Tag Archives: soaps

Casualty: Getting away with it

casualty(Series 28. ep.35) The main action of this episode centred around Dixie borrowing a camper van to transport an ill patient out of the hospital to visit his terminally ill mother for one last time. It sounds like the plot of a weepy made-for-TV movie from the 1970s, especially when they all ended up at the seaside, with Dixie, Lofty and the staff member from the mother’s hospice eating ice cream while the boy and his mother were parked side by side in their wheelchairs on the beach, watching the sun go down. The story was saved from total mawkishness by the character of the mother (Amanda Ryan), who was a former rock-chick biker type who resisted cliches unless she called them cliches first. In the end, it was sweet and sad, but it got Dixie, Lofty and (to a lesser extent) Max into a whole heap of trouble back at Holby.

max zoe casualtyMax was forgiven fairly easily, partly because he is the living embodiment of charm, but mainly because he’s sleeping with the boss. “The boss” is still Zoe and not Connie, though whenever Zoe is called upon to deal with a situation, Connie seems to be keeping a very close eye on things indeed, almost like she’s already ordered swatches and paint samples for when she has to redecorate the office of power.

Cal’s pursuit of Dr Lily Chao hasn’t progressed very far, though poor Rita was forced to stand at the far side of a patient trying not to gag as Cal employed his best chat-up technique. 

Next time: Connie questions Zoe’s judgement (Aha! Is she making her move?) and Dixie is suspended.

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EastEnders: Unmissable

ian peter eastendersIt’s the morning after the EastEnders the night before, and my jaw is still on the floor next to the pile of soggy tissues. It was, quite simply, the best half hour of drama I’ve ever seen in a TV soap.

Producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins said, “We’re doing it forensically. The minutiae. We’re doing grief first; it’s not a silly death. It’s about death in a family,” and he wasn’t kidding. The episode focused on the immediate aftermath of Lucy Beale’s death: the police telling her father, Ian, and Ian telling the rest of the family. I’d expected to feel sad and tearful. What I hadn’t expected to feel was such a sense of dread at various points – when Ian had to face going to the peter ian eastendersmortuary to see Lucy’s body, when he had to tell his other children. Even when his phone rang and he wasn’t ready to talk to anyone. It was grief shown like it really is. Almost the most poignant scene was when Ian was sitting in the waiting area at the mortuary with the police officer, and they made small talk about where she grew up and the places they both knew. He even smiled at the memories, but you could see behind the smile was the realisation that nothing in his life would ever be the same again. It was utterly real, and the performance from Adam Woodyatt as Ian was incredible and intense in every facial expression and every gesture. All the peripheral details added to the brilliant work from the lead actors – little things like the policeman washing up the tea mugs, or the look on Lauren’s face when she saw Ian coming into the pub to look for his son, Peter (lovely work from Ben Hardy).   Continue reading

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Casualty: Prison drama

casualty(Series 27, Ep.44)  Well, that was dramatic, wasn’t it? Jeff and Tom trapped inside a prison in the middle of a riot, with Tom’s killer of a father busy having a heart attack, and Dixie watching helplessly on the prison’s CCTV while prison officers were being thrown off balconies and things were being set on fire. The worst bit was Jeff being subjected to a “kangaroo court” – sat on a chair surrounded by violent thugs who were convinced he was a plant (as in working for the prison, not a leafy thing, despite the green uniform). Jeff has the nicest teeth on British TV, so I spent most of the episode worrying about them.

jeff casualtyDixie was marvellous, flinging herself into danger in order to retrieve her colleagues and their patient. She was rewarded by a date with the prison governor. Tom was rewarded by a kiss or two from Sam, which was very lovely to see. Jeff’s reward was that his nephew (is it his nephew?) Jamie had been worried about him. But I’m hoping everyone gets sent to see the staff counsellor, because we don’t want Jeffrey naked and quivering in the shower again (or do we?), which can happen when he’s post-traumatised.

Talking of trauma, back in the relative calm of A&E Tess and Zoe had to deal with a child who had a bad headache. They were puzzled as to the cause, but I wasn’t because I passed my F2 exams at the Holby School of Televisual Medicine some time ago and I knew it was carbon monoxide poisoning. Luckily the little brother who’d been left home alone was found before it was too late.

Tess is very good at looking after the young ‘uns, but she told Dr Zoe Hanna that she won’t be looking after her own young ‘un anytime soon, because she’s not planning to keep the baby. The father doesn’t want a baby, she told Zoe. Let’s wait and find out, when Fletch finds out.

tam casualtySpeaking of whom, I noticed that Sam and Tom are routinely described as “Tam” on Twitter and that. Is anyone talking about “Tetch” or “Fless,” or is everyone too busy going “Ewwwwww!!!”?

Posted by PLA          (more Casualty here, and Holby City reviews here)

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Casualty: I predict a riot

(Series 27, Ep.43) It’s been a while since I blogged about Casualty, because I don’t manage to watch it very often. I was tempted back in after reading an interview with Oliver Coleman (Dr Tom Kent) about tonight’s episode. It all sounded dreadfully exciting – post-watershed prison riot scenes, personal danger, flames…

So I watched last week’s on iPlayer, and I was very glad I did because it set the scene for what’s going to happen tonight. And it was a thoroughly enjoyable episode.

casualty tom kentLovely Dr Tom Kent was at the prison to meet the biological father he never knew he had. Well, obviously he knew he had a biological father – he’s a doctor after all – but not this particular one.  Brian Protheroe, who played the father Peter Marshall, was excellently cast. Physically he looks a lot like an older Tom Kent, and he even has the same stillness and air of capability about him. Marshall was also like his son in that he was a caring sort of person who had a mentoring role to a younger prisoner who had Asperger’s. Unlike his son, he was in prison for killing someone.   Continue reading

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Coronation Street: Baby love

deirdre eileen corrieThey’re having more than their fair share of emotional turmoil in Coronation Street at the moment, with various strands of the aftermath of the Rovers Return fire still playing out (though in most respects you’d never have known there’d been a fire, they’ve so lovingly recreated the outdated ambience of the establishment). Eileen’s descent into sleep-deprived, alcohol-enhanced barminess due to her fear that firefighting boyfriend Paul might not come back from his next shift in one piece has been very amusing, not least when she got drunk with Deirdre Barlow and they had a discussion about Deirdre’s belts, which are purchased online apparently. “I can send you the link,” Deirdre offered. Eileen declined. No one wears a belt quite like Deirdre. Elsewhere, Dev is determined to prove that Sunita (or “Suniiiiiiiita-a-a-a-a!”) didn’t start the fire. His behaviour has become erratic even by his own erratic standards, which is making it easy for Karl, the real culprit, to discredit him as “losing it.”

There’s also been a side plot running about whether Marcus, who identifies himself as gay, can really be in love with Maria, who identifies herself as a hair stylist, while still being gay (Marcus, not Maria).

tina corrieBut the central storyline involves Tina McIntyre acting as a surrogate so that Izzy and Gary can have a baby. This was extremely well set up. Izzy, who is disabled and uses a wheelchair, had a miscarriage and felt she couldn’t cope physically and emotionally with the trauma of trying to have another child, although she was desperate to be a mother. Up stepped Tina, who as well as being strapped for cash due to boyfriend Tommy’s stupidity, is quite a vulnerable person herself following the death of her father. Although she gives the impression of being very together and quite feisty, there’s something quite lost about her. She’s also radiantly beautiful.   Continue reading

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Coronation Street: Tragedy for Chesney

I’ve just been watching last night’s Coronation Street, and Schmeichel the dog is apparently terminally ill. “Heartbreaking,” says The Mirror. “Nooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!” says the Coronation Street Blog. “Great Danes do not live forever,” says a Corrie spokesperson. The hard-hearted realist.

Unfortunately, I am left cold by this news. Why? Well, mainly because dogs can’t act. The current Schmeichel (there have been four of them) is highly trained, but rather like the child who used to play Our Amy before the current Our Amy, the dog is always looking off camera and at its owner/trainer who is presumably crouching a short distance away. Maybe if Chesney wore contact lenses made of choccy doggy treats, the dog would gaze into his eyes and we’d have a scene to make the death of Bambi’s mother look like a top comedy moment.

In fact, if you’re worried you’ll be overcome with grief at the moment Chez waves his best friend off to the rainbow bridge, just let your mind conjure up the image of Sam Aston smearing Pedigree Chum on his eyelids in an effort to get Schmeichel to look at him.

That’s what I’m planning to do (the imagining, not the actual smearing), because I’m not as hard as I pretend.

Posted by PLA          (more Corrie posts here)

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Casualty: Adam knows best

(Series 25, Ep.44) Last week, we were informed that Adam has a “god complex.” Frankly I’m not seeing it, myself. What I’m seeing is a doctor who’s trying to do the best for his patients and grappling with moral dilemmas. He doesn’t always choose the path through the moral dilemma that others would, but that’s the nature of moral dilemmas and it certainly doesn’t mean you’ve got a god complex.

Maverick Nurse Kirsty disagrees with me, because Adam is way more maverick than she is at the moment, and she’s not happy. This is the woman who used to enjoy testing rules to breaking point. Anyway, the moral maze in which Adam found himself this week concerned a man who was dying of mesothelioma, which he’d got by being in contact with asbestos from his father’s factory. He was about to testify in a law suit against the company, currently owned by his brother, Gary Kemp out of Spandau Ballet. Gary really needed the brother out of the way so he didn’t testify, and tried to persuade Adam that his patient didn’t want to be resuscitated. Adam saw through the handiness of this scheme, however, so Gary resorted to a spot of cyanide poisoning. This unlikely eventuality was spotted by Dr Dylan Keogh, and Gary ended up in the police station, and the brother lived just long enough to do his testimony via video link. Maverick Nurse Kirsty was cross that Adam chose to tell the brother that Gary had tried to kill him. “It wasn’t your call, Adam,” she told him. Technically, maybe not – but Adam’s actions seemed fairly sound to me.   Continue reading

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Eastenders: Pat’s All Folks!

WARNING: this article contains SPOILERS

Sad news for Eastenders fans with the announcement that Pam St Clement is quitting her role as Fat Pat Butcher/Evans/whatever else, leaving a void huge in more ways than one.

While many regularly slapped cheeks on the Square may relax with the departure of part two of the ‘you bitch, you caaaahh!’ double act, it’s undoubtedly a big blow for a show which is going through an arguably rocky period.

Pat is a constant in Eastenders; one of those characters which it’s difficult to imagine the show without. They say that no character is bigger than the show, but Pat comes pretty damn close (and that is not a fat joke I’ll have you know!)

The character that takes in every waif and stray, dishes out advice to those in need and harsh words to those in the wrong. Think of a storyline or a family and Pat will have played a part somewhere.

And she’s had her own set of adventures along the way. Knocking down and killing innocent pedestrians ( a Butcher family trait which Frank and Janine kept strong. Ricky’s turn for a roadkill next!), having torrid affairs with her on/off husband, driving around in an ice cream van partially intoxicated, witnessing her husband drop dead of a heart attack and (worst of all) cornering Patrick Trueman in the car lot wearing nothing more than a fur coat are just a  few of her adventures. Pat will be missed, there is no doubt about it.

Certainly, the show will survive without her but I feel that her departure will signal a big transition period for the show where it’s firmly placed roots will begin to disappear. I am sure that it won’t be long until June Brown leaves as Dot either.

For me, Pat was Eastenders;  moreso than other so-called legends such as the preachy and irritating Dot, the pantomime Peggy and the permanently miserable Pauline. I just hope that she gets a truly fitting exit. Walking away after the pub blowing up or dropping dead suddenly in the snow just simply won’t be enough for our Pat.

For a special character deserves a special send off.

Posted By Our Man In The North

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Waterloo Road: Long live WR!

(Series 7, Ep.10) Whenever I think of Chris Mead, I shall picture him bounding like a young gazelle across Formby sands in pursuit of Finn and Amy. It was a magnificent feat of athleticism, and one which he reprised in the final episode of this term, as he jogged gamely along the platform at Manchester Piccadilly Station to save Scout and Our Little Liam from evil drug dealer types. Not a hair out of place. Breathtaking. Scout, however, was less impressed. She didn’t want to go into “curr.” She curred so much about not going into curr that she made Denzil swurr not to tell anyone that she was planning to take Liam, a fistful of drugs money and a packed lunch to That London on a train. But Denzil is a curring type of lad and he’s seen the documentaries, so he told Chris what was going on.

Chris’s hasty departure from the school premises in pursuit was badly timed for Karen, who was busy trying to impress school inspector Alison (Tracy-Ann Obermann). Throw in Finn, Josh, Amy and Lauren taking a turn around the school car park in Tom Clarkson’s car, via the cycling proficiency class helmed by nervous cyclist Daniel Chalk, and you have all the makings of what most school inspectors would term “failure.” “Your deputy head just seriously undermined your authority, minutes after four of your pupils were caught joyriding,” summed up Inspector Alison. Put that way, it didn’t sound good.   Continue reading

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Casualty: What’s in the green bag, Adam?

(Series 25, Ep.42) Big Mac wasn’t a happy man when he was asked to add “deep cleaning of trolleys” to his already burdensome list of duties – doing the crossword, some impromptu gambling, joshing with Noel and a little light portering. It didn’t take long before you could see his point, though – resus was literally awash with gore, after a man threw up more blood than a man has a right to do and most of it ended up on the floor. You wouldn’t want to be the person deep cleaning that particular trolley.

The deep cleaning thing was part of yet another initiative designed by Henry to make life for casualty staff so much more difficult. Poor Lush Linda was struggling to cope with the added admin and mutinous staff, but she found an ally in Nick Jordan’s new PA, Emily (catchphrase: “I’m helpin’!”). Emily left at the end of the episode intent on becoming a nurse, and I hope that when she finishes her training – which will probably take three weeks in Holby time – she’ll be back at Holby (either upstairs in Holby City or downstairs in Casualty), because she was lovely.

Meanwhile, the programme information told us that “Adam’s God complex continues.” Continues? When did it start? Have I missed something? Anyway, this God complex was signalled in NICE BIG LETTERS by a recurring motif of Adam’s big, godlike eye peering through a glass at a little fly, over which he had the power of life or death. Subtle, huh? The patient over which he wielded this power was a paedophile, beaten up within an inch of his life by the father of one of his victims (this father was the man who was heaving up blood all over the floor in resus – so often we get two for the price of one with Casualty patients).

The paedophile’s mother was played by the radiantly gorgeous Denise Welch, but frankly that’s all he had going for him (and she didn’t like him either). He told Adam he couldn’t cope with the horrible impulses that made him behave the way he did, and said he wanted a way out. The power was in Adam’s hands – an ethical dilemma indeed.

Lennie wanted to be Adam’s wing man (“I’m your boss, not your friend,” said the ever-chirpy Adam), but he was a little concerned when Adam visited the pharmacy and obtained a small green bag of something or other. Was Adam planning to despatch the sex offender to the hereafter with a hypodermic? Well, no, he wasn’t. His God complex doesn’t go quite that far. Instead he provided the man with something hormonal to (hopefully) curb his urges, and released him back into the wilds of Holby. Let’s just hope we don’t hear of him again.

And, in case we missed the fly metaphor the first time, and the second, the episode closed with Adam’s big eye looking at the fly, and then Adam releasing it into the air. That’s just what Big Mac doesn’t need – a department crawling with flies while he’s trying to deep clean.

Posted by PLA          (more Casualty here)

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