(Series 19, ep. 18) Hanssen was back, but he wasn’t wearing the tie of authority. he was wearing the open-necked shirt of civilian life. “Avante garde for the NHS,” according to Dominic. Hanssen wasn’t there as CEO, but as a patient’s relative. His son Fredrick (William Postlethwaite – son of Pete) had been in an accident, and needed surgery.
There was a strange drug in Fredrick’s system, the fictional Oxamorol, manufactured by Lovborg, the family business now run by Fredrick. It was a magic bullet for depression, according to Fredrick. Hanssen was devastated to think that he might have passed his own depression to his son.
The truth was actually even more devastating than that. Fredrick was using himself as a guinea pig to test the drug, which had already been shown to have nasty side effects including possible and actual death. He was willing to risk his own life, but also to cover up the negative trials that had already been done. And he didn’t even have depression, dismissing Hanssen’s condition as a weakness. Continue reading
(Series 19, ep. 6) He’s been the egotistical brain surgeon that everyone loved to hate, or just simply hated. And as such, Guy Self has been a magnificent villain and possibly the most aptly named character ever. This Guy was all about himSelf: a smarmy super-ego who didn’t mind whose feelings were trampled over to get what he wanted.
And yet, by the end, I think everyone will have been pretty much rooting for him. Over the past few months, the writers and John Michie have been steadily filling in the blanks about Selfie’s past life that put his character and his actions into perspective. We’ve always known about his dead wife, and his sometimes fractured relationship with his daughter. Occasionally his treatment of Zosia has been cold and heartless, at other times he’s given her the support she needed, but it’s always been obvious that he loves her. Since we met his monstrous mother (and what a brilliant performance that was from Brigit Forsyth – it was a shame she was killed off so swiftly) and discovered his background of abuse, it’s been clearer why he acted like he did. He craved approval, and he only knew one path through life, which was through ambition and success. His template for being a parent was based on what his own parents had given him, and the loss of his wife had thrown him back on that as the only way he knew how to be. Continue reading
(Series 19, ep. 5) The very first scene was an unconscious Tristan (frankly, that’s the best kind of Tristan) bleeding all over a passport. Then a flashback to 24 hours earlier.
Despite the episode being called ‘Song of Self, Part One,’ Selfie didn’t do any actual singing. He might have been in the mood for singing to begin with – his Self Centre was about to be built (would they have to flatten the Linden Cullen Memorial Shrubbery to create space for it? Surely not! Serena’s mum’s ashes are there) and the future was looking rosy. He even told his support group that he was finished with them now, because with his Self Centre he wasn’t Nothing or No-one any more.
At the heart of the episode, the story got very dark indeed. Tristan’s nasty side turned out to be far nastier than anyone had suspected. Jemima, back in the hospital after she’d been run over trying to run away from Tristan, was discovered to be pregnant. And Selfie deduced that she was pregnant because Tristan had raped her. Continue reading
(Series 18, ep. 30) I do love Jemma Redgrave. In a very short time she’s established Bernie Wolfe as an interesting, multi-dimensional character. Even before we discovered the truth about Alex there was always a below-the-surface vulnerability about her, though she presents herself as feisty and confident.
Her confidence clearly doesn’t carry through to her personal life, because despite her decision to stop living a lie and ask her husband for a divorce, when he appeared on Keller as a locum it was clear that she hadn’t told him the whole story. Even worse, she was terrified that Dominic would tell him about Alex. So she texted Dominic (who was keeping Digby company in chemo) to say please don’t say anything. But who knew there was a Dominic Copeman (as opposed to Copeland) in Anaesthetics? What a coincidence! And it seems that he loves a gossip, and soon everyone and the lady in Pulses knew, and Bernie’s secret love was no secret any more. Continue reading
(Series 18, ep. 9) You know I’m not a violent person, but by the end of this episode I wanted to kick something. Anything, but preferably Nurse Fran Reynolds.
Alarm bells should have been ringing as soon as she announced to Jac that cardiothoracics is her “passion.” That’s a word that’s used all over the place – we’ve probably all bought a sandwich from a company that declares itself to be “passionate” about sandwiches.
Passion goes down very well at Holby these days. Essie has already been praised for hers, and in this episode Jesse was praised for his (passion and compassion, but more of that later). Passion manifests itself in different ways, though. For Jac Naylor, passion for the job means working hard, being excellent, always improving. What it doesn’t mean is all the touchy-feely stuff that Fran thinks it means. Continue reading
(Series 18, ep.1) Three years just flies by, doesn’t it? It only seems like yesterday that Mo was almost fracturing Jac’s hand while giving birth to baby William in one of my favourite episodes ever. When she handed the baby to his biological mother Sorcia and they emigrated to Canada, she probably thought she wouldn’t see much of him apart from a progress report in a round-robin email at Christmas.
The lure of Holby proved too much for Sorcia, though, so the family was only a few miles away from the hospital when the Curse of the Holby friend/relative struck and so did a passing vehicle. The result was that Sorcia’s partner ended up in a very bad way indeed, and after an apparently healthy pause, so did Sorcia. Despite the best efforts of Mo and Sacha, she died. Meanwhile little William (Jackson Allison), now three years old, was wandering around the hospital being quietly adorable (apart from when he smacked Oliver Valentine in the face with a colouring book). Continue reading
(Series 17, ep.46) Why is Selfie still at Holby? And why are we still having to endure him working through the loss of his wife? I know that sounds heartless, but he’s fictional so I don’t feel too bad about it.
He’s had some brochures printed for his Self Centre of Neurosurgery. They have a picture of him on the cover (just to tempt any funders who may be enticed by craggy features) and they reminded me of Plastic Bhatti, another ego on a stick who liked pictures of himself in brochures. Look how he turned out.
Anyways, the Self Centre was temporarily shunted down to AAU this week, because Keller was apparently full, but it turned out to be handy when a face from Selfie’s past appeared with a broken wrist. Milly (Amber Aga) had gone through chemotherapy with Selfie’s late wife, so it was almost inevitable that she would have more than a broken wrist wrong with her. What she had was cancer in her brain, and Selfie persuaded her (against her wishes, really) to have surgery. This was only partially successful and Milly died, leaving her husband distraught and Selfie drowning his miserable sorrows in Albie’s and picking fights with Jesse (who apparently used to be a surgeon. Did we know this or is it new?). Continue reading
(Series 17, ep.33) Following last week’s Whisper With The Dangerous Edge, this week Hanssen showcased his mastery of the Long Scary Pause. He gave Elliot a little talk along the lines of needing to have everyone working well because a team was only as strong as its weakest link. Elliot tried a bit of humour with “You are the weakest link. Goodbye.” To which Hanssen replied, “I beg your pardon?” followed by that LSP. Not an Anne Robinson fan, then.
The weakest link on Elliot’s sadly depleted team is currently Oliver Valentine, because he’s still being O. Negative and his “gap yah” (as Jesse insisted on calling it) hasn’t really helped him sort his post-Tara life out. Continue reading
(Series 29, ep.28) The very sad Alfred Maxwell story continued, and we found that Connie had been visiting him in his care home after work every day. Alfred was unable to speak any longer and relied on spelling words out by blinking. The words he spelled out to Connie were stark: “Help me die.”
Charlie has, of course, been in exactly the same position with beloved Megan, so he was well placed to advise Connie. “It’s a hard way to say goodbye to a friend,” he said. Connie also knows this, having supported Elliot Hope on his trip to the assisted suicide clinic with his wife Gina, who also had MND. This scene was classic Charlie – some wise words and that middle-distance stare that’s his trademark. No matter how dire the circumstances get, you feel like the world is still balanced nicely on its axis as long as Charlie’s around. Continue reading
(Series 17, ep.4) Imagine you were given this choice: you could either go and work in a hospital in Chicago, where all the doctors look like George Clooney and Noah Wyle (or they used to). Or you can stay at Holby and spend your days being belittled in front of bigwigs and taken for granted by Selfie.
This was the choice offered to Top Nurse Colette Sheward, and the only surprise was that it took her almost 60 minutes to reach her decision.
I’ve never been a fan of Colette – the character was initially promising, but a combination of being tainted by association with Selfie and her deadpan delivery made her hard to warm to. It’s only been in recent-ish episodes, in her interactions with Serena and Fletch, that a softer side to her personality has really come out. But in this episode, I really felt for her. She so much wanted to fix everything for Selfie – sorting out his patient with her top quality people skills and doing her best to help Zosia, only to have it all thrown back in her face by a man who’s so arrogant and so wrapped up in himself that he has no idea that other people have feelings. Or maybe he does: “I spend all day manipulating people’s feelings,” he told Colette. “It’s just grey matter.” Says it all, really. Continue reading