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Holby City: Sacha at the end of his tether

(Series 20, ep. 35 ‘Man Down’ by Michelle Lipton 28.8.18) For a full review of this remarkable episode, whizz over to Metro. Before you go, a few additional thoughts:

– What a brilliant performance by Bob Barrett. Since Sacha had his initial breakdown when he was shoplifting etc, he’s seemed fine on the surface but at times a sadness, despair or anger has leaked out. But Sacha is the man who looks after everybody else, and as this episode showed, those are the people who sometimes don’t feel they’re allowed to ask for help (for more on how Bob Barrett sees this aspect of Sacha’s character, have a look at his chapter in the Holby book).

– I loved Ric Griffin’s entirely logical, sensible, reading of the situation in the earlier scenes on the roof. He seemed to have a response to everything Sacha said, but it was in that way that’s trying to be helpful but isn’t really helpful because it’s making assumptions and not really listening to what the other person is saying. It was fantastic writing by Michelle Lipton, and perfectly acted by Hugh Quarshie who showed us that Ric went on a journey of understanding as he finally realised how bad things were with Sacha. His response at the end, to really listen, to hug, to quietly talk, was what Sacha really needed.

– Connor really was a lovely character and I was so impressed with Luke Higgins. Connor was funny and kind and flawed and very loveable, as he had to be to make us feel the extent of Sacha’s pain when he couldn’t save him. I loved how Tyler was there at the end to give Sacha a glimpse of hope.

– Holby just looks gorgeous these days. It looks like a feature film or big, heavyweight dramas like Line Of Duty. The production team all show real ambition and vision in the way they bring the stories to the screen. The scene with Sacha on the roof and Ric hurrying into the hospital building below – all in the same shot – took my breath away.

– If you haven’t seen my interview with Bob Barrett about the episode, have a look here. He also told me some juicy snippets about things coming up which I can’t possibly divulge right now, but let’s just say that there’s a lot of exciting stuff ahead!

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Holby City: The mysterious smoking man

(Series 20, ep. 31 ‘Child in Your Shadow’ by Elliot Hope and Johanne McAndrew 31.7.18) Here’s this week’s Holby City summarised in handy bullet points. For my more in-depth review, please head over to Metro.

– I loved Jac being too posh to push Fletch’s car, but at the same time being willing to help him out. I still don’t know if romance is possible between them, or whether I even think that would be a good idea, but I love their friendship.

– It’s also lovely how Holby keeps reminding us of Arthur Digby, with Serena pointing out that one of the F1’s was very much like him.

– Henrik Hanssen is very good at wrapping presents. He’s also very thoughtful with his gift-giving. Despite Roxanna’s reaction, that little brooch that reminded him of her student days said so much.

– Evie and Fletch together are always brilliant, and Macey Chipping is such a good actress. 

– Donna sticking up for Fletch with social services was really nice to see. Donna can be so kind.

– When Serena said that Meena and Nicky needed taking down a peg or 12, I heartily agreed. I was thinking more along the lines of the time Michael Spence rammed little admin guy George Binns’ head towards a corpse though. Maybe I wouldn’t be such a great mentor.

– Essie is apparently going to be ‘head bridesmaid’ for Lofty and Dominic’s wedding. I also want Zosia to come back to be a bridesmaid.

– Hanssen’s face when Dominic told him he was happy. I love how Hanssen cares for his people.

– Jesse Birdsall was well cast as Fletch’s dad. You can see an Essex geezer through-line from him via Fletch down to Mikey ‘Artful Dodger’ Fletcher.

– Fans of Holby/Casualty crossovers will have been pleased to hear Evie mentioning the time Fletch ran off with Tess-from-Casualty. Fletch was less pleased to hear this.

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Holby City: Cradle to grave

(Series 20, ep. 27 ‘The Anniversary Waltz’ by Joe Ainsworth 3.7.18) This episode was Holby City’s tribute to the NHS on its 70th anniversary, and it was full of lovely moments.

It was topped and tailed with voiceovers of Ric, Serena, Xavier and Jac talking about what the NHS means to them. To Serena “it’s a beautiful thing – a health service available to all, from cradle to grave.” Ric agrees: “Every patient who comes through those doors is equal.” Xavier, meanwhile, likes “the action, the buzz.” And Jac? “None of your business.” Jac doesn’t gush, not even for the NHS.

Holby was the receiving hospital for casualties when the roof of Holby indoor market collapsed. Beds were cleared, protocols were enacted, everyone had to be on top of their game. Patient Lennie Jefferies (Gary Beadle) immediately recognised Serena – or “Dr McKinnie,” as he’d known her. Many years earlier he’d been stabbed in a knife fight, and the young doctor who’d saved him had been Serena. Not only had she saved his life, but she’d inspired him to turn his life around and he was now a father and a model citizen. When he was found to be suffering from some nasty internal injuries it fell to Serena again, with Ric’s help, to try to save his life. Again she succeeded. 

I emitted a small squeaking sound when Lennie was visited later by his daughter. Her name was Serena.  Continue reading

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Holby City: Killer microbes everywhere

(Series 20, ep. 26 ‘Fallen Idol’ by Kathrine Smith 27.6.18) Nicky accidentally dropped a flask of what may or may not have been E. coli, meaning she and Xavier were trapped in a room with only half a bag of chicken crisps for company while they waited for the decontamination team to arrive. “I didn’t know I was stepping into a toxic germ-dungeon,” Zav complained, though he’s worked so much on AAU that he must be used to it by now.

This was the opportunity for some serious truth-telling, with Zav telling Nicky she wastes her potential by drinking too much and having a bit of a chaotic lifestyle. In return she had a go at him about how he was a rubbish boyfriend to Meena, and we finally found the deep secret in his past – that his parents blame him for his younger brother’s death. That’s as much as we were told, which was a bit annoying because in real life someone with the famed people skills of Nicky would have wanted Detail. I know I would have. Possibly the details are being left for another time, maybe when Maman et/ou Papa Duvall appear in person having succumbed to the Curse of the Holby Relative and in need of the medical skills of their sibling-killing son.  Continue reading

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Holby City: Risky business

(Series 20, ep. 25 ‘Primum Non Nocere, Part Two’ by Patrick Homes 20.6.18) This episode started exactly where the last one left off, if we ignore a bit of preamble with Prof Gaskell muttering ominously to an unseen someone on a ventilator. Meena had just told the Prof of her worries about the trial, and Jac was just about to go into surgery.

Abi had found someone called Dr Philippe Duplessis (Wela Mbusi) who was keen to watch Jac’s op. He was in a similar line of research to the Prof, only his trials were confined to mice. He was excited to see a guinea pig instead, in the form of Holby’s top CT surgeon.

Jac was having a few pre-op worries – the anaesthetist had gone AWOL, the Prof kept wandering off, it was looking like a bit of a shambles – but she went ahead anyway.  Continue reading

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Holby City: It must be love

(Series 20, ep. 22 ‘Only a Word’ by Nick Fisher 29.5.18) You know that everyone in Holby is under the influence of The Curse – that thing that makes the friends, relatives and even casual acquaintances of Holby staff at high risk of accident or serious illness. The Curse was in full effect all over the place this week.

Frieda thought she’d seen the last of Roman, but here he was once again at her door. “Did you order one hot and handsome Ukrainian?” he asked, and this was as light and fun as the encounter got. Because Roman, having recovered from his own wounds, had now brought someone else for Frieda to stitch.  Continue reading

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Holby City: Whose head?

(Series 20, ep. 20 ‘Blind Spot’ by Katie Douglas 15.5.18) Oh, Fletch. At the beginning of this episode we saw him waking up in bed alongside a blonde head (presumably attached to a body, unless Holby has gone very twisted). But whose blonde head could it be?

Flash-back 24 hours, and who should appear at Holby but Sydney Somers (Gemma Oaten), now in charge of the agency that provides the hospital with extra nurses. When she last appeared there was a bit of a spark between her and Fletch, and she has blonde hair, too. It seemed the mystery was solved.

Fletch and Sydney clashed over the agency workers’ terms and conditions of employment, and it almost ended with the agency refusing to supply any nurses at all, which would have meant Donna missing Mia’s school concert. At the last minute, Fletch and Sydney thrashed out a solution and went to Albie’s to celebrate. Which is where they got drunk and ended up sleeping together, yes?  Continue reading

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