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Holby City: You used to be Mark Williams

(Series 13, Ep.15) If Holby City was directed by M. Night Shyamalan, you wouldn’t be surprised to find that the twist at the end was that Henrik Hanssen was actually a ghost. Supernaturally tall, he oozes around the hospital dispensing charm and iron-fist-in-velvet-glove evil in equal measure. He is universally feared and has absolute power, but seems to exist without personal context apart from some odd glimpses we’ve seen of a more playful, childlike nature – driving a toy snowman home after carefully fastening its seatbelt, for example.

His chief function so far has been to take a metaphorical scalpel to the staff team, though he manages to get other people to do the dirty work.

Mark “Jesus” Williams, as CEO of the hospital, was given the task this week of getting rid of either Ric Griffin or Elliott Hope – or preferably both. If this had been successful, Ric would have had grounds to claim for constructive dismissal, as he found he’d been moved from his office and was required to carry out his paperwork in the staff room. This didn’t please anyone, least of all Chrissie. “I can’t microwave pasta bake while Ric sits there writing his case notes,” she complained to her dad. Well, exactly.

Everyone had a problem with Mark’s suits. Before he started wearing suits he “used to be Mark Williams – friend,” said Elliott. Ric preferred love-bombing to attacking. “Even if you do get sucked into management games, you’ve got the best interests of the hospital at heart,” he said, little realising that Mark was planning Ric’s leaving whip-round even as the words were leaving his lips.

Well, it was all too much, even for a man who has previously played the Son of God. Someone had to go, so in the fluid staffing configurations of Holby City Hospital, why not lose a CEO rather than two top-flight yet unhealthy surgeons?

And this left Hanssen looking quietly satisfied with his day’s work. You feel that he has a grand plan in all this, and everyone else is just a pawn on his personal chessboard. We left him comfortably installing himself in the Director of Surgery office.

Meanwhile, Donna was visited by Kieran on the eve of his deployment to Afghanistan, trying to persuade her that they had a future together as long as he doesn’t get killed (which he promises he won’t). Donna turned down an offer of marriage, a decision which made more sense than the last time she turned him down, because she explained that her priority was adopted daughter Mia, and not wanting her to love a man who might not come back. Given all that Mia has been through in her little life, this is probably a wise decision, though she could still have kept her options open for when he gets back. But, then again, he didn’t look half as good in army clothes as he did in scrubs (who does?).

Next time: Malick cocks up, while Elliott and Chrissie impress Hanssen.

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Holby City: Irish Dr Greg, you’re in this blog

(Series 13, Ep.14) Ooh, Matron! I felt like I was watching Carry On Doctor/Nurse/Whatever at the start of this episode. Nurse with tops of black stockings and ample cleavage peeping out of uniform? Check. Randy doctor making his way to an assignation with the aforementioned in a side room? Check. His boss catching them at it? Check.

Irish Dr Greg it was, caught almost in flagrante with Irish Ginger Nurse Marie-Claire, by Lovely Bumbling Elliott Hope. As a punishment, Elliot assigned Dr Greg to work with a particularly tricky patient. He was a blogger, and you know how difficult they can be. Worse still, he was a blogger on medical issues, which meant that everyone who treated him was kind of on test. “The only thing that could make me interested in a blog is if I’m in it,” Irish Dr Greg told him, but regretted it a few minutes later when he was outed in cyberspace as being a bigheaded womaniser. I’m sure that if this blogger person had tried that stunt with Connie Beauchamp she’d have had a few choice words for him which would include “defamation” “sue” and “solicitor.”

It turned out that the self-styled “human guinea pig” was scared of having a general anaesthetic (he said he needed to be awake during surgery so he could blog properly about it afterwards. This is going far beyond the call of journalistic duty, IMO). So Dr Greg agreed to do a tricky heart procedure on him with only an epidural. Sadly it all went pear-shaped and last we heard of the human guinea pig, the “harvest team” were waiting to get their hands on his corneas.  But not before Dr Greg had convinced the patient that he was almost as good as Joseph Byrne (as if! Though I have noticed, now that I’m not dazzled by Joseph’s beauty, that Irish Dr Greg does have a gorgeous nose) and convinced Elliott that he wasn’t entirely a lost cause.

Meanwhile, Donna had to deal with an annoying Scottish nurse who’d rearranged her ward and convinced the staff, all the way up to Mark “Jesus” Williams, that he was the best thing since Florence Nightingale. Donna didn’t take well to his undermining ways, and occasionally she had a point, but what was really going on was that she was still upset about Kieran going to Afghanistan. On the subject of whom, Odd Little Nurse Elizabeth Tait has a photo of him, and was behaving oddly with a mug with his name on it.  Keep an eye on that one – she looks timid, but I reckon she could very easily go Kelly Yorke on us.

Chrissie told Sacha – yet again – that there will never, ever, ever be a chance for them as a couple.

And accident of the week has to be the woman who fell out of her loft and impaled herself on a tiny bridegroom – wedding cake variety, not an actual human, which would have been an altogether different type of accident. Ooh, Matron!

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Holby City: Not the big bad wolf

(Series 13, Ep.12) There’s a new registrar on AAU (played by Jimmy Akingbola). He goes by the name of Malick – though his first name is, apparently, Antoine, like Lulu and Madonna he generally just goes by that one name, Malick.

Like Madonna, and to a much lesser extent Lulu, he’s also a bit controversial. Is he a maniac or a genius, as Michael Spence pondered to himself?  He has a certain way with patients which is part cajoling, part bullying, part charm, yet generally successful;  but he does have form for thumping consultants he disagrees with.

Anyway, on balance Michael has decided that Malick can stay on Team Spence. This is odd, because Hanssen is still looking at ways he can reduce the staff salary budget, and surely AAU is pretty much well-staffed already? Mark “Jesus” Williams seems to have Goth Nurse Frieda in his sights as the next person to collect her P45, and, frankly, if she goes, I go too. But we already know that Goth Nurse Frieda has a few more strings to her bow so I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of her fabulous Ukrainian surliness.

Donna and Kieran were all lovey-dovey, which of course couldn’t last. It turns out he’s in the army, and is being sent to Afghanistan as a medic next week. Donna, having seen what Afghanistan did to Gary Windass on Corrie, can’t cope with having a boyfriend in a war zone, so they pretended they didn’t love each other and that was the end of that. Which made me a bit cross, really.

And Chrissie didn’t get sacked or anything following her disciplinary hearing (thanks to Jesus pulling a few strings). She just has to work under supervision for a while.

Next week: Joseph decides to leave (nooooo!), and Frieda thinks about a change of role (yesss!).

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Holby City: An eventful night

(Series 12, Ep.53) Connie Beauchamp (looking gloriously glam) went off for a night out, leaving Darwin in the capable hands of Irish Dr Greg. This didn’t please Joseph, and you can see his point. He’s been at Holby for ages, has been a consultant for a while and (lest we forget) is The World’s Most Beautiful Heart Surgeon. It’s got to smart when a whippersnapper who’s been around five minutes gets put in charge of you.

It was similarly painful for Michael Spence when Annalese told him she was moving Ric Griffin into Spence Towers to look after him following chemo. So what you end up with is a night shift staffed by cross people.

At least things were looking up on AAU. For a start, Linden and Jac were off duty, which always makes for a more relaxing time. An agency nurse, Nait, was summoned to assist Sacha and Frieda, and as soon as we saw his guy-liner we knew he’d get on well with Frieda. In fact he was an old friend of hers – they had private jokes, secret handshakes and he even made her smile. It was a lovely thing to behold. Sadly Nait had a slightly unorthodox way of dealing with difficult patients, and when Frieda discovered he’d given drugs to an old lady she had to sack him.

Things weren’t going much better for Michael Spence, who was dealing with the sons of two old friends, who’d been injured falling from the roof of their posh school (Joseph’s old school, as he kept telling everyone, but no-one was interested except me). One of them had knackered his liver due to years of heavy drinking, and the other one ended up brain dead due to his injuries. Michael decided to bypass all the proper transplant protocols and whip the liver out of one brother to give to the other one. He was stopped in the nick of time by Connie before he could commit career suicide – and kill his patient, because it turned out the liver wasn’t a match for the brother anyway.

All of this confirms that Connie should never go off and leave the boys to run the hospital, not even for one night. They only get themselves in bother. Heaven knows what’s going to happen when she leaves (which is tragically soon).

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Holby City: I can’t believe this is happening to you

Ric was recuperating from last week’s life-saving surgery. “Why isn’t he in a private room?” the assembled PLA family wanted to know. The answer was that he needed some inspiration to fight his cancer. Annalese perched on his bed and sighed a lot, and promised to be by his side till death them did part (this was meant to be upcheering). The Radiant Donna gave Ric some of her most radiant smiles and cried a bit as well. Michael Spence was rather marvellous and, for Annalese’s sake, organised a top-of-the-range treatment plan.

None of this changed Ric’s opinion that he would just let nature take its course and go without treatment. What’s needed in these situations is an Adjacent Inspirational Patient (much like the girl with cancer who gave Maria the oomph she needed to overcome her back injury). In this case it was supplied by a James Bond-reading man  in the opposite bed. He ended up dying, but not before his remarkably perky attitude had made Ric reassess his options. This could never have happened if Ric had been in a private room.

The shock revelation this week was that Goth Nurse Frieda has previously trained as a doctor. We’d already guessed that, what with her ninja-level medical skills and that, but it came as a shock to Beautiful Dr Penny Valentine. I love Frieda – she takes no crap whatsoever from anyone, speaks her mind and does it with a beautiful accent. As well as saving patients’ lives under the nose of Dr Penny, she found time to despatch an incompetent locum. “You have two choices: stay, and I will make your life absolute misery, every second you are on ward. Or man-flu. This terrible affliction will keep you off for two weeks,” she offered, in her best deadpan style. The useless and terrified  locum croaked that he would opt for the man-flu option. “Good,” said Frieda. “Get well soon.”

It was a good week and a bad week for Joseph Byrne, The World’s Most Beautiful Heart Surgeon. He and Faye found out that their baby is not going to have the disability that affected Faye’s late son Archie. It was such fabulous news that Faye even tried to smile, as much as her frozen face will allow. It was all looking promising for a future where Faye and Joseph would sensibly co-parent their offspring and Joseph would get plenty of access to his little lad. Then his mother, Lady Byrne (Jane Asher) stuck her aristocratic nose in, and put the foetus’s name (Baby Byrne) down on the waiting list for Joseph’s former prep school. This went down like a lead balloon with Faye, who has now decided to start ignoring Joseph again. It’s going to take Jeremy Kyle to sort this one out.

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Holby City: Doctors love playing God

I’m never any good with a new bit of machinery. Apart from the possible exception of my iPod, no piece of electronic equipment I’ve ever owned has worked properly, exactly as it should, straight out of the box. There’s always a certain amount of tinkering to be done.

Now, either Elliott Hope is a bigger genius than we knew, or the Lung Laser 2000 (or whatever the new piece of kit is called) is completely user-friendly, because no sooner was it out of the cling wrap than he was using it to perform a bit of simultaneous  “resection, coagulation and tissue sealing” on young Footballer Ben. There were the inevitable hiccups, of course. It wouldn’t be proper Holby surgery unless there was a moment when the machines started to bleep and someone yelled “Pressures are dropping!” and/or “We’ve got a bleed!” But, all things considered, and with the help of the glorious Connie, things went off fairly smoothly and Footballer Ben was soon on a trolley on his way back to his whiny mother and a WAG-filled future.

This was such ground-breaking surgery that the rep from the Lung Laser 2000 company showed up to watch it in action, and it was from him that Mark “Jesus” Williams learned that the machine had only been ordered the previous day. Eventually he discovered that Elliott had been swindled out of the charity funds raised for the original machine, and had sold his house to pay for the second. This leaves Jesus with a bit of an administrative headache, and leaves Elliott living in his car with his dog.

Even when Faye Byrne isn’t there, men are still fighting over her, such is her evil sexual power. Joseph and Linden continue to lock horns, though these days it’s about the right to be a father to Faye’s foetus. Joseph is the biological father, but Linden is kind of the sitting tenant of Faye these days, so he’s claiming the moral right to bring the child up. He’s a bit petty, though, that Linden. His dislike of Joseph runs so deep that, even when he had a patient literally dying on his operating table (sats were dropping!) and needed Joseph’s expertise, he wouldn’t let anyone get him. Luckily “anyone” doesn’t include Goth Nurse Frieda, who obeys only her own rules.

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Holby City: Alright, who’s got the laser?

I didn’t blog about last week’s Holby, but if I had I would have called the post “Where there’s Hope, there’s life.” Because Elliott Hope spent the episode charming some lady from a medical organisation into promising the hospital one of these fab lasers that he needs to sort out Footballer Ben’s lung, at a bargain price. It seemed he’d done a brilliant thing for Footballer Ben and all the other patients who’d benefit from a state-of-the-art laser, plus bagged himself a nice new girlfriend. Result!

Sadly this week, as Connie and Elliott lurked behind the hospital’s front door waiting for a box containing a laser to pop through the letterbox (well, almost), it became increasingly clear that Something was Wrong.

Several desperate phone calls later, Elliott discovered that con artists come in many forms, including nicely-dressed, nicely-spoken, terribly nice-seeming ladies who work for medical institutions. She’d only gone and scarpered with Elliott’s cheque, and no laser was forthcoming.

While Footballer Ben projectile-vomited blood all over the ward, Elliott continued (against all the evidence) to promise that the laser would arrive in time. Connie is sceptical. I’m sceptical. But there’s something woolly and wonderful about Elliott’s faith in human nature, and you just have to hope that, by some magic method, the laser will appear after all.

Meanwhile, Mark “Jesus” Williams was getting a bit over-enthusiastic in his new role as CEO. When Sacha Levy made a clumsy “blonde” joke and an irritable woman complained, Jesus swung into action. When he heard that Sacha had been giving Jac Naylor “unwelcome” hugs, rather than commending him for bravery, he started investigating him for sexual harrassment. Of course it was all something and nothing, and the entire situation was beautifully defused by The Radiant Donna.

If only the tension between Dr Penny Valentine and Goth Sister Freda was so easy to sort out. Those two do not like each other, though Goth Sister Freda has taken a shine to Penny’s brother, Dr Oliver Valentine. They even arranged to meet up for a drink, but Penny scuppered that by telling each of them that the other one couldn’t make it. She took Oliver off to the cinema, leaving Goth Sister Freda at the bar with only the weird anaesthetist and vodka for company. Even that displeased her. Knocking back a glassful, she winced. “Vodka,” she pronounced. “But not vodka.”

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Holby City: Faye Byrne, the robo-nurse that men can’t resist

In a perfect piece of casting, the frozen-faced Patsy Kensit brings her full gamut of facial expressions (ranging from disappointed sadness to sad disappointment) to bear on the flint-hearted energy drain whom men can’t resist.

This week, she discovered that the child she’s carrying is a boy, which means he has a 50% chance of having the same profound disabilities as her late son, Archie. Clearly an awful situation and one for which we really ought to have the profoundest sympathy for Faye. But that’s next to impossible when she spends an entire episode wringing her hands and being horrible to the wonderful Joseph, at one point telling him more or less to butt out of her business, conveniently ignoring the fact that the child is his as well. “She’s cold,” said my other half. Yes, she is.

Meanwhile, the Doctors Valentine literally almost lost a patient, because they were engaged in a brother/sister spat because of Oliver telling Connie about Penny’s relationship with Scott James. While Penny pretended that the patient had died to upset Oliver, and Oliver pretended to tell the patient’s wife he’d died to upset Penny, the patient himself had gotten bored waiting in a wheelchair in a corridor and had gone walkabout. Luckily he collapsed within easy reach of a nurse who uttered the Holby/Casualty official cry of “Can we have some help here?” and all was well.  Apart, that is, from a dressing down from Connie and Mark “Jesus” Williams, and a humiliating stint in gorilla costumes as part of Jesus’ bid to raise funds for laser surgery equipment.

On the other side of Holby, Michael Spence was attending relationship counselling with his anaesthetist wife, Annalise. We knew when we first glimpsed the counsellor sticking an inhaler thing up his nose that he wasn’t going to last the session without crumpling into a collapsed heap, and thus it turned out. Luckily he had a consultant surgeon and an anaesthetist on hand, and to be fair to them they did remember to roll him into the recovery position before they carried on bickering.

Once they had him safely installed in the hospital, it looked for a minute like a reconciliation was on the cards. At least, Michael thought so, but he was left disappointed in the hospital coffee bar with nothing but a wilting bunch of flowers and two junior doctors dressed as gorillas for company.

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Holby City: This is not a drill. Oh, hang on – it is

I’m sure I remember someone in Holby having to drill into someone’s skull with a hand drill, in Africa probably. Joseph, was it? Or Abra? It was impressive, anyway. I’ve always been impressed by that kind of on-the-fly improvisational TV surgery since Dr Clive Gibbons did a tracheotomy on Lucy Robinson on Neighbours with a Bic biro and a fruit knife.

It’s not something you’d actually want to try yourself though (unless you’re very, very disturbed), and it wasn’t something Mark “Jesus” Williams felt like doing in Holby last night. He was locked in a tool cupboard with a porter who was suffering from a subdural haematoma. Linden was outside the door shouting out helpful advice. “He’s going to die, unless you relieve the pressure!” “No!” Jesus yelled back, feeling under pressure himself. Luckily he was wearing scrubs for once rather than his suit – being his last day as a nurse before he took up the CEO job, he’d wanted to get his hands dirty. Not quite as dirty as covering them in bits of skull, though. “Drill slowly!” Linden instructed. “How slowly?”  Jesus said. One sensed that he was just putting off the actual moment. He was right to do so, as a key was found, and the porter was rushed off to a more sanitary location to have his head drilled professionally.

Things went a bit pear-shaped for Connie and Joseph this week. Connie’s old school friend Elaine is never going to be the same again following the oxygen deprivation she suffered due to the power cut following the experimental surgery Connie and Joseph did on her. Connie was naturally devastated, but also very keen to make sure that Elaine’s husband Kev didn’t find out that the procedure had never been done before on a live, living, actual patient. It’s one thing disabling your old school friends; it’s quite another possibly being sued for malpractice.

Kev, up till that point quite satisfied that Connie wanted only the best for his wife,  stepped out for a soothing latte, and was standing at the coffee bar with Joseph when up popped Jac Naylor, very amused because Joseph’s research project has gone tits-up.   “Guinea pig numero uno is in a coma isn’t she?” she grinned. And Kev realised she was talking about Elaine.

Kev was naturally upset, and nothing Connie or Joseph could say would calm him down. Later on, Connie discovered that her car had been smashed up. Was this Kev’s work – or could it have been the grieving relative whose car she beat into a parking space earlier? I have to admit, I’m worried for her.

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Holby City: What a friend we have in Mark “Jesus” Williams

The second part of the previous day’s flood-tastic two-parter, and immediately we’re pitched straight into the action. Donna and Maria are still stuck in a lift, Mark “Jesus” Williams is trying to hold back the floodwaters, two kids are still missing and there’s a paedophile roaming around somewhere, and in the operating theatre Connie’s sockets are on the blink and so, by the look of it, is her patient.

Tense. As. Hell. But when all hell is breaking loose, what you need is a man so calm and serene and wise that he could have once played the Son of God in a famous TV series. Holby is fortunate to have that man in the suit-wearing, gum-chewing form of Consultant Nurse Mark “Jesus” Williams. While the Acting CEO flapped around in her oversized high-visibility jacket, Jesus calmly took control.

Pretty soon Donna and Maria were freed from their elevator, though Donna’s happiness was shortlived when she was informed that little Mia was missing. When the paedophile turned up, Jesus again took charge and gave him a gentle grilling (“You’re the only one who’s looked me in the eyes since I got here,” the nasty man told him) and discovered that he didn’t have anything to do with the children disappearing. He’d merely been off looking for some tools to try and fix the hospital’s generator. And, even better, he knew a man who could get exactly the cables that were needed to plug Wyvern wing into the next door wing’s mains and get the power back on.

So where were the kiddies? Not entirely sure on that one, but they turned up safe and well anyhow, and that’s all we care about.

Maria spent the episode reassessing her life’s goals. She had been planning to go and work for VSO in Tanzania, but had taken the ward sister job instead. But when she saw (a) how brilliant Donna was at suturing and (b) how brilliant Donna was with Mia, she decided that Donna deserved the job more, and told Jesus she was withdrawing her application and catching the next flight to Dodoma (it’s the capital of Tanzania. I googled).

Yesterday we left Connie busily grafting bits onto the heart of her old schoolfriend, being snappy with the anaesthetist, and exchanging meaningful glances with Joseph (I’m definitely sensing something brewing between these two). The operation successfully concluded, all that remained was to get the old schoolfriend safely installed in intensive care. But there was a snag – all the HDU’s, ITU’s, AAU and other places ending in U were closed due to lack of power. There was one still open in another wing, but it would involve carrying the unconscious schoolfriend up and down several flights of stairs and along Holby’s maze-like darkened corridors.

Off they went, and at some stage old schoolfriend’s breathing tube became blocked. She was “down” for several minutes, and a head CT (they had power to do CT’s, by some lucky chance) showed she would possibly have brain damage. Not good news for Connie, who rather badgered the woman into having the surgery in the first place.

So Connie is down but not out. Maria is out, but not down. And it looks like Jesus is in – the Acting CEO told him she wouldn’t oppose his CEO application, and the job is virtually his.

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