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Holby City: Farewell Connie Beauchamp, toughest of all cookies

(Series 13, Ep.11) This episode covered, literally, miles. It started and ended at St Pancras Station, where Jac was collecting some organs for transplantation and heading back to Holby with them on the back of her motorbike. Or she was showing an ambulance how to get to Holby by leading them on her motorbike. Either way, it was all a bit odd, but they were special organs, what with being a very rare back-to-front heart and lungs combo and all.

Faye Byrne was Christmassing with the scary female members of the Byrne family, Joseph’s mother Jane Asher and sister Cruella, plus Cruella’s children. This was in a lovely Regency townhouse somewhere in the vicinity of Primrose Hill, London. But when Faye decided she’d had enough Byrne-type meddling in her affairs, she popped in a taxi and moments later was back in Holby again. This is Holby which used to actually be Bristol. The taxi driver must have been thrilled with that fare.

Faye’s plan was to take baby Harry and a load of money from her and Joseph’s joint account, and escape to France, but she’s not very good with the Eurostar booking system, printers or online banking. This enabled Jac to apprehend her, once again at St Pancras, and off they went back to Holby again, to “tell Joseph.”

Anyway, all’s well that ends well on that front, as Faye agreed to let Joseph look after Harry (you’d only have to see him holding a baby and you’d ovulate just to oblige him) and she went off to Paris to work in a hospital there. Remind me to never get ill in Paris.

Meanwhile, Connie Beauchamp was getting increasingly stressed and upset by her father’s illness and the way people have turned against her because she’s perceived as turning traitor against her colleagues. Something had to give, and she told Hanssen she was leaving. Immediately.

I have to admit there was a tear in my eye as she said goodbye to Elliott Hope, because they were both in tears and I imagine not all of it was acting. I was glad that the writers gave Connie an upbeat ending once all the tears were done with. Back at St Pancras, over glasses of champagne she passed the baton of being Holby’s top surgeon and super-bitch over to Jac Naylor, along with some wardrobe advice. Jac needs to ditch the autumnal colours and pay more attention to accessories, and then perhaps, one day, she’ll be a worthy successor to the legend that will always be Connie Beauchamp.

And on that note, slinging an expensive-looking wrap over her shoulders, she headed to a train to a lucrative appointment in Brussels. A classy departure for the toughest cookie (as Hanssen put it) ever to grace the Holby corridors.

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Holby City: Is this a date?

(Series 13, Ep.10) Young Dr Oliver Valentine has been a bit rubbish recently, and I find this strange. I referred back to a blog post I did about an episode in May, to confirm my suspicion that he hasn’t always been rubbish, and found this: “He’s not an F1 any longer, he’s an F2. Hurrah! That means he’s on the same level as Lennie, May and Yuki on Casualty, which is a bit weird because Dr Oliver always seemed like a far more competent doctor than any of them.”

There. I knew he used to be good, but now he barely seems able to take someone’s pulse without them screaming in pain and Michael Spence yelling at him. So what went wrong for the former blue-eyed boy? Well, his eyes are still blue, but if you can point at anything going wrong for him it can only be that sister Penny’s star is in the ascendant, and it’s knocked his confidence. Either that or it’s just the scriptwriters being inconsistent just for the sake of it (which wouldn’t be the first time on Holby).

Aside from the Valentine action this week, which saw Penny going for an after-work debrief (or was it a date? Frieda -hilariously – thought so, and the champagne would seem to suggest something) with Michael Spence, there was a heck of a lot going on in this episode.

I have to admit I’m worried for Joseph. He’s gone all twinkly and smiley about Jac, and that is a lovely and precious thing to behold, but Faye still has her claws firmly embedded in him. She refused to go back to the psychiatric unit with baby Harry, and Joseph felt obliged to offer to spend Christmas with them. However, Faye was less than pleased when she discovered that Joseph’s mum, Jane Asher (and possibly his very scary sister) were also part of this gathering. At the end of the episode Faye was making a mysterious phone call – and I’m a bit nervous about what it’ll mean for Joseph.

Chrissie was getting on beautifully with Sacha after he locked them both in the basement (don’t ask), but she went off him again when she found that he’d told Jac she was living off caffeine pills at the time a mistake was made with a patient’s records. Jac used this information against Chrissie at a disciplinary hearing.

And Connie’s father is apparently destined for a care home over Christmas as Connie apparently doesn’t want to cope with him – and no-one is very impressed.

Next week: Big decisions for Connie and Faye.

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Holby City: Elliott doesn’t meet modern NHS standards

(Series 13, Ep.8) Could someone please explain to me exactly when Elliott Hope turned from being a brilliant and capable surgeon who also had a nice way with people, to being a bumbling twerp who gets so involved with patients that he constantly messes up?

Or is it that the world has moved on, while Elliott’ s skills remain undimmed? Maybe, like Charlie Fairhead in Casualty, Elliott is just too nice and too caring for the modern world. At least, that’s what Henrik Hanssen thinks, and what Hanssen thinks soon becomes reality in Holby these days. Goodbye Ric Griffin, fairwell Pale Thin Nurse Nicky Van Barr. And now, it seems that despite Connie’s efforts to showcase Elliott’s talents as a heart surgeon, she’s had to administer the Judas kiss after all.

Meanwhile, Joseph (who was The World’s Most Beautiful Heart Surgeon before and is now officially The World’s Most Beautiful New Father) decided not to divorce Faye, so he could look after her and Baby Byrne (“Has anyone signed a card for Byrne Baby Byrne?” Dr Oliver Valentine wanted to know. He is so witty). Baby Byrne is now called Harry, after Joseph’s late brother. But no sooner had Joseph come up with this foolhardy plan (the one about not divorcing Faye, not the one about calling the baby Harry, which was actually Faye’s idea) than Faye informed him she’d be taking herself back to the psychiatric unit just as soon as her stitches have healed up (again – but that’s another story).  So it looks like the divorce is back on again, and Joseph celebrated with a hot passionate team meeting in the staff room with Jac.

Jac needed something to take her mind off things, as the drama teacher from Waterloo Road whom she almost killed a few weeks ago by performing surgery when he was still full of Warfarin, has now decided to sue the hospital. Jac and Chrissie are both in the firing line, but Jac already covered her tracks by changing the patient’s notes. Sacha, however, can’t believe that Chrissie could have made a mistake – even though Chrissie admitted she’d been running on caffeine pills at the time due to sleepless nights with baby Daniel.

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Holby City: Jac’s the better woman, and Sacha’s the better man

(Series 13, Ep.7) Remember the episode way back when Joseph (The World’s Most Beautiful Heart Surgeon) and Jac (Robo-Doc) were trapped together in a contaminated operating theatre and they thought Joseph was going to die, and Jac spilled out all her feelings for him?

Last night’s episode had something of that intensity. The set-up was this: Faye had gone into labour but was refusing to leave the psychiatric unit, even though the baby was breech and in distress and she needed the facilities of a fully functioning maternity ward. This wasn’t Faye being cussed, although Joseph kind of thought it was (you can see his point – Faye does have form on the cussedness front, and he was terrified for the safety of his unborn child). Faye was terrified herself – in her mind, Linden and Archie were with her in the psychiatric unit, and by leaving the room she’d be leaving them behind.

When Faye had some non-birth-related pains, Joseph summoned help from Jac. And, surprisingly, Jac understood Faye’s fears. Jac knows what it’s like to love someone so intensely your mind can’t let them go; it was clear that everything she’d told Joseph in that operating theatre was still true for her. She tried to deny it to Joseph later, of course – she has her TermiNaylor reputation to maintain after all – but the chemistry between them was practically oozing out of the screen.

Meanwhile, Chrissie was on a promise from Irish Dr Greg. She’d even had a bikini wax (way too much info, really). But when Irish Dr Greg went all headstrong over a patient’s treatment and risked his career by letting himself be dragged into an MP’s publicity drive, he was saved by some deft work by Sacha. The MP, an attractive lady in an unpleasant blouse, responded to this by asking Sacha out for a drink. And was that a glint of jealousy we spied in the eyes of Chrissie, or were her eyes still smarting from her earlier depilation? Either way, Sacha turned the offer down, and Chrissie dumped Dr Greg, and they both headed home to put baby Daniel to bed together. Bless.

And Donna discovered that temporary nurse Kieran isn’t the plonker she mistook him for.

Next week: Jac and Joseph get naughty in the staff room, and Elliott lets Connie down when her father is admitted to Keller.

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Strictly Week 9 Results – Ding, Dong, The Wid’s Not Dead!

Firstly, confession time – I HATE the results show (so much so I’ve lapsed into capitals AGANE). However, as promised, here it is. And to be fair, the whole experience wasn’t as intolerable as I thought it would be.

Firstly, hooray for the showdance! Purpley, whirly, jivey, chairy, close up on Brendan Coley (well, you can’t have it all). Quite long but the audience went nuts at the end so who am I to quibble?

Then we had some very interesting judges chat. Worth it simply for the spectacle of Bruno attempting to demonstrate the Argentine Tango with Craig, who looked far less alarmed than he should have done, frankly. The judges took the proverbial out of Gavin with various unflattering impressions. I managed to have sympathy for Gavin for the whole 5 seconds before he opened his mouth and revealed himself to be a vain, self-aggrandising bore again. Sigh.

Bye bye Patsy, Patsy bye bye...

Results stage one revealed that the general public (yeah, those animals) had saved Matt and Aliona (I don’t particularly like him but fair enough, he is good), Pamela and James (SQUEAL!) and Ann and Anton (I’m sure my flat screen telly will recover from this news one day). In the drop zone were Patsy and Robin. Bye bye, flat screen telly, the times we shared together were good ones.

I would comment on the lovely showdance James and Ola did at this point, but the sight of Ann Widdecombe dressed up as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz to trail next week’s “Movie Week” afterwards pretty much rendered everything else insignificant. As a friend of mine put it via text message, “honestly, it’s like the BBC are begging the gay rights lobby to send them letter bombs”.

Results stage two revealed that the general public (to whom I am resolutely not speaking from now on) had finally struggled to their senses and saved Kara and Artem and Scott and Natalie. People who can actually dance. I know, how novel! Leaving Gavin and Katya to sit through the sub-Snow Patrol drivel of James Blunt before learning that…. PATSY = GONE!

To be fair, me liking any woman on Strictly is enough to put the mockers on her – so long Carol Smillie, tata Letitia Dean, au revoir Zoe Ball. But still, Patsy was amazingly gracious considering and even thanked the make-up staff. The judges shook their heads, the Strictly band managed not to murder Crying by Roy Orbison and we were told once again to KEEEEEEEP DANCING!

Which is more than Ann Widdecombe can seem to be bothered to manage. Gragh.

For previous Strictly blogs, click here

Typed in a trashed front room by a particularly grumpy Velocity Girl


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Strictly – The Good, The Bad and The Widdy

It’s time for Strictly Come Dancing, Week 9! DA-da-da-da-DA-da-DA-DA! Etc!

Last week took place in BLACKPOOL. Though you would hardly know that it took place in BLACKPOOL, as hardly anybody mentioned BLACKPOOL at all. Within seven seconds we learned that this week wasn’t taking place in BLACKPOOL, even though last week did take place in BLACKPOOL. The rest of this week’s non-BLACKPOOL based programme was presumably accompanied by the gentle weeping of the Lancashire and Blackpool (or should that be BLACKPOOL) Tourist Board.

This week’s BLACKPOOL equivalent was the fact that there are only 7 contestants left in the competition. Why, that makes them the Magnificent Seven! Do you see, DO YOU SEE? 75 minutes of Stetsons, bargain basement gunshot graphics and witless cowboy impressions later, anybody not wailing into the carpet in existentialist despair probably did just about pick up on this (life’s a riot at VG Towers, you can be sure of that).

Pamela Stephenson - this week's Top of the Trots (sorry)

Kara and Artem’s VT begins in a hail of icepacks (that’s enough cold weather puns now – Ed.). Fortunately, the magic of live television soon fixes Artem’s shoulder and their Jive is a lot of fun. Sure, parts of it were a bit jerky and the ending is pretty haphazard, but Kara is a joyful dancer and even the judges find this infectious.

Ann and Anton next – and isn’t Widdy full of it? Having tired of her ridiculous antics long ago, her self-important, arrogant VT (“we are a democracy!”) filled me with hope that eventually enough others will be suitably revolted to finally do the decent thing. In the meantime, Ann and Anton’s Rhumba to “My Heart Will Go On” soon returned me sobbing into the shagpile. Really, can this not stop now?

Ann’s dive in likeability during the series is highlighted even further by Patsy Kensit. Having been no fan of hers at the beginning, she’s coming across beautifully now – self-deprecating, funny and a real worker. And her Argentine Tango puts me in the previously deeply-unlikely position of agreeing with Aleesha Dixon (I know). Whilst it was a bit careful in places, her intensity was utterly compelling and she was unlucky not to score higher.

Scott and Natalie’s VT can be neatly summed up in three words – SCOTT IS TIRED. Continue reading


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Holby City: Faye vague and expressionless. No-one surprised

(Series 13, Ep.3) The loss of Linden Cullen has hit Faye Byrne hard. She spent the episode wandering around the hospital clutching a little yellow box full of his bits and bobs (I mean his stethoscope and ID card, not his other bits and bobs which she’s been wearing as earrings since she met him).

Joseph is a lovely man, but he’s (a) had enough of Faye and her nonsense, particularly as she’s telling everyone Linden was the father of the baby, which is not true, and (b) been to public school, so he told her in no uncertain terms to sort herself out. “If this is you holding it together then… let’s just say it’s not going well,” he said. Luckily a spare psychiatrist was wandering around Keller, so she was pressed into service to try and help.

Ric Griffin’s another one who needed sorting out. Frankly he’s not at the top of his game, doctor-wise, and that’s not what you want. His daughter Jess (Verona Joseph – looking absolutely beautiful) came back to tell him that he’s about to be a grandfather, but he was so preoccupied with the impending hospital cuts and trying to pretend his cancer has gone away that he didn’t even notice that she was a somewhat different shape from the last time we saw her.

Jess and Ric have always had a volatile relationship, and it took several arguments, Jess attempting to drive away (but failing due to a lack of petrol) and intervention by The Radiant Donna to get them to kiss and make up and get Ric to step down from his job until he’s better.

There was some high-level flirting going on between Chrissie and Irish Dr Greg, which was upsetting Sacha, who is in love with the mother of his baby.

And Jac was, as usual, absolutely magnificent. The sight of her with streaming eyes after trying Chrissie’s eye cream was hilarious, and I love the way she winds Sacha up. “Raindrops falling, Mr Distel?”

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