(Series 20, ep. 10 ‘Square One’ by Kathrine Smith 6.3.18) There seems to be something of a power-grab going on at Holby. Prof Gaskell, aided and abetted by old chum Roxanna, is about to be installed on the board as Director of Medicine. Have we had one of those before?
Hanssen has given his approval via one of those in-car consultations that he’s specialising in these days. I picture him spending his days sadly patrolling the car park at 15 MPH in case he’s needed, but terrified to get out of the car.
Roxanna’s motives in getting Gaskell a place on the Iron Throne of Holby are altruistic (she thinks it’ll help Ollie to get the treatment he needs, and she believes in the Prof and his work), and I could probably say that about the Prof, though I’m not at all sure I entirely trust him. His guinea pig patient, Fiona, died this week, and in the comfort of his lab the Prof realised that his trial had failed. He’s keeping this news between him and his voice recorder though, and hasn’t told major funder and cheerleader Essie, or Serena, or Roxanna. I’m sure he really believes it’ll work eventually and he mustn’t stop now, but the last person we saw with that kind of attitude to a trial was Fredrik, and look how that turned out. Continue reading
(Series 20, ep. 8 ‘Hard Day’s Night’ by Michelle Lipton 20.2.18) I’m undecided about new registrar Xavier* Duval (Marcus Griffiths), but I think at the moment we’re meant to be. He has his twonkish side (“Delivering a baby is like watching your favourite pub burn down,” whatever that means apart from he can’t be bothered), but then after said baby is delivered (by Meena, Nicky and Donna) he gives Donna his credit card to go out and buy a load of stuff for it because the baby was totally unexpected and the mum (Jamie-Rose Monk, who was excellent) has nothing ready. So I would say he’s a man of gestures. Some are nice gestures and some aren’t, but we’ll have to wait and see what kind of person he is behind the gestures before we can say whether Zav could ever replace Raf. 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