(Series 20, ep. 7 ‘Precipice’ by Tony Higgins 13.2.18) Poor Ollie. It looked like he was on the mend last week, but this week the bullet that’s still in his brain started leaking poison. It would have to come out, said Roxanna. This threw Ollie into a proper rage (how brilliant is James Anderson being at the moment?), and he said it should have been Roxanna who got shot, not him. Bless him, he’s not himself at all, is he? That’s not normal Ollie behaviour. He accused Roxanna of using him as a way of avoiding her grief over her dead husband (whose ashes were in her desk drawer), and he was right about that – she’s been living at the hospital because she can’t face going home. I bet she’s pleased she opted for that low-maintenance hairstyle now, hospital facilities being what they are.
But back to Ollie and his life-or-death surgery, which he only agreed to after Prof Gaskell had a quiet word (and I mean quiet – he’s got one of those voices that’s more of a vibration than a sound, and I have to say I find it rather thrilling as long as he isn’t overdoing it with the poetry). Predictably, things went a bit beep in theatre, but Ollie came through it, only to wake up from the anaesthetic temporarily unable to see, hardly able to move, and convinced he was still engaged to Zosia. Nooo!!! Continue reading
(Series 20, ep. 6 ‘Not Your Home Now’ by Patrick Homes 7.2.18) She’s back! And she has several new blouses!
With Hanssen in emotional and psychological meltdown following his son’s recent gun rampage, he had to find a safe pair of hands to look after the hospital. Who better than Serena Campbell, now fully recovered from her own traumas and ready to – temporarily – take the Holby helm.
She kept emphasising, to anyone who assumed otherwise, that she was only there for about a month at most. Her heart, and her future, was with Bernie, who as we speak is setting up a trauma unit in Nairobi. Hands up who would like to see that as a spin-off series? Bernie got loads of mentions, because everyone wanted to know how she is, and we were left in no doubt at all that Serena would be Nairobi-bound at the earliest opportunity. Continue reading
(Series 20, ep. 5 ‘One Day at a Time’ by Isla Gray 30.1.18) Prof Gaskell is a strange one, isn’t he? He spent a good chunk of this episode reciting poetry, either to himself or to patients, in a somewhat doomy voice. I can’t help thinking it’s not really what you want when you’re just coming round from anaesthetic.
The patient he was reciting William Blake to at the end was a mystery person in Lisbon. Was this a flashback, or had he nipped to Lisbon quickly at the end of the shift? And is this mystery person (relative? partner?) the reason why he’s so driven to succeed with his stem cell treatment?
So many questions. I expect we’ll get answers, and probably more questions, in the coming weeks and months. In the meantime, this was the week of his pioneering operation, which was so pioneering it was on live video link to the entire hospital and, indeed, the world. Plenty of pressure there for Prof Gaskell (who deals with pressure via the aforementioned poetry), Meena (who trembles, drops things and hides in out-of-order toilet cubicles) and the patient, Fiona (Shannon Murray). The surgery was apparently a success, despite a very hairy moment when I was sure Meena was going to drop the graft on the floor. I wonder if the 30 second rule applies in operating theatres? Continue reading
(Series 20, ep. 4 ‘Hanssen Is as Hanssen Does’ by Joe Ainsworth 23.1.18) I’m actually quite annoyed that writer Joe Ainsworth used the title ‘Hanssen Is As Hanssen Does’ before I’d thought of it. It’s brilliant.
And it gave us a clue straight away that it was going to be quite a Hanssen-focused episode. The poor man was struggling with the psychological after-effects of his son going on a shooting rampage around the hospital, and we saw various flashbacks of Fredrik in his rather dashing ‘We need to talk about Fredrik’ gunman outfit. Not that Hanssen was pondering how Fredrik really rocked the hoodie-and-boots look. He was too busy thinking about the lives lost or altered forever, and that sort of serious and sad thing. His veneer of calm was still there, but it was paper-thin and you could see it was a struggle for him just to keep functioning. Continue reading
(Series 20, ep. 3 ‘There by the Grace of…’ by Elliot Hope and Johanne McAndrew 16.1.18) Many years ago I used to work with people who had physical disabilities. I think it says a huge amount about James Anderson’s well-observed, thoughtful acting that, in this episode, Ollie reminded me really strongly of a man I worked with who was disabled after a head injury – the speech patterns, the mannerisms – and I hadn’t thought about that man for years.
For plot reasons, Ollie was on AAU this week. Roxanna thought it would be helpful for him to have the stimulus of being surrounded by people barfing on other people’s shoes all day long, but just in case it was too much he was popped into a side room and the staff were told not to get him over excited. Continue reading
(Series 20, ep. 2 ‘Ready Or Not’ by Robert Goldsbrough 9.1.18) When we left Ric Griffin surrounded by violent thugs at the end of the last episode, I wondered whether we’d next see him at Holby as a patient. Instead, we saw this week that he had been badly injured, but not as badly as fellow inmate Danny (Gruffudd Glyn), who was brought in to AAU in a bit of a mess.
Danny passed a message to Sacha that Ric didn’t want Donna going to the prison, so Sacha got Fletch to ask her to work overtime. Then Sacha went to the prison on his own.
Sacha is full of compassion and kindness, but he doesn’t have the same level of street-smarts as Ric does. Ric is just about surviving in the prison because he knows it’s best to keep your head down and your mouth shut. When Sacha discovered that Ric had been beaten up, he had to do something to help. Continue reading
(Series 20, ep. 1 ‘The Prisoner’ by Ed Sellek 2.1.18) This stand-alone episode dealt with four days in the life of Ric Griffin, in prison on remand following his assault on Jeremy Warren, and Oliver Valentine, returning to the word after being in a coma since being shot in the head.
Ric might have a posh voice and an air of refinement, but he has great intelligence, a boxer’s instincts and he’s seen a bit of the world. While prison obviously came as a huge culture shock for him, he navigated prison politics quite well. When he was befriended by a prisoner called Dillon (played by the brilliantly named Chord Melodic), it took him a little while to realise that Dillon had an agenda – he wanted Ric to use his medical contacts in the outside world to get drugs into the prison. As soon as he’d worked out what was what, Ric refused to have any part of the scheme – with the result that he’s now a marked man. Indeed he’s possibly literally marked by now, because when we last saw him he was surrounded by Dillon’s thugs in the prison yard. Continue reading