Tag Archives: television

Holby City: We’ve all been to Normandy with Digby

digby holby“Normandy” was Digby’s code word for when he was due to find out if he had cancer. He needed a code word because he was hiding it from Morven, and trying his best to hide it from himself. When Holby doctors are worried about their own health, they tend to fill the time by getting heavily involved with a patient (in the medical sense rather than the romantic, because that would be unethical).

Digby’s patient was a teenage boy who’d been hit by a train, and frankly his chances weren’t good. Despite being in the world’s number one medical facility, he still died. Digby was the last one to give up, even when Bernie, Sacha and everybody else was saying it was time to stop.

The good news for Digby is that his mole has been successfully removed and the cancer hasn’t spread, so he’s fine. Despite a tedious hiccup, in which Morven got the idea that he was going on holiday with Zosia to Normandy, all ended well and Morven gave him a well-deserved hug. Continue reading


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Holby City: Getting back to normal

zosia holby(Series 17, ep.7) “The best way of getting me back to normal is getting me back to normal,” Dr Zosia March told her father. Hard to argue with her logic, apart from the fact that “normal,” to Zosia, means being at work.

For the past week or two she’s been at an expensive and exclusive-looking clinic and the verdict from the doctor in charge of her was that she may be bipolar. As usual, Selfie was in denial. Mental illness? Goodness. Nothing that assisting with a bit of seriously tricky brain surgery won’t sort out!

zosia holby cityObviously that didn’t work out well at all, and even Selfie was finally forced to admit that having a grown-up daughter who writes all over the table in Pulses in salt isn’t quite right. He went back to see the psychiatrist and admitted that his views of mental illness were “unenlightened.” You don’t say. Even so, despite Sacha offering some father-to-father advice and Zosia’s odd behaviour being the elephant in every room she sets foot in, Selfie is still determined to keep the issue just between the two of them.  Continue reading


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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: We’re not going to die here tonight

(Series 26, Ep.16) If you haven’t seen this episode yet, stop reading now before I spoil it for you as thoroughly as my dear old dad spoiled it for me by telling me the end two days before I managed to see the episode. Them’s the perils of Sky+.

Well then. Gosh. A two-part episode of Casualty, featuring a fire, explosions, a child locked in a locker, Dr Zoe Hanna and Dr Dylan trapped in Resus with only a bottle of gin to keep them going and Lovely Staff Nurse Faldren and pregnant Dr Ruth Winters forced to escape the conflagration via the air conditioning ducts.

And no-one died. Can you imagine? All of that tension and all of those special effects and Casualty, the most corpse-littered show on TV, comes up with a happy ending. I did not see it coming (ok, I did – thanks, dad). Ruth had dumped Jay the previous week. When things are going right for Ruth she expects them to go wrong, so she tries to blow up the situation herself before it blows up anyway. Lovely Staff Nurse Faldren has proved over the years that he’s not so easy to get rid of, and he wasn’t taking no for an answer. While he was telling Ruth that he wasn’t taking no for an answer, the rest of the hospital was on fire, but the fire alarms had been disabled and R and J had their phones switched off, so they didn’t know.

They soon found out, obviously, promptly rescued the girl trapped in the locker and the three of them discovered all exits were blocked and the only way was up – via the air con to the roof.  Frankly, it all looked hopelessly doomed. “We’re not going to die here tonight,” Jay told Ruth, with the conviction of A Man In Love. Continue reading

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Casualty: #RJ forever

(Series 26, Ep.14) I never manage to watch Casualty in real time and have to rely on Sky+ or iPlayer. This is mainly because my other half is squeamish. He can cope with the gore, but he can’t cope with the suspense of waiting for the nasty accidents to occur. So while Casualty is on, I’m generally watching The X Factor, with one eye on Twitter (mainly for the amusing comments of @themanwhofell and our very own X Factor queen, @sabfrancis). And because a lot of the people I follow on Twitter are Casualty fans, recently I’ve been seeing a lot of the hashtag #RJForever.

“RJ” are, of course, Ruth and Jay, AKA Dr Ruth Winters and Lovely Staff Nurse Faldren. Because they have tiresomely monosyllabic names, they can’t be mushed together in a Brangelina/Subo sort of way. Ruey or Juth both sound silly. So they have become RJ – the same initials as Romeo and Juliet, how apt is that?  Continue reading


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Holby City: Oliver always wanted to be a consultant

(Series 13, Ep.51) What a delightful episode.  I would have enjoyed it just for the neat demonstration of how character can be revealed via the eating of fruit. Henrik Hanssen peels his apple with a small knife, wearing a look of patient contentment and anticipation.  Sir Fraser just grabs an apple from a bowl, sinks his teeth into it, and when he’s had enough looks round for a bin to throw it in. Hanssen’s pain at this callous disregard of fruit was etched on his face.

Etched on the face of Young Dr Oliver Valentine was a bruise – is he ever without a bruise? – caused this time by running into a lamp post. He was being distracted while jogging by his former patient, recruitment consultant O’Gorman.  While Oliver was nursing his bruised head, O’Gorman hunted it, and offered Oli a job as a hot shot high flying recruitment consultant. He would be earning a salary so enormous it could only be comprehended by looking at the figure typed on an iPhone and not spoken out loud. Recruitment is presumably not the type of consultancy Oliver was aiming for when he applied for medical school.  What a marvellous use of several years of training and a qualification your sister worked hard to earn you. But Oli had had enough of being Jac’s puppet and spending hours in the wet lab suturing pigs’ lungs – even his on-the-fly carotid sinus massage did nothing to impress her –  so he wrote his resignation letter to Hanssen and told everyone he was leaving.  Continue reading


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Casualty: This isn’t who you are

(Series 25, Ep.45 & 46) Belatedly catching up on two weeks’ worth of Casualty, and we find the spotlight still very much on Adam and his “god complex.”

If Adam really was a god, and had the power to smite his enemies, he would reserve quite a bit of smiting power for paedophiles. Now, no-one in their right mind likes paedophiles, but Adam really, really doesn’t like them. He dislikes them so much that, even if they bear a stunning resemblance to lovely Chris Mead off of Waterloo Road, he has no qualms about torturing them a bit to get them to ‘fess up. Honestly, that’s what he was doing last week – torturing poor old Chris Mead, who turned out not to be a paedophile (apart from in a strictly technical sense, but let’s not go into that) and ended up having to have his leg amputated.

This week, the patient Adam had previously dosed up with a mythical urge-dampening drug was back in the ED, after taking too many of the pills and passing out. This meant Adam had to do some urgent track-covering so no-one found out about his illicit trip to the pharmacy. This was made more difficult because Kirsty was following him around like Inspector Clouseau and wanting Answers.

One of the answers that Kirsty got was from a patient with a terminal condition, who advised her to live life like she was writing her very own self-help book – parachute jumping and all that. Kirsty was bored with trying to get Adam to behave like a mere mortal instead of Zeus in scrubs, and fed up with everyone going quiet when she approaches since they found out Warren used to beat her up. So she bundled some belongings in the car, added Little Miss Glum, and threw her wedding ring out of the car window on the Clifton Suspension Bridge on her way to a new life. It didn’t even smash another car’s windscreen and cause a multiple pile-up, which must be a first for Casualty.

Next time: An explosion at Holby Airport – it’s been a while since we had one of those – and Adam has the chance to “atone for his sins.”

Posted by PLA          (more Casualty here)


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Mildred Pierce: Monty, Carlo and bust

(Episode 5) Way back when, episode two in fact, a chap noted that it was difficult to get a rise out of Mildred Pierce because of the high quality writing and production. Also mentioned was the need to scour the later pages of James M Cain’s source novel to indulge in some gentle teasing; such were the more ludicrous plot devices presented to his readers. This raised faint hopes of the same cathartic idiocy in the final part of this series.

Are we there yet, CL? Oh yes, my little corumblings.

Last week we left Mildred unhappy but free from her wellsprings of weakness and downfall: Mad Veda and The Man Who Was Del Monty. Veda has left home in a strop (it was a mink strop, having exhausted her extensive wardrobe of huffs) to explore the downtown existence of an uber-diva. An advance guard of contrived silliness here, being as she has never sung a note in her life. Meanwhile Monty has been jettisoned on account of being a bit of a nuisance in the accounts; his first, then Mildred’s [note to feminine side: aristocratic gigolo with pencil moustache and cheek-bones built for glacier skiing bad for wallet).

The final episode opens with Mildred stalking Carlo Treviso, the famous conductor with whom Veda is pursuing her nascent career of operatic parping. She wants to pay the bills but Carlo, having been briefed, refuses to take orders from the mother ship. He also offers a baroque homily about coloratura sopranos, a trillful elite among whom Veda is the trilliest. This pep talk is a little hard to follow – still less quote – so here are my notes verbatim: “See little snake at zoo. Very pretty. Take home? Not sensible. Girl is snake. Coloratura much worse than snake. I no enjoy snake bite.”   Continue reading


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Holby City: The one with the puking extras

(Series 13, Ep.41) Yes, I know there’s usually a puking extra or two on Holby, but there were loads of them in this episode. It was coming thick and fast. Or thin and fast. Fast, anyway. Sacha and Eddi were at a loss. “It’s not like normal food poisoning,” they kept sighing. What could it be? Who would work it out? Turned out it was lead poisoning, caused by wine dissolving the lead from some fakey antique cups. The person who worked it out was new girl Dr Lulu Hutchison. She may be teetering on high heels and getting non-speaking-extra nurses to bring her cups of coffee, yah, but she can put two and two together, diagnosis-wise. That’ll teach Eddi to make snap assumptions about people. Just because one looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, doesn’t mean one can’t also be a doctor.

But can one be both a mother and a doctor? This was the question Sahira Shah the Registrah was wrestling with, as she failed to really give 100% to her shiny new Cardiac Trauma Unit or her Adorable Son Indy, who was having a birthday. Her team of non-speaking extras from last week were apparently having a day off, so this week the CTU was staffed by Sahira and Jac, with Dr Oliver Valentine hanging around fairly uselessly  in the background (Jac had him practising juggling 50p coins across his knuckles. It was partly a dexterity exercise and partly an exercise in Putting Junior In His Place).

Sahira seems intent on setting the cause of feminism back decades, such is her inability to separate home and work. When putting an emergency chest drain into a small boy, she had to get Jac to cover his face because she couldn’t cope with the fact that he was roughly of a similar gender and age as her son. Pull yourself to-freaking-gether, woman! At one point she got in such a state that she smashed up the toy ambulance she’d got Indy as a birthday present. When we saw it in pieces on Hanssen’s floor, we just knew he’d spend the rest of the day fixing it for her. He really is besotted. Once again, Sahira went wobbly in the operating theatre and Jac had to tell her to snap out of it, and once again she snapped out of it and did some suturing that  “maybe only three surgeons in the world could have done,” (according to Jac), and once again we’re supposed to admire her and not think it’s all a bit rubbish because Jac is by far the superior surgeon anyway.

And where is Elliott? Has he been quietly shipped off to the mythical St James, or are they hiring at The Hadlington again? And has Frieda gone with him, wherever he is?

Funny Little Nurse Tait’s mother was brought into the hospital with a nasty infection and an advance directive saying not to make huge attempts to save her should the machines start going bleep. FLNT wasn’t happy with Ric, blaming him for the fire in which her mother was burned. But when the bleeping started, Ric wasn’t happy to leave her mother unsaved, and he dashed off to get Funny Little Nurse Tait to give him the go-ahead to save her mother’s life. It all prompted a bit of soul-searching on the part of FLNT. “I’ve been so angry,” she told him, her face registering its usually “mildly crestfallen” expression. Ric saved Mama Tait, and we left FLNT sitting by her bed, gently holding her hand. And looking mildly crestfallen.

Next time: Chrissie is frustrated with Dull Dan; Irish Dr Greg has a dark secret from his past; and Michael Spence employs “fliratatious” mentoring techniques with Lulu.

Posted by PLA          (more Holby City here)


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Mildred Pierce: Mother and child disunion

(Ep.4) Let’s re-cap: Mildred Pierce is a grass widow (ie no present husband) in the sun-drenched California Depression. She has three men, two daughters and a chicken shack on the go. She also has a pair of loyal girlypals who, unlike the others, are constant in both friendship and number.

You see the menfolk are currently down to two, Wally and ex-husband Bert, because The Man Who Was Del Monty – who pressed all, and I mean all, of her buttons – Mildred dumped on a dark and stormy night. She’s a daughter down as well, the grippe officially (that’s flu don’t yoo knoo) but it could have been because there were chickens in need of a wholesome nosh during the run-up to Mildred opening her first restaurant. This last soon bucks the unlucky streak because it’s “going gangbusters” and there are now two, soon to be three outlets. It’s at this third where we find our Ms Pierce this week …

The new joint’s way out in Laguna, a place I know little of other than it’s where you catch tuna; and that only through one of my desert island discs, the gloriously escapist Let’s get away from it all.  Mildred’s found a rather spiffy seafront spot and she’s going to let best friend Lucy live there and run it with a share of the profits thrown in. Ida, the pal she met in the LA branch of Bettys Tea Rooms is already running Chicken Biz II in Beverly Hills. Lucy is so overwhelmed by the kindness she invents “Surf & Turf,” having decided that big city rich people aren’t going to nip out to the beach for chicken.   Continue reading


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