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Holby City: Well that was a shock

(Series 20, ep. 32 ‘Bygones’ by Jon Barton 8.8.18) For my more in-depth look at this week’s episode, please head over to Metro. But before you go, read on for a few random thoughts.

– The scene where Serena helped Evie tell Fletch how she felt and he reacted with tears was brilliant. Alex Walkinshaw and Macey Chipping have such a natural on-screen rapport, and it came across as absolutely realistic and genuine.

– I honestly didn’t guess that the person in the bed at the beginning/end was going to be Jac. I thought Steven, Evie, possibly Essie (though it probably wouldn’t have been Fletch at her bedside), maybe even a patient who’d suffered as a result of Fletch being too preoccupied with his family troubles. So that ending came as a real shock.

– Steven was appearing everywhere – he was in Pulses, he was in Fletch’s office, he was in Albie’s (when Albie’s was actually closed). If he gets this porter job Fletch wants him to go for (and of course he will), expect him to turn up in the basement, on the roof and in random operating theatres. Expect him to find parts of the hospital we didn’t even know existed.

– Sacha’s tears when Essie got the news about her cancer! Bless him, he’s like a well of loveliness. And I’m ever so glad Essie is coming back.

– When Donna drew the man with the beard, I thought it might be Tom Wyrick, the patient on Darwin. That would have put the cat among the pigeons if Lofty had transferred MRSA to Darwin.

– Actually my first thought about Donna’s drawing was that it was Jarvis Cocker.

– It’s amazing how even though most people seem to die or suffer terrible effects not long after the Prof’s scalpel has touched them, everyone is still (just about) convinced he’s a miracle worker.

– I loved Essie’s shirt dress thing.

– And how can Donna just fling a fascinator on her head and look fabulous?

– I’m now desperately worried about Jac. I don’t do prayers, but if any eyelashes fall out this week that I can wish on, I know what I’ll be wishing for.

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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: When life gives you lemons

(Series 20, ep. 30 ‘Two for Joy’ by Ed Sellek 24.7.18) Head over to Metro to read my in-depth review of this beautiful episode. But before you go, here are some random thoughts in handy bullet points:

– Jac failed to win an award, which annoyed her somewhat. ‘I went back to work after being shot in half. The least they could do is put my name on a paperweight,’ she reasoned.

– The Darwin patient never spoke and we didn’t really see him, but we did see his partner Cassie (Ruby Bentall), who was somewhat… odd.

– Fletch told Jac that if she needs a punchbag she can use him. To which I reply, ‘Not his face, though.’

– It seems that Jac still isn’t out of the woods as far as surviving Gaskell’s scalpel is concerned. He’s noticed that she might be having some neuro issues. To which I reply, if Jac needs a punchbag she should use Gaskell, not Fletch.

– There are many reasons to love Lofty, not least of which was his decision to summon Carole Copeland to Holby. It’s been far too long since we last saw Dominic’s mum.

– Donna’s line when she was looking at Lofty’s grandfather’s wedding ring and Lofty asked for it back: ‘All right, Frodo!’

– It warmed my heart to see Dominic, Sacha and Essie back together again on Keller, even if it was only briefly.

– I can’t help thinking that if all those lemons were intended to be squeezed over salmon baguettes in Pulses, they must sell a huge number of salmon baguettes.

– The double proposal was beautiful and funny and touching, and I loved it. I also loved how Carole was so honest about Dazzle – he’s a ‘proper little nightmare’ and not the marrying type – but Lofty knows all that and loves him anyway.

– I’ve enjoyed having Essie back at Holby, and I really hope she’ll be coming back to work now. The relationship between her and Sacha is a beautiful thing, and she’s one of the characters who gives Holby real warmth and heart.

What did you think of the episode? After you’ve had a look at the Metro review, please pop back here to leave your thoughts in the comments section.

Have you got the official Holby City book yet?

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Holby City: Holby’s huggiest medic needs a hug

(Series 20, ep. 29 ‘The Friend Zone’ by Katie Douglas 17.7.18) This week’s in-depth Holby City review can be found at its new home on Metro. Pop over and give it a look (and peruse all their other lovely TV content while you’re there).

Meanwhile, here’s the episode in bullet points:

– Sacha and Patricia. Would that ever have worked? Are their names too awkward to say in the same sentence? We’ll never know now, because she made it quite clear that she doesn’t view him as boyfriend material. The fool.

– Sacha and Essie, though – they are so lovely together. But are they the kind of lovely couple who are better off being friends, or do we want them to get back together?

– It breaks my heart when the cuddliest man in the hospital needs a cuddle himself. Anyone who wants to join a Cuddle Sacha Squad, we assemble at dawn!

– I seriously want to knock Nicky and Meena’s heads together. They’re both good doctors in their way, but if I was a patient I wouldn’t want to be treated by them.

– Even being faced by a young woman with a life-limiting illness didn’t make them stop and think that life was too short for petty squabbles.

– And you’d have to be desperate to want to get back on Gloomy Gaskell’s team.

– I still can’t decide about Zav. Is he a bit of a sweetheart, as Serena is apparently starting to think, or a bit of a twonk? And are he and Donna heading for a romance do you think? If they are, I suppose we’ll have to refer to them as #Dav, because #Zonna is weird and #Xonna is worse.

HOLBY CITY BEHIND THE SCREEN – Celebrate the NHS and Holby City with the official guide to the show.

HALF A WORLD AWAY – My new novel: love and treachery in Cold War Berlin.

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Holby City review: It’s moved!

essie holbyFrom this week I’ll be reviewing Holby City for metro.co.uk , so for the full review that you know and (hopefully) love, please head over there and have a look.

Meanwhile, this week’s Holby in bullet points:

(Series 20, ep. 28 ‘Into the Light’ by Becky Prestwich and Nick Fisher 10.7.18)

– Gaskell taught Roxanna to shriek in the Shrubbery.

– And she needed a good shriek by the end, after discovering that Prof Gaskell has been keeping a lot of secrets about his trial.

– Jac is putting her faith in the Prof and Roxanna to sort out the problems with their trial, despite finding out that another of the test subjects has died.

– Ethan Hunt escaped the ED to roam the big corridors upstairs, where we found he wasn’t exactly a stranger to Roxanna and the Prof (and not just because they watch him on Casualty).

– The Prof ended the episode doing some more of his trademark staring at patients – but the patient this time was none other than Essie Di Lucca.

– Essie was recovering from surgery after Hanssen and a non-speaking obs & gynae expert (where’s Fleur Fanshawe?) had operated on her for ovarian cancer.

– We met Raf’s dad, Enzo.

– Donna was house-hunting, but suitable properties were out of her reach. She’s now decided to train to do botox and whatnot as a way of earning extra cash.

– And they had a lovely selection of cupcakes at Pulses.

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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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