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First Episode Review

Episode Review of the debut episode of police spin-off HolbyBlue.

HolbyBlue will make it’s debut when it hits our screens on Tuesday 8th May.

The ‘spin-off of a spin-off’ has already been the topic of discussion for many a CASUALTY and HOLBY CITY fan, the main question they ask being ‘Will it really work?’

CASUALTY fans were dubious when HOLBY CITY launched, but it’s success just goes to show that you shouldn’t knock something until you’ve tried it. I myself was indeed almost guilty of this where HolbyBlue is concerned.

Then I tried the first episode and most of it – I took back. Aside from the variant camera definition that is used for both CASUALTY and HOLBY CITY and the odd few uninteresting or pointless characters, the first episode persuaded me that this show could actually work. More to the point, it was good!

Situated in the heart of Bristol, Holby South Police Station is the central, lively nick that serves the city and it’s surrounding area. The station comprises of the uniform and detective officers and the Crown Prosecution Service lawyer Rachel Barker (Sara Powell), who I would at first showing say is one of the pointless characters, her motive very obvious from the start to be nothing other than a flirt.

The first episode introduced most of the characters and was founded on two main storylines, the risque subject of paedophilia and a domestic violence situation which interestingly connects to medicine when a case of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is found to be the real criminal. The show certainly didn’t hold back on throwing itself into the deep end. With plots not too complicated that the viewers couldn’t follow and enough twists to keep you on your toes, it seems that HolbyBlue admirably aims to use the reality of day to day crime to knit together an on the whole successful ensemble of plot and characters.

To remind us the show is the final piece of the Holby trilogy, the opening scene takes us to A&E where we see familiar face Charge Nurse Charlie Fairhead (Derek Thompson) confronted with a potentially nasty situation in reception. Sat waiting with his children, off duty Detective Inspector John Keenan (Cal Macaninch) is quick to jump in and tackle the would be assailant, using a method of arrest that could be at first said to give the police a not so polished image, though successfully gets his man.

His continuation to bringing the man to justice leads us to his house where we re-introduced to his ex-wife Kate Keenan (Zoe Lucker) and their two children. His unorthodox actions whilst still carrying his arrested criminal may surprise viewers at first but by the end of the episode we see that this character is one that gives the show a meaning.

Cal portrays the work-obsessed, troubled DI perfectly, more so when teamed with his new Detective Sergeant Luke French (Richard Harrington) who’s the clean-cut city boy type at first glance, but harbouring a private life quite different to his surface appearance as we will later find out. Heading up the CID is Detective Chief Inspector Harry Hutchinson (Tim Piggott-Smith). He wants control of his team but I question in this first episode, does he have it? Finally I must mention the delightful Inspector Jenny Black (Kacey Ainsworth) whose character rules the uniform roost whilst also appearing to be the bridge between the aforementioned and CID.

Viewers are instantly thrown into an argument on ‘real crime vs terrorism’. We see the so called attitude of city police when it comes to officers being pulled out of normal duty to be on ‘standby’ for security alerts rather than being allowed to police the streets and the repercussions of this action. We also see a somewhat extreme array of character types. Among your average, everyday person we see the dependable, the bully, the token dopey blonde, the intelligent, the gentle and the shovanist pig (no pun intended).

All in all this is a programme that I’d recommend ‘Holby’ fans to certainly try. The Police offer a different perspective to the lives of the Holby community. We see the cause of the publics needs for medical treatment and the aftermath. We see another group of people who work to serve the community, another handful of those professionals that we always take for granted. I only hope that this show does the police service the justice it deserves. Surely respect is in image the police cannot afford to have tarred.



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