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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: Jac’s dying! Or is she?

(Series 20, ep. 33 ‘Bargaining’ by Katie Douglas 14.8.18) For a full-length review of this super-tense episode, head over to Metro. Before you go, here are some random thoughts:

– Serena telling that porter that his arm would have to be amputated was a bit much, wasn’t it? Isn’t there something in the ethics handbook about that sort of thing?

– It must have been the lightest script that Rosie Marcel has had recently. I think the longest sentence she had to learn was ‘Fix me.’ 

– Prof Gaskell banging his head on the desk was amusing. Was it frustration that his trial is so close to succeeding, yet it inconveniently keeps killing people?

– The Prof kind of reminds me of Donald Trump in the way that he rejects people who are critical (Roxanna) and tries to surround himself with people who can reflect his own magnificence back at him (Essie). Obviously he has nicer hands and better hair than Donald Trump though.

– There’s a lot of blue, glowing stuff around Holby recently. They also have it in the new operating theatre on Casualty. I don’t know what it is, but it’s very pretty.

– Serena’s comment, ‘I’m a hell of a woman, Jason, and I intend to keep it that way.’ Are Berena fans worried about Serena’s susceptibility to flattery from Steven? Should Bernie be worried?

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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: 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: Summer trailer – the highlights

“What are you doing in my bedroom?” Frieda asks a somewhat naked Xavier. More to the point, what is she doing in her bedroom, as she seemed to have left last week.

Carole Copeland! Always a joy. Please let her meet Sheilagh soon.

 

Berena reunited! A nation rejoices. But there are hints that this might mean Serena will be leaving, which would fling a nation into mourning.

 

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