising do for her late father’s charity (we’ll pass swiftly over Mark “Jesus” Williams and his rendition of Slade’s Merry Xmas Everybody). There was still no sign of Connie or Ric, but we’re promised that next week Thandie is going to be putting pressure, as only Thandie can, on Lauren Minster, to reveal exactly what happened the day Archie died. Let’s hope she’s successful, so Connie can be de-suspended and come back in time to make Christmas crackers out of Michael Spence’s knackers for losing her robots.
(Oh, and PS – Chrissie is pregnant again. Young Dr Oliver Valentine is not the father. He did finally get to kiss Daisha though, so it’s probably just as well).