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Holby City: Dead man walking

It was Beautiful Dr Penny Valentine’s first day as an F2! Hurrah! Elliott gave her some balloons to celebrate. He’s lovely, is Elliott. Then Penny proceeded to fill the day with the kind of ninja-level doctoring that makes you wince and gasp at the same time – a bit of cardiocentesis here, a little chest drain there. And, following a pep talk by the aforementioned Elliott, even Frieda was being nice(ish) to her.

Meanwhile, the rivalry between Michael Spence and Ric Griffin gathered momentum. Ric discovered traces of cocaine on Michael’s desk and stormed off to find him. Michael was in the middle of an operation – not ideal when you’re off your box on Class A drugs. Ric tried to be subtle. “I found something on your desk.” Michael wasn’t into subtlety, what with being coked-up, cocky and cuckolded. “You found something in my house,” he counter-accused. He meant lollipop-headed Annalese, having discovered that she’d had a fling with Ric.

Ric could have had Michael struck off for his druggy behaviour, but Ric is, by his own admission, a “dead man walking,” as his cancer has spread to his liver. He didn’t want to take Michael’s career down, because Holby needs good doctors in tight trousers.

Doctors don’t come any better, or more handsome, than The World’s Most Beautiful Heart Surgeon, Joseph Byrne. I was speculating how very good he would look with a touch of guyliner, and thinking that he’d make a darn good vampire. But I digress. When Faye was rushed off to Obs & Gynae after she came over all woozly, Joseph rushed after her, concerned for the future Baby Byrne. Faye has been keeping him at the length of a couple of arms recently, but he was so adorable and concerned – and Linden was so Not There – that she was actually pleasant to him for a change and even let him feel her bump (good of her, since earlier he’d had to watch from the margins as half the hospital copped a feel of Faye’s bump). And she’s agreed to take the test to find out if Baby Byrne will have the same disability as the late Archie.

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Holby City: How would Jesus run the hospital?

After the high drama of the last few episodes, this one was a bit low-key. It centred on a porters’ strike, which meant big queues for CT scans and Young Dr Oliver Valentine pressed into service pushing people around on trolleys.

Cometh the hour, cometh the man, as they say. The man, in this case, being Mark “Jesus” Williams. His deft handling of the aggrieved porters impressed Chairman of the Board Cunningham so much that, at the end of the episode, he was encouraging “Jesus” to apply for Leslie Ash’s old job as CEO.  I can just imagine his job interview. “So, Mr Williams, how would you describe your management style?” He’d fix the interview panel with his trademark lugubrious stare, sigh a bit, and say, “Sorrowful yet irritated. But I’m good with a catheter.”

Connie got back from Texas (yee-har!) to discover that, once again, she is not Director of Surgery. This role is being shared by Michael and Ric, who were both a bit scared to tell her. Michael said that her skills were really needed on the shop floor – Connie is at her best when elbows-deep in heart valves and aortic aneurysms rather than all the boring paperwork stuff, he suggested. Connie’s facial expression (somewhere to the north of Norway, climate-wise) would suggest she has other views.

She was somewhat distracted by the appearance of an old friend of hers who needed surgery. This friend was from the days when Mrs Beauchamp was plained old “Con” from Peckham, and she doesn’t like being reminded of her ‘umble roots, so she was ready to bin the friend off to a London hospital. This was until Joseph, with whom Connie is writing a research paper, spotted that the friend is a perfect case for their research.

It was Donna’s first day as a ward sister, and what with the porters’ strike and everything, it’s safe to say she didn’t enjoy herself.

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Holby City: Family-related shocks for Jac and Faye

I’ve said the words “poor Jac” once before. It was when she was trapped in a contaminated operating theatre with Joseph and she told him how she felt about him. Obviously feeling as I do myself about The World’s Most Beautiful Heart Surgeon, I could relate. And also, Rosie Marcel plays Ice Queen Jac so well that when she crumbles, you have to crumble right along with her.

There were signs last week that the Ice Queen was melting towards the mother who abandoned her when she was 12. Having donated one of her kidneys to save her mother’s life, this week saw them living together, and Jac getting almost touchy-feely – she was even buying flowers, and talking of buying a bigger flat so they could have a room each.

All wasn’t well medically, though, what with Jac’s wound getting infected and her mother apparently not tolerating her medication well. Michael Spence was worried. Not as worried as Jac was when her mother went AWOL, and she set off by car through the countryside to track her down at the home of her late grandfather. But when Jac passed out in a lay-by, she had to summon help from Michael Spence. Meanwhile she did a bit of ninja-level self-surgery to try and clean out her wound. I just hope no-one was eating while this scene was on.

When Jac and Michael got to her late grandfather’s house, they discovered that rumours of his death had been greatly exaggerated.  There he was, hale and hearty, and there was mum Paula, getting ready for a flight back to India.  Jac, unsurprisingly, was distraught. Apparently her mother didn’t care at all about her, and had only come back to England because she needed a kidney.

Even worse was to come. Paula had another daughter, a 17 year old sister Jac never knew she had, who lived with Paula and had a proper mother-daughter relationship with her. It’s not surprising that Jac adopted this brittle, self-contained, selfish persona is it?

Back at the hospital, having had her nasty infected wound sorted out, Jac was visited by her sister (though not by Paula or her grandfather), but she refused to see her. The only person she can rely on is herself.

Meanwhile, Faye discovered that she’s pregnant, and Joseph is the father. She tried to tell him, but Joseph has completely shut down towards Faye and can only react by being sarcastic and defensive (it’s no wonder Jac and Joseph were attracted to each other), so she didn’t tell him. Nor did she manage to say anything to Linden. It’ll not stay a secret for long…

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Holby City: A substitute for another guy

Joseph and Linden were both bearing the scars of Joseph’s attack on his bespectacled rival. Joseph, the world’s most beautiful heart surgeon,  had cut and bruised knuckles, but did this impede his surgical performance? No, he was still able to snap on the surgical gloves and wield the 2.0 Vicryl like the pro he is. But for sheer balls, the prize has to go to Linden for his self-suturing of his facial wounds. Nice bit of needlework, Mr Cullen.

While a physical beating didn’t put Linden off the charms of the lovely Faye, Joseph managed to deliver a more telling blow. He told Linden that “Faye had you lined up, Linden. All through South Africa, our wedding, Archie’s death. She’s had you on the reserves bench.” This hurt because it had the ring of truth, and when Faye told Linden that she’d loved him all along – but also loved Joseph (“I was confused!”) – he started having serious doubts.  And not before time.

If there’s anyone more disliked in the hospital than Faye at the moment, it’s CEO Leslie Ash. She might be able to get away with sacking Matron Judith, but when she started on Lovely Ginger Nurse Maria she incurred the wrath of both Pale Thin Nurse Nicky Van Barr and Mark “Jesus” Williams. Last week, Leslie Ash commanded Maria – who has recently recovered from a nasty spinal injury – to shift a load of boxes. It was just like one of those ads on daytime TV for no-win-no-fee lawyers, when Maria felt her back twinge. This week she almost dropped a patient and had to hit the prescription painkillers, she was in so much pain. Jesus, who also doubles as union rep, is now threatening to sue Leslie Ash.

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Holby City: The flipside of Joseph Byrne

Apart from being The World’s Most Beautiful Heart Surgeon, Joseph Byrne is a fascinating character. He’s controlled to the point of being repressed, very literal, very correct. He’s compassionate and caring, but doesn’t exactly exude warmth.

There have always been signs that, for Joseph, self-control is a protective mechanism because he can’t deal with extreme emotion. Sometimes outside circumstances get too chaotic, as when he was involved, against his instincts and judgement, in helping Elliott to break the rules to care for Gina. Joseph reacted to that by having a breakdown and suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder, something he occasionally struggles with when life gets too stressful.

Luke Roberts plays Joseph beautifully. From the way he angles his head to the little quickly-vanishing smile, there’s always a feeling that Joseph’s real personality is zipped inside him.

Last night, he unzipped spectacularly, when he finally realised that his wife Faye is in love with Linden Cullen. Joseph has always had a good right hook (as Mr Geddes discovered a few weeks ago), but this time he lost all control and it was like a volcano erupting. Linden is quite a big man himself but Joseph threw him around like he was a lightweight. And I have to say (though of course Hitting People Is Wrong) – he was absolutely magnificent.

Elsewhere on Holby, Connie still hasn’t got Leslie Ash’s head on a plate, but Leslie Ash seems to be making more enemies every week.

Chrissie had to reassess the doofus who is the father of her child, as she watched him being rather sensitive and lovely with a patient’s relative.

And Daisha is determined to leave Holby and return to the Philippines to be with her little boy.

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Holby City: I can handle it. Trust me

This week’s episode carried on where last week’s left off, with Joseph bringing a badly wounded Daisha into the hospital after a siege in town.

Then the action went back six hours, so basically covered the same time-span as last week’s, but gave a different angle on the action, filling in pieces of the jigsaw which changed our perception of events.

This was particularly illuminating as regards Michael Spence. Last week it looked like he’d been incompetent in not dealing with the emergency properly, but this week we saw he’d actually been properly shafted by Leslie Ash, who made all the mistakes and let him take the blame. She’d agreed to clear the operating theatres and cancel elective surgery – and hadn’t. So the fact that Daisha was left “like an animal” without the proper facilities of HDU that she needed was laid squarely at her door.

When the cry went up for a cardio-thoracic surgeon (the incompetent Geddes having left and Joseph being otherwise occupied), it was time for a hero to save the day. And they don’t get more heroic than Connie Beauchamp. PLA Jr and I spontaneously applauded when Connie appeared, all scrubbed-up and ready to rock, and if the hospital staff hadn’t had their hands full of blood and guts at the time, I’m sure they’d have joined us.

So how did Joseph and Daisha end up in the middle of a siege? Remember Joseph and Faye had had an argument, and Joseph drove off, with Daisha insisting on him giving her a lift. Joseph wanted alcohol, and when he found the off-license closed, he marched into the Indian restaurant next door for three bottles of red wine. And a popadom (they wouldn’t sell him the wine without any food).

Unfortunately for Joseph, the young lad who’d decided to rob the off-license that morning had also found it shut, and also decided to try the Indian restaurant next door. “What sort of person holds up an Indian restaurant?” Joseph wanted to know. It turned out that it was a desperate, scared sort of person, just a young boy. Daisha got shot as the boy tried to leave the restaurant and was confronted by armed police. For some reason she didn’t mention this, and sat in the car with Joseph giving him a pep talk about his hopes and dreams, till she passed out and Joseph spotted that she had a nasty-looking gunshot wound hidden under her coat.

So, will Daisha pull through? Will Connie and Michael manage to oust the incompetent Leslie Ash? Will Faye be able to keep her hands off Linden and make a go of things with Joseph? Or will Joseph finally realise that she is nothing but a misery drain?

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Holby City: Duty before love

With the folks in A&E overwhelmed by something or other, it was up to the rest of Holby City Hospital, and specifically AAU, to deal with the casualties from a bus crash and a hostage situation.

Cue Linden, Jac and Elliott doing extraordinary things under extraordinary stress, the stress largely due to the failings of their fellow staff members. Michael Spence and Leslie Ash made a total pigs ear out of ensuring that operating theatres, ICU and the wards were emptied of non-urgent cases. New consultant Mr Geddes made a fuss in theatre so Elliott had to shout at him and order him out, then he decided his shift was over and he’d pop off home. Young Dr Oliver Valentine was as much use as a bus ticket on a train.

Faye had earlier had an argument with The World’s Most Beautiful Heart Surgeon, and Joseph had gone off in a huff in the car, with Daisha bagging a lift with the grumpy-yet-gorgeous surgeon. Faye was upset, and what with the pressures of the shift and everything, ended up snogging Linden under a fire escape, as you do. But wait! This was no casual snog – she was in love with him, she reckoned. It was enough to make Linden almost smile. Almost.

But then, when Faye finally tore herself away from Mr Cullen and got back to looking after patients, she discovered Joseph’s blood-stained tie on the floor. News of two more casualties from the hostage scene came in – and everyone braced themselves for one of them to be Joseph. Faye had to rush to the chapel for a quick pray, and a quick bargain with God that if only Joseph was safe, she’d stick with her wedding vows and not skip off into the sunset with Linden.

The first casualty arrived, with a makeshift chest drain poking out of him. Who do we know who could improvise a chest drain on the spot? Joseph! And here he was, alive and well and dealing with the second patient, who was critically ill – and was also the lovely Daisha.

Will she survive? Will Linden let Faye walk back into the arms of Joseph yet again? Will Joseph want her back? How long will it be before Mr Geddes gets the sack and Connie Beauchamp is lured back to Holby? Tune in next week, when all, some or possibly none of these things will be revealed. It is Holby, after all.

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Holby City: A thorn in Ric’s side

Marry in haste, repent at leisure, as the saying goes. Not a saying that Ric Griffin has ever paid any heed to, if his marriage and divorce record is anything to go by (“almost as many wives as Henry VIII,” as someone pointed out in this episode).

When Ric sprang Thandie Abebe Griffin upon an unsuspecting Holby, she looked every inch the trophy wife. Beautiful, intelligent, sophisticated. And she turned out to be a right liability, a lethal combination of over-confidence and inexperience, with a whole heap of attitude on top. Everyone sighed with relief when she left.

A few weeks ago she returned, and she’s a little different this time. The willingness to stretch the truth for her own ends is still there, but this time her heart seems to be in the right place, and she has occasionally gone out on a limb for a colleague – she was the one who finally got to the bottom of how Archie died, for example. And it seems that she is still in love with her husband. Such a shame that he can’t stand the sight of her, so that this week, when she announced she would be going for the registrar job on Darwin, Ric did everything he could to block it. Sadly, as per usual Ric finds himself without allies, as Mrs Griffin has impressed everyone from board members to Michael Spence with her CT skills and empathy with patients.

Another youngish doctor whose empathy with patients is legendary is The Stunningly Beautiful Dr Penny Valentine. She almost got in hot water this week with weird anaesthetist Dr Green, but I sense that her caseload was not uppermost in her mind. She was late for work, she seems to have suddenly taken up smoking, and her brother has noticed she’s acting a bit oddly. My guess is that this all has something to do with hunky firefighter and heart transplant candidate Scott James.

Meanwhile, Holly got on the wrong side of Faye and then back on the right side again.

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Holby City: Linden and Faye circling ever closer

At any given time Holby will feature only a certain number of departments. Back in the glory days of Mubbs (oh, how I miss Mubbs) and Owen, we never had our noses out of obstetrics. Before that there were lots of child-centred stories when paediatrics was one of the featured departments. Currently we concentrate our attention on Darwin (cardio-thoracics),  Keller (general surgery) and AAU (acute admissions – kind of a Casualty overflow), with the odd foray into the twilight zone that is Holby Care and the beeping world of HDU.

Last night’s episode involved machinations to get people into different departments. Linden is still hankering after Faye (your guess is as good as mine), so manoeuvred to pluck her from Darwin to AAU for the day, thus spiriting her away from under the nose of her husband, AKA The World’s Most Beautiful Heart Surgeon, Joseph. Linden’s daughter Holly was getting a tad suspicious about the way her father looked like he’d been struck breathless every time the fragrant Mrs Byrne heaved into view, so Linden put in a call – surely Darwin were a bit short-staffed (of course they are – you’ve nicked Faye) and needed Holly’s help?

Linden and Faye are circling ever closer (this plot has been simmering away for what feels like years. They don’t believe in hurrying on Holby), while things between Faye and Joseph are decidedly cool.

Not as cool as the relationship between Ric Griffin and the current Mrs Griffin, Thandie. She did a Jac Naylor by being flexible with the facts so she could assist in an operation with Ric and Elliott (it was one of those “you fix up the heart, and I’ll dig around in his tummy bits” double operations that they enjoy on Holby). Ric was livid when he found out what she’d done, and he wants a divorce. Who remembers when Ric used to be fairly chilled out and not averse to the occasional relaxing herbal cigarette?

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Holby City: Faye has blood on her hands. Sleeve, at least

I don’t like to be the one to cast the first stone, but the facts are these. Faye Byrne, a lady with previous form for pushing husbands down staircases (thought we’d forgotten that, Mrs Byrne?) had a bit of a tussle with Lauren Minster next to a reservoir. Lauren Minster being the woman responsible for the death of Faye’s son.

Next thing we know is that Lauren Minster is brought into AAU half-drowned, and Faye has got blood on her sleeve. You don’t have to be Poirot, do you? But nothing’s ever entirely straightforward on Holby, so we’ll wait and see what really happened, probably via the medium of monochrome flashbacks accompanied by moody music in a couple of weeks.

Meanwhile, everyone received the shock news that Connie Beauchamp has resigned! Please let it not be true! Holby without Connie is an infinitely less pleasing place. I’m hoping Michael Spence will be able to lure her back.

After last week’s lust in the locker-room with Young Dr Oliver Valentine, Jac was back to doing flashy bits of surgery this week. You never know with Jac whether she really is doing what she thinks is best for her patients, or whether she’s just showing off. Ric knows what he thinks, and he doesn’t like it. He had a word with Leslie Ash – either Jac was demoted back to registrar, or he’d follow Connie and resign. So Jac’s precious consultancy has been whipped away from her, and I think it might be safest to avoid her for a while – you wouldn’t like her when she’s angry.

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