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Holby City: Familiar faces

(Series 19, ep. 32 ‘Project Aurous’ by Claire Miller) I loved Carli Norris when she was last on Holby as Fran, so it was very nice to see her back. Not so nice for Jac Naylor, though. Even though she’d promised to support Fran in that dramatic encounter on the roof, it was like one of those situations where you bump into an old acquaintance in the street, insist you really must meet up for coffee one day, and then spend the next few days hoping they won’t follow up on it. But now here was Fran, ready to call in that favour (to get Jac to help her prosecute the care home they used to live in), and with the added problem of having a super-complex heart condition that Jac was best placed to sort out. As if this wasn’t enough trouble for Holby’s snarkiest surgeon, she was also about to unleash a ground-breaking piece of research on an excited world. Hanssen had his eye on her.  Continue reading

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Holby City: The lost boy

(Series 19, ep. 31 ‘The Heart Is a Small Thing’ by Sian Evans) Does Jac Naylor need to go to Specsavers, was the question troubling my mind while I was watching last night’s episode. Having previously seen a photograph of Matteo and Mrs Matteo’s wedding, when Mrs Matteo (whose actual character name is Nina Karnik) turned up, it took Jac an awfully long time to work out who it was. I suppose it’s always weird seeing people out of context.

Anyway, Nina was there with her friend/boyfriend Luke (Sagar IM Arya), who needed the kind of medical expertise only Jac Naylor can provide. Matteo made a big fuss and tried to ship him off to The Mythical St James’s, but Jac was having none of it. And eventually it came out that Nina and Matteo are married but estranged, and the estrangement was at least partly due to losing their son, Nico. I say “losing,” because Nico has been missing presumed drowned, and while Matteo has tried to accept this (by sealing himself off, “hermetically”), Nina still holds out hope he might one day be found.  Continue reading

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Holby City: We need to talk about Sacha

(Series 19, ep. 29 ‘Two Hearts’ by Katie Douglas) Sacha Levy is the most caring, empathetic, huggy doctor in the hospital. That’s just a fact. So as soon as he started being snappy with a distressed patient, Essie knew something was up. Her alarm bells were already ringing when she spotted him arriving in yesterday’s shirt with his hair messed up, but she’s no stranger to the walk of shame herself, so that could have been dismissed. But as soon as Sacha starts being less nice to people, we all worry. Then Essie discovered he’s suddenly acquired a shoplifting habit/issue/problem. I really like how not being in a romantic relationship with Sacha has properly freed Essie up to love him and care for him like she couldn’t do when they were trying for babies and she was being all Chrissie 2.0 with him. I also loved how she enlisted the help of Jac Naylor to get him to admit there was a problem. Was he feeling depressed, they wondered? Sacha said that everybody in the room was probably feeling depressed, and given that the room was Pulses I wouldn’t be surprised if they were. Jac wasn’t surprised either. “Except that’s just my personality,” she said. I’m hoping bits of humour like that will be our friend as Sacha recovers from his depression, because it’s very hard watching him suffer.  Continue reading

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Holby City: Pandora’s (musical) box

(Series 19, ep. 28) Who could possibly have imagined it? A Holby City staff member with a Secret Past? It should really have come as no surprise to Jac to find out that Matteo Rossini isn’t all that he seems – after all, her first impression of him was of That Vile Fiend Who Nicked the Digby Stent.

The problem is that the latest revelation – that there’s a Mrs Rossini – came just as Jac’s guard had dropped. Jac’s guard does not drop easily, as we well know, but try as she might she’s been unable to resist his easy Italian charm. His offer of a motorcycle adventure tour was also hard to resist, and was so tempting that Jac almost binned off the annual thoracic surgery conference in Copenhagen to Oliver Valentine.  Continue reading

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Holby City: Fightback

(Series 19, ep. 27) I always felt that the only possible satisfying conclusion of the Dominic/Isaac storyline would be for Dominic to find the strength to be the one to finally end it. I know that’s a very big ask for someone in an abusive relationship – Isaac has systematically undermined and isolated Dominic, making him doubt the reality of events and overlaying them with a twisted version (“That’s what grown-up love is… It’s scary”). Help was always going to be needed, and powerful help arrived this week in the form of Zosia, Essie, Sacha, Hanssen and Dominic’s old flame, Kyle (Alan Morrissey). With his gentle, loving, no-bullshit personality, Kyle was the perfect person to once again see through the fictions that Dominic creates. Hanssen said at the end that he regretted not acting sooner and more decisively, but actually his intervention was well-judged – he’d worked the situation out for himself but tried to empower Dominic to get help for himself.  Continue reading

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Holby City: An out-of-control monster

(Series 19, ep. 26) It was one of those starts-at-(almost)-the-end episodes, and the start showed a panicking Bernie, flanked by Fletch and Jasmine, busting down the door to the roof (which was locked for the first time in its history)…

What had happened to Serena? Would we find her teetering on the edge of the parapet, or already in a messy mush in the car park? Would Bernie be in time?

Flashback twelve hours, which luckily for us had been condensed to just one hour. We found Serena “stuck on some hideous merry-go-round of blame and regret.” This could be construed as a general description of AAU on a good day, but it was all about Elinor’s death and Serena’s reaction to it, particularly in her treatment of Jasmine. It was also affecting her family – she said that even loving Bernie didn’t make her feel better, and she was so horrible to and around Jason that he wanted to move back in with his old carer, Alan. “I’m officially an out-of-control monster,” Serena said. She was still unable to address any of this properly until she almost hit Jasmine and Jac was there to (magnificently) intervene. Serena was summoned to see Hanssen, who was infinitely kind and understanding and said there was almost nothing he wouldn’t do to help her.  Continue reading

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Holby City: Fighting the right fight at the right time

(Series 19, ep. 22) Jac and Jasmine seem like chalk and cheese, but it was no coincidence that the day of this episode was supposed to be their mother’s birthday. The legacy of Paula lives on in both of them. They both push themselves ridiculously hard in order to prove that they’re worth love, or respect or – well, just worth their place in the world. In Jac’s case she has a core of steel and the independence borne of having to more or less bring herself up. Jasmine, who had a lot more contact with the toxic Paula, tries hard both in work and (unlike Jac) to get people to like her, makes some bad decisions due to her inexperience, and then blunders on into more mistakes. It just occurred to me that what a person like that needs in a mentor is someone calm, wise and relaxed. Someone like Elliot Hope.  Continue reading

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