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Holby City: Ric’s animal magnetism gets him into trouble

malick ric holby(Series 15, ep.9)  Is it just me, or does Ric Griffin get suspended on a regular basis? When the episode ended with him clutching the obligatory box of personal office items and gazing mournfully up at the hallowed structure that is Holby City Hospital, I had a distinct feeling of deja vu.

The reason for his current predicament was that Lilah had told Imelda about the kiss she shared with Ric in the wet lab, choosing not to emphasise the “shared” bit, but make it sound like he practically pounced on her. I’m still finding it hard to work out what’s supposed to be going on in Lilah’s mind. Is she (a) just a bit of an idiot (b) a troublemaker or (c) a cut-throat careerist? At the moment I’m tending towards a blend of all three. Imelda, full of sympathy for an abused junior (and thrilled to have something to pin on Ric) told Lilah to go home. “To Australia?” she bleated (lending force to theory (a) there). Imelda didn’t mean Australia, she meant Lilah’s Holby home, but Australia doesn’t sound like such a bad plan to me.

mo jonny holbySomething that was a terrible plan was for Mo to get involved with Albie Who Owns The Bar, what with him being married and a bit creepy-looking and everything. Though, to give him credit where it’s due,  he does own the bar. This week he brought his wife (formerly known as Julie from EastEnders – the one who called Billy Mitchell ‘Skidmark’) in for treatment to the hospital, and because it was a lung condition and Mo has suddenly become the resident lung expert, only Mo would do. This whole scenario was 50 shades of unethical, which Jonny Mac persistently tried to point out. His suggestion that he summon Ms Naylor as a more ethically acceptable substitute fell on deaf ears (not surprising in Mo’s case, as she and Jac have been involved in a territorial dispute for weeks now). EastEnders Julie ended up dead, an outcome which I hope doesn’t come back to bite Mo.   Continue reading

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Holby City: You want to cut a piece of my heart out?

(Series 15, ep.8) What a lifetime of suffering poor Aisha Bose had. Leukaemia, heart disease, failed surgery, failed relationship and, worst of all, her whole life being a metaphor and illumination for the problems of Dr Tara Lo. Aisha was brought back to Darwin with an infection, and it wasn’t looking good. The only option was a spot of heart-rearranging surgery that would buy her some time, but Elliott was forced to admit they were now talking about months rather than years.

oli tara holbyShe was obviously upset and angry, and vented her anger on Dr Tara Lo, who was conveniently never more than a metre from her bedside, frowning at her in an upset way. Tara’s attempts at empathy only got Aisha more and more cross, until she realised that Tara was ill herself. This explained why Tara had been so interested to find out how Aisha’s boyfriend had reacted to her illness (badly) – because she’s been grappling with the problem of whether, or when, to tell Oliver. “Tell him,” was Aisha’s advice. Despite a heart-to-heart in the Linden Cullen Memorial Shrubbery (which looks like something whisked up by Ground Force, according to our Inkface), Tara’s default setting is to push people away. It wasn’t until after Aisha had died on the operating table (poignantly, her last words were to tell Oli to look after Tara) and Elliott had sent the emotional Tara to spend the rest of the shift in the wet lab, that Oli finally managed to crack her. “What’s going on in that head of yours?” he demanded, which prompted an ironic smile and the flinging of some brain scan pictures at him. Unlike most men, Oli is now in the privileged position of having seen  exactly what’s going on in his girlfriend’s head, but it wasn’t good news.  Continue reading

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Holby City: Cupcakes, kisses and kleptomania

(Series 15, ep.7) It’s always good to start an episode with Jac arriving at work on her motorbike and wearing her leathers. Jonny Mac thought so, too. Particularly as the fact that she’d arrived on the bike suggested she hadn’t spent the night with the oily paediatrician of last week‘s episode. Later she confided to him that the paediatrician had ordered for her in the restaurant they went to. Ouch – schoolboy error, there. Jonny Mac looked amused – and relieved. He loves her to bits and, though I never imagined myself saying this, I’m rooting for the lad. If Jac would only let him, he’d be really good for her. He respects her, but he’s not scared of her. Most importantly, he makes her laugh. She needs a bit of fun in her life to balance out her natural intensity.

She had good reason to be intense this week. Under orders from Imelda to get through her list efficiently and not take on any more cases, she took on another case, and it was a tricky one – Nina, a 15 year old girl with a heart problem, who was pregnant after being raped. Imelda (“She’s like someone who collects cats and pretends they’re real people,” said Oliver, who’s always reliable for an amusing quote) ordered Nina to be transferred to the Mythical St James, but Jac, Jonny and Oli cracked on and operated anyhow. Jac got emotionally involved with this case, possibly partly due to the humanising effect of Jonny on her life but also because it involved a child (two children, including the baby), and Jac’s finer feelings are often stirred by children. She was magnificent, anyway, giving support to Nina and giving her dad a pep talk when he needed it.   Continue reading

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Holby City: Excellent! Onwards!

(Series 15, ep.6) Looming is not a technique that suits everybody. It’s best left to the tall, dark and enigmatic. The new CEO of Holby City, Imelda Cousins (Tessa Peake-Jones) doesn’t have the stature to pull off a loom, so her technique is apparently to be everywhere at once, like the administrative equivalent of a flea infestation. Imelda comes across as a bit dotty and eccentric (she says things like “Lordy!” and her exclamation of “Onwards!” has already become a catchphrase at PLA Towers), but she’s actually acute and tough.

Naturally, this was difficult for the other staff members to cope with. Ric said the last person they needed in charge was a “jumped-up nurse manager,” particularly when she had strong views about staff deployment. She wanted Lilah back on AAU, so Ric decided to keep her on Keller, just to show who was in charge, come what may. “Come what may” turned out to be a near-disaster in theatre, after Lilah gave the patient Heparin and he bled all over the place. It wasn’t Lilah’s best day at the office – she got punched by the patient’s wife as well. Imelda neatly pulled the rug out from under Ric by putting Lilah under Malick’s supervision.

I felt sorry for Lilah, but not as sorry as I felt for Jonny Mac. I admit I didn’t like him when he first appeared. He seemed like a bit of an idiot and I didn’t think he was any match for the glorious Jac. I have now done a complete reversal and I think he’s lovely – he’s kind, funny, sweet, tries too hard, messes up. He’s human, in other words, but “human” isn’t quite enough for Jac, whose standards in all things are impossibly high. She really does like him, but whenever he questions her clinical judgement that’s it – he’s out. And then she went off on a date with paediatrician Prof Gleeson – on Jonny’s birthday as well! And Mo was nowhere to be seen, either. Probably off with that creepy man from the bar. Poor Jonny.   Continue reading

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Holby City: Who’s sitting at Hanssen’s desk?

(Series 15, ep.5)   “Who is running Holby City?” Ric wanted to know when he discovered Henrik Hanssen had taken a leave of absence (that’s “leave of absence,” worried Hanssenites – they mentioned him so often in this episode that I’m quite confident he’ll be back. It’s Luc Hemingway all over again). Ric was not perked up to discover that the answer to his question was (temporarily) Serena Campbell, a woman with whom he does not exactly see eye to eye.

She’s confident, that Serena. Her job interview was more like a sales pitch to the board.  “I have what I believe is a compelling solution,” she briskly informed them. “Me.” The thing with Serena is, although she does display flashes of warmth, she is really all about the balance sheet. As such, she did look scarily comfortable in Hanssen’s chair.

Everyone wanted Ric to go for the CEO job, because Michael Spence and Elliott Hope weren’t interested in it and everyone is scared of Serena. The four of them seemed to be the entire candidate pool. I don’t have any particular knowledge of NHS administration, but I couldn’t help thinking this wasn’t the most realistic scenario I’d ever come across. What it did do, however, was set Ric up for the classic patient v future-of-the-hospital dilemma. He had a patient who was about to have a kidney transplant, and the kidney she was about to get might or might not give her cancer. Serena thought it would be dreadful publicity for the hospital if they gave a patient cancer, but Ric felt the kidney was the only option for the patient. It wasn’t ideal that his interview for the CEO job meant he had to leave the operation early and leave the suturing up in the capable hands of The Malick. Naturally the machines started going beep while he was away, and by the time he got back to theatre there was blood everywhere. “You take the vein, I’ll take the artery,” said Ric.   Continue reading

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Holby City: Small things done in a great way

(Series 15, ep.4)   Not wanting to run into board member Cunningham, Hanssen pressed the B button on the lift and found himself in the basement. The basement is generally the place Holby cast members go to collapse, be attacked or have a sulky smoke. Nothing good generally happens there, but on this occasion, Hanssen found himself chatting to a Polish porter, Karol, whose job was under threat. This porter was a wise old sort, although he was blissfully unaware that he was talking to Henrik Hanssen, somewhat implausibly, given that Hanssen’s face had been all over local newspapers and TV news for weeks. It reminded me of the encounter between Kevin and the owner of the toy store in Home Alone 2: Lost In New York (I’m sorry, but that film is my cultural touchstone). Karol was a people-person and liked to make a difference to the people he worked with. He had the following advice: “If you can’t do great things, do small things in a great way.”   Continue reading

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Holby City: Where’s the camoxidan when you need it?

(Series 15, ep.3)   I watched this episode with a befuffled head, thanks to having a very nasty cold. I say this by way of apology for the fact that this is such a poor-quality blog post. Having spent most of the day slumped in a sneezing heap watching Judge Judy from beneath heavy eyelids, frankly my powers of concentration weren’t what they should have been come 8 PM. Maybe camoxidan would have helped, but I’m willing to bet, now Eddi’s gone, camoxidan will never be mentioned on Holby again. People will go back to getting good old-fashioned paracetamol for pain.

Seeing Ianto Jones from Torchwood popping up on Keller didn’t help my confuzzlement. He (Gareth David Lloyd) was playing new boy Rhys Hopkins. I’m not quite sure what his job title was – I thought he said he was a radiographer, but he seemed to be doing generally doctorly stuff (and possibly dealing with aliens in the basement). As I said, I wasn’t at the peak of my powers, concentration-wise. That naughty Mary-Claire tried to get Chantelle into trouble with him by letting him think it was Chantelle who’d confused saline for anaesthetic. Our Chantelle doesn’t make mistakes like that, and as well as proving herself to be jolly competent on her first day as a staff nurse, she was also invited out for an end-of-shift drink by Ianto Jones Rhys.

There was another new person on AAU in the shape of junior doctor Lilah Birdwood (Natasha Leigh). I’m not sure about her yet – I don’t think we quite saw enough of her to know which way her personality is going to go. And Hanssen and Jac had to grapple with their priorities when a member of the board’s daughter needed an operation but Elliott also had the opportunity to try out his Herzig 3 on Aisha (that’s not a euphemism). This week’s guest star collapsing in the car park (there is always one) was Jack Ryder, formerly of EastEnders.

Next time: Hopefully I’ll have recovered and will be able to offer something a bit more entertaining than the above. In Holby, Jonny finds himself trying to keep both Mo and Jac happy; Sacha has a go at being a consultant; and there are dramatic events for Hanssen. Even more dramatic than being locked in the back of a van with only an upset man and a staple gun for company.

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