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Holby City: He’s not a well man

(Series 23, ep. 34 by Ciara Conway 23.11.21) I’ve applied my usual critical lens to this episode for Metro, but before you go to read that…

I liked the visual effects that showed us some of what was going on in Ollie’s mind in that operating theatre. It was genuinely unsettling.

It wasn’t just visual effects, though. James Anderson has been so good at revealing different sides to Oliver as his Holby story has unfolded. From the cocky, confident junior doctor, to the more mature version shaped by the loss of his sister, to his current incarnation all of the versions of Oliver Valentine have been believable. Like Jac Naylor, he’s the product of all the stories that have gone before.

And of course Guy Henry tapped into the very deep sadness at the heart of Henrik Hanssen.

Which brings me once again to thinking how absolutely terrible it is that this programme is being axed.

Back to tonight’s episode, and Dominic’s storyline was really interesting. I liked that it was never suggested that Dominic was actually racist, but his attitude to Tianna was carelessness based on what Max identified as ‘unconscious biases.’

So sad to hear that Carole didn’t recognise him, too. No wonder he wasn’t firing on all cylinders.

He learned his lesson, though, and so did Ange. Josh doesn’t need or want to be mother-smothered.

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Holby City: How’s the head? 

(Series 23, ep. 29 by Rebekah Harrison 19.10.21) Please head over to Metro for this week’s review. But before you go…

I said last week that I hoped Ollie’s sense of humour would still be in evidence, and his encounter with Jac in the Linden Cullen Memorial Shrubbery indicated it very much is.

Line of the week: (Jac) ‘How’s the head?’ (Ollie) ’Still more aesthetically pleasing than yours.’

Though viewers of Ru Paul’s Drag Race will know the correct answer to Jac’s question is, ‘I haven’t had any complaints.’ I don’t expect Ollie watches Drag Race.

Pot/kettle moment of the week: (Jac to Ollie) ‘Surely there are other places you could retrain where you haven’t been shot in the head?’ Yes, flower, and there must be other places you could work where you haven’t been shot in the back and all the other stuff that’s happened to you at Holby over the years, but we are where we are.

The Josh bulimia storyline is interesting and I didn’t guess that that might be the ‘health thing’ that was lurking in his past.

I hope he manages to confide in Ange. She would be so understanding and supportive.

I love Jason so much. If he didn’t work for the NHS he should be prescribed on it, because he has a way of knowing how to handle people to make them feel better. It’s his honest and direct approach and his natural thoughtfulness. He’s a wonderful character.

Maybe he’s the one who could get through to Lucky Simpson. He’d do a better job than the misguided Kylie – first time outside in your wheelchair? What you’re bound to want is a framed photo-montage of yourself to remember the occasion by.

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Holby City: Many happy returns

(Series 23, ep. 28 by Patrick Homes 12.10.21) My full review is over at Metro, so please take a look. But before you go…

Oh frabjous day to have Oliver Valentine back. It seemed there was no way back for the character after his catastrophic brain injury after being shot by Hanssen’s son, but never say never on Holby these days.

I love Oliver Valentine. I expect to see him somewhat changed – of course he would have to be, if only by the passing of time – but hopefully with some of that lovely wit that I used to enjoy so much firmly intact.

Line of the week: (Ollie) ’Hello, Henrik.’ And facial expression of the week was Hanssen’s upon seeing his former colleague.

I’m very much looking forward to seeing his first encounter with Jac, too.

Cassie, the imaginary mental health nurse, was an odd one, wasn’t she? I mean, she was imaginary to begin with.

Line of the week 2: (Jac is not impressed by the sheer amount of male chest flesh visible in the locker room) ‘I love the smell of toxic masculinity in the morning. It smells like futility.’

Line of the week 3: (Jac’s amused at the idea that Josh thinks she’s ogling him) ‘As if. Besides, I’m a little young for you, aren’t I?’

I was a little bit confused by Russ Faber, but I don’t care because he was only a device to bring Ollie back.

The Bonfire of Jeni’s Things happened a little close to the hospital for my liking. Trigger warning for anyone caught up in the bomb blast, plus the fumes from all that burning plastic (files and whatnot) must have been quite toxic. There are sick people in that hospital, you know! At least three of them!

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Holby City news: Henrik Hanssen and Oliver Valentine return!

hanssen4It’s the news that thousands of Holby City fans have been waiting for. It’s just been announced that Guy Henry is returning to Holby to reprise his role as Henrik Hanssen, the fabulously tall, enigmatic and looming Swedish former CEO and Director of Surgery. He’s looking forward to it, too:

“I’m so pleased to be reunited with Mr. Hanssen,” he says. “He’s such a weird and wonderful character to play – I’ve missed him! And the cast and crew at Holby are such fun to work with – I’ve missed them too. We don’t know what dark acts may have befallen Henrik during his time away in Sweden but I do believe that, when he looms down the corridors of Holby once more, his wit and his scalpel will be as incisive as ever! Can’t wait – see you on the ice!”

ollie-holby1In other excellent news, it’s also been revealed that James Anderson will be returning as Dr Oliver Valentine. Will he still be angry and bitter following the death of Tara, or will he have regained some of his sunny disposition? Most importantly, will his pig-ear-suturing and coin-juggling skills still be on point?

“I’m so thrilled to be given the opportunity to bring Ollie back to Holby,” he says. “There are lots of surprises in store, but one thing I can say: he’s older now – wiser, even – and I can’t wait to get stuck into playing this altogether more grown up Valentine to the one I left behind. Step up Oliver 2.0! Holby is a wonderful, nurturing family to return to, and I’m hugely excited.”

Also announcing the return of Kaye Wragg playing Essie, Executive Producer Oliver Kent and Series Producer Simon Harper told us,

“Essie was a big hit in her short stint with us earlier this year and so we were really keen to bring her back as soon as we can – finally it’s time to see if romance can happen for Sacha. He really deserves it.

“We were gutted when we lost James Anderson last year and we’ve been trying to persuade him to come back for a while. Finally the threats and thumb screws have paid off and the heart throb of Holby is coming back. He’s going to set someone’s heart a-flutter…

“And finally – HANSSEN IS BACK. The titan of Holby. We are thrilled to welcome Guy Henry back to the Holby family. We can’t wait to see how he gets on with Selfie…”

Sue H

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Holby City: Just to make the day perfect, I kill an old lady

(Series 13, Ep.22) Young Dr Oliver Valentine, aka Boy Valentine, looked so promising when he first appeared in Holby. He was confident, keen, clever and had a winning way with the ladies (Chrissie, Daisha and even – and you’ve got to be confident for this – Jac Naylor). Permanently in his shadow was sister Penny (aka Girl Valentine, aka Pitstop). Apart from her luscious hair, Penny struggled to stand out. Elliott Hope, who sees more deeply into people’s souls than most, championed Penny, but to most people it was Boy Valentine who was the top sibling.

Recently, however, Oliver has been increasingly rubbish. He makes mistakes, he blunders, he lies and he hides behind Penny to cover up what he’s done. And now, we know why. Following yet another error-strewn shift on AAU, during which he thought his carelessness had cost the life of a patient (it hadn’t, as it turned out), Oliver ended up in the basement clutching a pack of sleeping pills. It took Penny a while to find him – I could have told her he’d be in the basement, because they always are (see footnote here). And he made a shocking confession: back in the early days of the Valentine siblings’ medical career, Olly had swapped their exam papers around. Penny had passed her exam, and he hadn’t, but he made it look like she was the one who had failed. Apart from being a blight on poor Pen’s confidence ever since, the fact that Oliver had never passed the original exam (no matter how many exams he might have passed since) means that he is practising medicine illegally.

It’s all too much for Penny, who has gone on a little holiday, and wants Oliver to have told Michael Spence all about his crime before she gets back – or she’ll tell him herself.

Meanwhile, my theory that Sahira and Hanssen are married has been bolstered somewhat by the fact that the writers are being so very cagey about mentioning her home life, and by the odd little looks that Hanssen gives whenever her children are mentioned. Irish Dr Greg thinks he’s in with a chance with her, but if I was him I wouldn’t be bothering with taking my best suit to the dry cleaners just yet.

The tedious Dan Hamilton, bone expert, has his eye on the lovely Chrissie Williams and spent the episode getting information from Sacha about her. Poor Sacha, he’s the loveliest man but Chrissie is, as we know from her previous sexual history, far more likely to go for a boring man with a firm jawline than a complete angel in human form whose look can best be described as “cuddly.”

Next time: Hanssen and Ric clash. Again. And Jac’s in bother – again.

Posted by PLA               (more Holby here)

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Holby City: Cast aside, like a Holby storyline

The Holby City scriptwriters are a puzzling lot. They don’t operate by the traditional rules of soapdom at all. Take this week, for instance, when two plotlines which would have kept Eastenders happy for months and built up to a ratings-boosting climax were almost casually tossed aside.

Last week, Faye was tussling with Lauren Minster at a reservoir (which they kept calling a “river” this week, but it’s a reservoir, and I should know because I walked around it on Saturday). Lauren was brought into the hospital with hypothermia, half-drowned and with various internal injuries which needed Holby’s finest surgeons to sort out. And Faye was very much in the frame for this. Except, by the end of the episode, Faye wasn’t in the frame any longer. Lauren woke up, told the police that Faye hadn’t pushed her and it had been a suicide attempt because she couldn’t live with herself after Archie’s death, and that was that.

A couple of weeks ago, Jac and Young Dr Oliver Valentine had a lustful encounter in a locker room, which was photographed by Beautiful Dr Penny Valentine. This week, Donna (whose camera it was) emailed the photo to everyone in the hospital. How dramatic! Or – how comic! Actually, neither. Everyone more-or-less shrugged and ignored it, and the potentially embarrassing moment when Daisha, who Dr Oliver fancies, almost saw the picture was quickly averted by Jac.

So the main dramatic action of the week was the loss of Matron Judith. Ric wanted to propose a vote of no confidence in Leslie Ash for her handling of the Lauren Minster situation. Leslie Ash wasn’t about to give in gracefully, but decided a head would have to roll to take the heat away from her, so Matron Judith was informed that her contract would not be renewed. Matron Judith has taken the news quite well. She fancied living in Manchester instead of Holby anyway, and she’s still planning to see Jesus Williams at weekends, so it’s all ok. Plus, she’d started wearing her hair down, which I didn’t feel was a very professional look for a matron, so she really had to go.

Connie Beauchamp was mentioned a few times. She’s officially gone from the hospital, but Amanda Mealing’s name still comes up first on the credits at the beginning, and a little bird has told me that she’s been filming recently, so I don’t think we need to mourn her loss just yet.

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Holby City: Oh, Dr Valentine!

“Just relax,” Elliott advised Joseph. Has Elliott never met the world’s most beautiful heart surgeon before? Relaxing is not in Joseph’s nature at the best of times, and when your wife has just been charged with the murder of her son is not the best of times. Joseph wears anguish quite magnificently though, and I was rather loving his stubbly-faced, dark-overcoatedness.

I’ve also started to rather love Thandie, who carries on in the long line of strong, feisty Holby women. Thandie had spotted that Nurse Lauren Minster was getting antsy whenever Joseph or Faye were mentioned, and she decided to do a little digging. When Lauren let drop some remark along the lines of “I made a mistake,” Thandie knew she was onto something, and went at her like a terrier with a rag, until Lauren finally confessed that she’d made a mistake with the drip bags and that was why Faye’s son Archie had wrongly been given potassium. So, finally, Faye is in the clear, and just perhaps Joseph might be able to relax a teeny tiny bit. And have a shave.

Meanwhile, Young Dr Oliver Valentine was making eyes at Jac Naylor (or “Termi-Naylor” as Dr Penny Valentine aptly calls her) over an aortic aneurism. He had to admire Jac’s icy-cool-in-a-crisis demeanour. “He’s in VF!” shouts Young Dr Oliver. “How dull,” sighs Jac, charging up the defibrillator. Young Dr Oliver tried to work out what motivated Jac to go into medicine. Was it being in control? That was it, wasn’t it? She loved to be in control? The lad was fair dripping sexual tension by this point.

Operation successfully over, Jac let herself be vulnerable for a moment, showed him how her hand was shaking, and said she became a doctor because she can fix other people (but, by implication, not herself). Dr Oliver could contain himself no longer and pounced. His sister Dr Penny turned up to find out why he hadn’t turned up at the New Year party, in time to catch a glimpse of her brother and Miss Naylor well and truly at it in the locker room. Luckily she had Donna’s camera with her, so expect some fun and games when that photo gets shared around.

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Holby City: Joseph Byrne’s beautiful mind

Joseph Byrne (the world’s most beautiful heart surgeon) is wearing himself to a frazzle trying to get to the bottom of who killed Archie. We know this because he’s started scribbling clues on sheets of glass, in a manner very reminiscent of the character Russell Crowe played in A Beautiful Mind.

Joseph has a beautiful mind too, as well as a beautiful face, even though derangement has meant he’s temporarily stopped shaving. But he has cracked what killed Archie – it was potassium. And by the end of the episode he’d cracked who’d wrongly administered the potassium – it was Lauren, the nurse who is now conveniently away on holiday. All Joseph has to do is get someone to believe him, or support him, and no-one will, because he came about the evidence in a dodgy manner and it would never stand up in court. What we really need is for Lauren to get back from her holidays and ‘fess up. Then Faye would be exonerated, and Connie and Ric could come back (hurrah!). And Joseph could have a shave and get back to saving lives and being wound up by Jac.

On the subject of Jac, she actually smiled this week! The smile was in the general direction of Young Dr Oliver Valentine, but it was more a smile of pleasure that she’d inflicted a very awkward patient on him than anything else. But still, the Ice Queen does seem to be thawing slightly towards Young Dr Oliver. He is quite a catch, too. Yes, he can be a bit of a dick, but he’s young and male so we’ll cut him some slack. He can also be rather lovely, as in this episode when he supplied said awkward patient with some chicken soup, because she’d told him her granny used to make her it when she was ill and he thought it would soften the blow of having to give her some bad news vis-à-vis her reproductive organs. He also paid for Daisha to go to the Philippines at Christmas to visit her son. Awww.

The Radiant Donna Jackson slipped on some sick early in the episode which was a great chance to swing the lead and spend most of the time having a little rest in a cubicle. Matron made her wear a support collar in case she had whiplash, and Donna blamed this for her poor performance in a test about hygiene on the wards (an initiative cooked up by Leslie Ash apparently for the express purpose of humiliating Chrissie, for reasons I couldn’t quite work out). Maria came first in the hygiene test, meaning she is now ward hygiene monitor and gets a little pay rise. The Radiant Donna was not best pleased.

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Holby City: The most attractive staff in the NHS

Connie, Ric and Faye are still away on “gardening leave” while the cause of Archie’s death remains unexplained. Joseph (the world’s most beautiful heart surgeon) thinks he has explained the death – he’s got his hands on the toxicology report, and some unusual substances had been given to Archie before the point where Faye changed his saline drip – hence, the death had nothing to do with Faye doing that. The problem is that Joseph has nowhere to go with this information, because he obtained it somewhat illegally. Leslie Ash won’t touch it with a bargepole – she’s the kind of chief exec who plays things by the book, unlike Jane Grayson who was a feisty sort who would do whatever it took.

I just hope Joseph has a breakthrough next week. I can live quite happily without seeing Faye on a weekly basis, but Holby is just not the same without Connie. Jac Naylor does her best, and is extremely good at bitchy put-downs, but Connie is in a league of her own. She’s like a sexy, elegant, kitten-heeled, non-swearing version of Malcolm Tucker. If you can picture such a thing.

This week’s storyline revolved mainly around the stunningly beautiful Dr Penny Valentine (Holby really does have the most attractive staff in the entire NHS, apart from the anaesthetists, who are all weird-looking since Art Malik left). Dr Penny had been told to improve her people skills, and she did this by getting just a tiny bit over-fond of a hunky fireman who has only weeks to live unless he gets a heart transplant. One feels it can only end in tears and a particularly mournful song over the closing credits.

Linden’s daughter Holly had her first day as a care assistant, and the radiant Donna Jackson was appointed to look after her. The radiant Donna wasted no time in trying to dig up some info about Linden, who has never divulged much about his personal life. Holly was at first as reticent as her dad, but Donna cracked her and discovered that Linden’s wife had died in a car crash. But our Donna has matured in recent months, and when she got the chance to pass this juicy gossip on, she claimed that she didn’t know anything because Holly was a very private person. I love Donna. She got the best line of the night – after saving a patient with quick thinking and prompt action, she modestly shrugged off Holly’s admiration saying, “I went on a course. Free sandwiches.”

Young Dr Oliver Valentine’s tricky patient of the week was a boy who’d been stabbed by a gang of boys – using his own knife, which he was carrying because his father had told him he must defend himself. This father was severely in need of a trip to Jeremy Kyle for a word with Graham about anger management, and I’m a bit worried we’ll be seeing him again, possibly “tooled-up” next time. We haven’t had a hostage-type-situation on Holby for, ooh, a couple of months now – I’d say one is long overdue.

(More Holby City…)

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Holby City: Another bad week for Maria

maria-donna-holbyThis week Maria had the surgery that could either kill or cure her. Surprisingly, Holby does not have the top spinal surgeon in the country, so they flew him in. He was one of those arrogant types, and the anaesthetist took an instant dislike to him. But hey, if he’s the right man to get Maria walking again, we can put up with him.

Sadly, he was “doing a Nick Jordan” by trying to work when he wasn’t medically fit – in this case because of epilepsy. Poor Maria’s innards ended up looking like a steak and kidney pie, but thanks to Ric Griffin she survived. Whether she’ll walk again, or even poo via the natural route, we shall have to wait and see.

Meanwhile, Chrissie had to tell young Dr Valentine that she was expecting his baby when she came over all funny and had to take to a side room. Sadly she had a miscarriage, and Young Dr Valentine proved that (I’m being kind here) he isn’t quite ready for the demands of fatherhood, as he congratulated himself and Daisha on having lucky escapes from the world of nappy rash and nurseries. Daisha (whose child Little Joseph is being brought up by her sister in the Philippines) wasn’t best pleased.

His sister, Dr Miss Valentine, was doing better this week as she convinced a worried patient to go ahead with a heart transplant, and did a load of admin for Connie, all in the same shift. Connie and Elliott are very pleased with her – the flip side of that particular coin of course being that Jac now hates her.

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