This week Holby City tackled the difficult business of writing out Nurse Sandy Harper, the character played by Laura Sadler, who died in a fall earlier this year. They opted for the high-profile approach, giving Sandy a £150,000 lottery win which sent her on a moonlight flit to Australia, but not before she’d left gifts and farewell notes for all her friends. Sandy’s generosity prompted a celebration in the pub after work, which must have been a difficult scene to film for everyone involved. But they pulled it off and then some, giving Sandy and Laura the send-off they deserved.
It was good see Holby getting something right because lately it’s been getting a few things wrong, not least falling prey to sister show Casualty’s habit of picking on a character (in this case Sister Kath) and persecuting her with a relentless string of personal disasters. Last week she resigned after being made the scapegoat for an unexplained death, and this week things didn’t get much better, as clinical director Ric Griffin first begged her to come back, then immediately told her to go away again after she’d embarrassed him by failing to achieve the impossible (i.e. find a spare bed on an NHS ward).
The storyline’s not all bad though. In an interesting twist on workplace bullying, Kath’s two principal tormentors are junior to her in the nursing ranks – ferret-faced Lisa, who blames her for her father’s death, and butter-wouldn’t-melt Kelly, the outwardly easy-going ward nurse who’s actually fiercely ambitious and keen to undermine her at every opportunity.
On that basis a bit more grief for Kath might just be acceptable, but only provided there’s a real humdinger of a payback for both back-stabbers before the year’s out. This should ideally involve Lisa losing crucial body parts thanks to Kelly’s refusal to follow Kath’s instructions, and the Trust’s chief executive (the alarmingly rough-looking Susannah York) having to fall on her paper-knife after Zubin the Omnipresent Anaesthetist secretly films her offering to cover everything up if Kelly will finger Kath for the Keller Ward Wet Wipes scandal. We look forward to seeing the details in the Christmas Radio Times.