W1A ~ Series Three, Episode Two

Yes exactly yes! I’m not being negative or anything but… there is absolutely nothing to be negative about in this top class BBC comedy programme. There’s more bikes, more of David casually thieving ideas and more of Will looking blank – it’s W1A time…

Picture Shows: L-R Faiza Rajah (PRIYANGA BURFORD), Ryan Chelford (BEN BATT), Lucy Freeman (NINA SOSANYA) – (C) BBC – Photographer: Jack Barnes

Cycling Shorts ~ So Will (yeah, crap) had this idea – ok, cool, no worries, and Izzy has been driving it forward. Jack has interfered and made a pilot with unwitting Will’s help and as if that wasn’t hard enough for Izzy to get her head around, David Wilkes has had his paws on it yet again and shown Anna (yes exactly yes) the footage that Will has collated. It’s doomed!

Anna on a bike (yes exactly) ~ In what I see as a bid to get another step closer to Ian – Anna, the most unlikely cyclist has a folding bike! How long before every member of the BBC staff is traveling by bike? It’s definitely a strategic move from the has so little to say for herself, with hilarious consequences too.

How do you solve a problem like Ryan? ~ After his disastrous appearance on Match Of The Day, Ryan has been pulled back into the BBC to potentially join the line-up on Question Of Sport. It’s Lucy’s idea, Siobhan doesn’t even know it’s a programme, but Simon (and Tony I expect, after his mindfulness break) are buzzing with it. However, when the meeting happens and Ryan’s new agent appears (Siobhan!) there’s suddenly the suggestion of Top Gear 2 instead. Embraced by both Ryan and Siobhan as they take a selfie together!

Picture Shows: L-R at BBC NBH reception. Faiza Rajah, (PRIYANGA BURFORD), Lucy Freeman (NINA SOSANYA), Ryan Chelford (BEN BATT) – (C) BBC – Photographer: Jack Barnes

Zoe & Chloe ~ The Charter renewal is in progress and Fiona Craig is in the building in charge and flanked by Zoe and Chloe. Zoe and Chloe are like the female version of Ben and Jerry. Genius!

Lucy’s lament ~ Lucy is the token put upon member of the BBC team and it seems that leaving her role to take up a job in a Gardening Centre is still not entirely off her mind. Although Ian is wondering if she’ll apply for the new role – and we all know that Lucy’s likely to get lumbered with that job, even if she doesn’t want it. From Better to Empowerment? Or will she be pulled by the call of the compost?

Jack Patterson Jonathan Bailey
Ryan Chelford Ben Batt
Ian Fletcher Hugh Bonneville
Faiza Rajah Priyanga Burford
Tracey Pritchard Monica Dolan
Jerry Guildencrantz Ivan Gonzalez
Siobhan Sharpe Jessica Hynes
David Wilkes Rufus Jones
Izzy Gould Ophelia Lovibond
Chloe Rose Matafeo
Ben Rosenstern Max Olesker
Anna Rampton Sarah Parish
Fiona Craig Pooky Quesnel
Clive Cook Derek Riddell
Zoe Emma Sidi
Will Humphries Hugh Skinner
Lucy Freeman Nina Sosanya
Simon Harwood Jason Watkins
Neil Reid David Westhead
Narrator David Tennant
Producer Paul Schlesinger
Director John Morton
Writer John Morton
Executive Producer Jon Plowman
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Casualty Series 32, Episode 5 ~ Review

Sam’s return meets with mixed reactions – which was always going to be the way if we’re honest! Alicia is on a mission to get Elle laid…. Plus there are two legends completely taking the episode to another level with their exceptional performances. Here comes more Casualty!

(C) BBC – Photographer: Alistair Heap

Return of the Nic….holls ~ Sam is back – to mixed reactions from fans, I know and also to a very mixed bag of reactions in the ED too. She’s a Paramedic now and that puts her in ‘cahoots’ with Iain. Which will make for interesting viewing in itself. She’s also cock-sure of herself, of course and her reappearance is not embraced by Dylan. It was time to bring someone in to stir things up a bit, though. Let’s see if I eat my words!

Gruesome Twosome ~ On the paramedic scene, with Jez having run off with the love of his life – there was room for new and old blood. So not only do we have Sam, but also Josh. Which means that Charlie has his buddy back and it’s not long before they’re back to their old ways and up to no good. Where’s Duffy when you need her? On a serious note, it’s brilliant to have Josh again, he’s one of the beating hearts of Holby.

Just call Alicia ‘Cilla’ ~ Alicia has admitted that she’s somewhat of a nympho, but she’s having a break from the sex and booze (for now…) and therefore on a mission to find Elle a man. Setting her up with Jacob is top of her list and she engages Louise’s help in her underhand dealings. While her efforts are not embraced by the pairing she has in mind, Elle does decide it’s time to find her ‘someone’.

A double force to be reckoned with ~ Casting Rosalind Ayres and Roberta Taylor as a same-sex couple was a genius move that paid off massively. I was so engrossed in their story that I actually cheered when Iona had a pulse, no matter how unlikely and rare an occurrence it was. It’s a long time since I’ve invested in the guest actors, but this storyline had me on the edge of my seat and emotionally connected with the characters. Brilliance, sheer brilliance.

Jealousy thy name is Lily? ~ So, with Sam having made her return are we sensing jealousy from Lily? I hope not as she and Iain have finally worked through the mire to get to relationship central. However, I’m sure I can’t be on my own in feeling that the green eyed monster lurks.

Credits

Role Contributor
Sam Nicholls Charlotte Salt
Iain Dean Michael Stevenson
Connie Beauchamp Amanda Mealing
Elle Gardner Jaye Griffiths
Alicia Munroe Chelsea Halfpenny
Dylan Keogh William Beck
Jacob Masters Charles Venn
Charlie Fairhead Derek Thompson
Robyn Miller Amanda Henderson
Lily Chao Crystal Yu
Louise Tyler Azuka Oforka
David Hide Jason Durr
Noel Garcia Tony Marshall
Josh Griffiths Ian Bleasdale
Becky Penton Nathalie Cox
Margie Mogford Roberta Taylor
Iona Griffin Rosalind Ayres
Chris Torbitt Adam Sopp
Writer Kayleigh Llewellyn
Producer Ciara McIlvenny
Director Paul Riordan

W1A ~ Series Three, Episode One

It’s back and I couldn’t be more excited! In the words of Anna Rampton (the amazing Sarah Parish) Yes, exactly yes. I feel like I’ve waited a lifetime for series three of what I perceive to be one of the most on point comedies that the BBC has to offer. Here are highlights of what will now be my favourite thirty minutes every Monday night… joyous! And might I add, very good, very strong….!

1. Bike envy ~ Opening on the usual folding bikers is the traditional start that I anticipate just for the sheer hilarity of the exchange between Simon (Jason Watkins) and Ian (Hugh Bonneville). Simon has usually got a better bike than Ian and communicates his superiority with a simple raise of the eyebrows or twinkle in his eye. This time, Will (Hugh Skinner) has joined his bosses and also has a bike, after visibly showing his adoration for Ian’s bike in previous episodes.

2. Guildencrantz & Rosenstern ~ This pair are always a highlight around the table in the meetings where nothing is really achieved! In fact, this time around they are both becoming increasingly like their leader and idol, Simon. The random “hurrahs” were too funny! Kudos to Ivan Gonzalez and Max Olesker who play the dopey pair, there are many many employees out there who are just like these two.

3. On Yer Bike ~ Will has had a brainwave that the object of affections, Izzy (Ophelia Lovibond) has driven forward. In the usual haphazard and sly fashion, the idea has been pinched – by David Wilkes (Rufus Jones), pitched to Matt (Daniel Ings) and changed beyond all recognition. Even Jack (Jonathan Bailey) has had a hand in it. Poor Will looks crestfallen when Jack rocks up to the meeting, he sees him as a love rival for Izzy so his presence completely bursts Will’s bubble. The scary thing about the meeting, here is that I have personally been in meetings like this in past jobs!

4. Love Triangle ~ Series two ended on a love triangle between Ian, Anna and Lucy (Nina Sosanya) and it’s continued into series three. When Lucy is selected to go to the studios in Manchester and Ian is bidden to go with her, Anna soon volunteers for the excursion, too! I’m so looking forward to watching this ‘rivalry’ play out. Ian, is of course as confused as ever.

5. Fun ~ Siobhan (Jessica Hynes) is back and she’s joint CEO of a company called Fun. She’s still chucking around the word “sure” when she’s not really listening and doesn’t really fit in to the equation, not even in a company who throw a silent disco every time there’s a good idea. She’s causing endless confusion when pitching to the BBC team, as usual – especially when trying to convince them about BBC Me, which is not an innovation from her own team members. I think she hits a new high… or low when she calls Bipolar a ‘thing’. What would W1A be without her, though?

Casualty Series 32, Episode 4 ~ Review

This week’s instalment saw Dylan’s on-going storyline with young Sanosi swerving around every tight bend going. Alicia was quite literally swerving as she took a driving lesson with Elle. Then there’s Connie and Ethan… here are the top five highlights! 

1. Dervla vs Sanosi ~ Sanosi has been the centre of Dylan’s universe since the first episode of the new series. Almost sharing a place in grumpy doctor’s heart with his beloved Dervla – but not quite in favour, when he locks the dog in the bedroom! Dylan’s face is a picture!

2. Connie’s commitment ~ Connie is still showing commitment to Ethan, demonstrated even further when she offers to help him with his OSCE revision. The bond between this pair doesn’t sit comfortably, I keep waiting for someone to crack. I feel Ethan is most likely to shout his mouth off, a loose cannon if ever I saw one.

3. ‘Elle’ plates for Alicia ~ Elle offers to give Alicia a driving lesson and is soon set to regret her decision after Alicia’s reckless motoring almost lands them in Casualty! It isn’t Alicia’s fault but it’s a miracle that she isn’t to blame. I enjoyed seeing these two characters interact, there’s a good chemistry there that needs to be explored.

4. Sanosi to stay? ~ After a disastrous attempt at reuniting Sanosi with his UK-residing Uncle, Dylan looks set to be taking care of the boy full time. I expect Dylan is a better option than a drug smuggling Uncle, but will the pair of them live in harmony?

5. Lily’s lament ~ When Iain catches Lily in the act of emailing their colleagues to announce their ‘committed relationship’ (trust Lily!) she finds a way of telling everyone face to face. Just like Iain suggested. Although I don’t expect he had a staff meeting in mind! Ah well, the secret’s out…

Photo credits: BBC

Credits

Role Contributor
Dylan Keogh William Beck
David Hide Jason Durr
Alicia Munroe Chelsea Halfpenny
Elle Gardner Jaye Griffiths
Connie Beauchamp Amanda Mealing
Ethan Hardy George Rainsford
Lily Chao Crystal Yu
Iain Dean Michael Stevenson
Robyn Miller Amanda Henderson
Noel Garcia Tony Marshall
Max Walker Jamie Davis
Jacob Masters Charles Venn
Writer Tony Higgins
Producer Gwenllian Gravelle
Director James Larkin

Trust Me, Series One, Episode Three ~ Review

Another episode of Trust Me has been and gone, so it’s over to resident Guest Blogger, Chloe Buckles to fill us in on the latest instalment!

The penultimate episode of this series didn’t disappoint! But if you’re of a nervous disposition you may want to look away now because this episode gave us emotional heartbreak, plenty of blood and yet more unanswered questions!

Having done his research now into ‘Dr Ally’/Cath Hardacre (Jodie Whittaker), Andy Brenner (Emun Elliot) is quick to realise that his new girlfriend is not all she seems to be. After a frosty shift together, which gets everyone suspicious given that Cath has just lost her father, Andy invites Cath to a secluded and somewhat bleak part of the Scottish countryside where he finally calls her out on her identity deception. The biggest surprise here was that although he is obviously angry at what Cath has been doing – pretending to be her doctor-pal Ally – he appears on the surface to be supporting her. But all isn’t quite sitting right with this partnership now, and Andy persuades Cath to move in with him. I wouldn’t be surprised if there is far more to his story still to come, even with just one more episode to go. With his help, Cath seems to be becoming an even more convincing of a doctor as he helps her get up to speed on some of the more complex procedures. Is he just setting Cath up so he can be the one to take the fall out and the glory for having uncovered it himself? Or is he genuinely in love with her and only wants to see her succeed?

Ally (JODIE WHITTAKER), Dr Andy Brenner (EMUN ELLIOTT) – (C) Red Productions – Photographer: Mark Mainz

Back in Sheffield, Karl (Blake Harrison) smells a rat. He’s told that Cath has been spreading lies about their relationship and telling people that he had been violent and we learn from him that Cath is not known for being deceptive and lying. This information into her character added to the enormity of what she is currently doing and coupled with her encounter with Andy earlier we realise how the main driving force in her motivation is to ensure that daughter Molly has the best life, and the best potential life, she can. But Karl is heading to Edinburgh to confront Cath – will he be the one to out her identity to the rest of her colleagues?

Later in the episode we see things really begin to spiral into difficulty for Cath. A very busy shift on A&E with her line manager Brigitte (Sharon Small) means everyone is against it and Brigitte is putting pressure on Cath to get through their patients as quickly as possible. With emergencies en route and patients stacking up all around them, Cath begrudgingly succumbs to Brigitte’s pressure of letting her patient with the dental abscess go home instead of being checked out further.

This was only ever going to lead to one moment, and from the moment Mr Abscess walked in it was clear it wasn’t going to end well for him. Sure enough, he is readmitted later on with an obstructed airway and he’s in a bad way. With Brigitte panicking because she knows she encouraged his discharge and unable to get an airway in Cath is forced to step up. At this point we really see Brigitte struggle and you get a real picture of how much she is out of her depth in her role – she certainly came across to the viewer as very vulnerable. Forced to perform a surgical airway under pressure Cath eventually succeeds. Needless to say, if you were of a nervous disposition these weren’t the scenes for you. Tense and dramatic I’m not sure if I breathed throughout (in fact I was probably in need of some oxygen myself).

The episode finished with Brigitte pleading with Cath to alter the records to save them from any backlash from having earlier discharged the patient. Clearly struggling with the idea of lying about the care of a patient (somewhat ironically given that she’s pretending to be a doctor) Cath eventually alters the notes. But then she discovers Brgitte is drinking. Will she put the blame on Brigitte? Or continue to stick to their cover story? And more importantly, who is going to blow her own massive secret?

Looking forward to hearing about the final episode from Chloe! Here’s her own blog where you should drop in and check out her ‘ramblings’…

Inept Ramblings Blog

Trust Me, Series One, Episode One ~ Review *** GUEST BLOG ***

Chloe Buckles, a member of Team Break A Leg has very kindly offered to review the new series on BBC One, ‘Trust Me’. We love a guest blog from Chloe, so here she is to tell you all about the show which stars the new Doctor-to-be.

Lovely Chloe, who is one of our treasured Guest Bloggers

With Tuesday nights rapidly becoming a prime time for the BBC to show it’s latest mini drama series, plus the added surge of interest in actress Jodie Whittaker as the new Doctor Who, Trust Me is, in my opinion, a piece of ‘must-watch’ TV. And this first episode of the series didn’t disappoint…

So, Who is the Doctor here? Well, one thing’s for sure, Cath Hardacre (Jodie Whittaker) is not. When we first meet her she’s a capable and caring nurse, frustrated by how the system is letting not only her, but more importantly, her patients down. After toying with the idea of taking her concerns to the press, she eventually does the ‘right’ thing and keeps it in house. Unfortunately, her own conduct has been called into question and tables are quickly turned with Cath’s job now on the line.

Losing her job, and watching her best friend Ally Sutton (Andrea Lowe) get ready to jet off to New Zealand for her new life, you see the idea ignite and formulate in her mind – she could become her best friend. An A&E doctor. I’m not sure that when Ally said she’d do anything for Cath, she meant let her steal her identity!

Ally (JODIE WHITTAKER) – (C) Red Productions – Photographer: Mark Mainz

With so much against a character, who is painted to the viewers as honest and capable, you do feel for Cath. However, her decision to then steal her best friends identity didn’t entirely sit right for me – a hugely drastic decision with potentially enormous consequences for a situation that I didn’t feel was desperate enough, especially given that she is a good character who clearly cares about the quality of care of her patients.

Regardless, what follows is a highly anxious time with Cath masquerading as a qualified doctor, now in Edinburgh having moved from Sheffield. Despite doing her research, Cath is quickly overwhelmed by the pace and complication of an A&E department – apparently not just anyone can do it even with some YouTube tutorials! I felt genuinely uncomfortable, and not just at watching that foot be pulled back into place, but at the concern that she may get it wrong. A rabbit in the headlights. Her time in resus was particularly frightening and reminiscent only of a bad dream – where you are put in a situation where you have absolutely no idea how to respond. This is credit to the exceptional writing and directing, which made the scenes so tense and uneasy to watch as a viewer.

Despite Cath quickly becoming comfortable in her new role, especially in minors, huge cracks are already forming in her plan (which at its heart is simply to give her daughter, Molly, a better life). I look forward to seeing where this is going and, inevitably, how it all unravels as her past life catches up with her.

Trust Me airs on Tuesday at 9pm on BBC One.

 

Chloe blogs at Inept Ramblings Blog

Break A Leg’s Top Five Television Programmes of 2016

Television is as much of a passion for me as the theatre, I am delighted to have been able to include episode reviews and related interviews on the site, this year. After all, my interest in theatre stemmed from the desire to see performers from the television perform on stage. So, here’s the best of what’s been floating my boat this year on the small screen, this year.

Sandra
Sandra Huggett played Maxine in In The Club… one of my favourite new characters.

In The Club – winner of Break A Leg Critic’s Choice Awards for best Television Drama, I adored this series which has been penned by the magnificent Kay Mellor. When I watched the first series it was not long after the birth of my Son and I could identify with so much that was featured in the storylines. Series two was well worth the wait and I am desperate for a third series. Fantastic writing, perfect casting and left me wanting more. Come on BBC!

soaps-casualty-duffy-returns-2
The reappearance of Cath Shipton as Duffy has been a highlight of Casualty for me, this year.

Casualty – I have been a fan of Casualty since it first started and always loved Duffy and Charlie. The fact that Cath Shipton has made a permanent return as Duffy this year and the character has been paired off with Charlie (Derek Thompson) has been another good reason to watch. I think that the full cast of regulars they currently have is incredibly strong. Their 30th anniversary episode was like a movie in quality and the episode that Amanda Mealing directed (she usually plays Connie) was one of the best of this series, in my opinion. Long may the show reign.

downton-abbey-actress-samantha-bond-itv-drama-home-fires-interview-tom-atkinson-573988
Home Fires – I’ll miss this series so much!

Home Fires – I was really getting into this series and the second series which aired this year was my incredible. I felt that the cast had gelled and the various storylines had me gripped. The fact that it finished on such a cliff hanger is still disconcerting and I am shocked at ITV’s decision to axe a popular series which had been taken to viewers’ hearts. It had the right cast and setting to be as big as the likes of Downton Abbey if it had only been given the chance.

holby-city
Holby City has taken viewers on a real rollercoaster ride, this year.

Holby City is another medical drama that I have stuck with from the word go. This year has seen some of my favourite characters leave (Digby, for a start off!) and a few eyebrow raising storylines (Serena (Catherine Russell) and Bernie (Jemma Redgrave) getting together, for one!). It’s as strong a series as it’s sister-how, Casualty and I have enjoyed the cross-overs that have occasionally occurred. There need to be more of those!

trollied_episode_0508.jpg
When it comes to comedy, Trollied has been the pick of the crop for me. Jason Watkins and Sarah Parish (pictured) have been a highlight of the show with their hilarious partnership.

Trollied – there haven’t been many comedies that have been on my must-watch list, this year. Trollied is one of the best programmes on Sky One, in my humble opinion and series six has been one of the best they have produced. The banter between the characters is an excellent demonstration of fantastic observational comedy and every actor in the show plays their role brilliantly. I don’t think it would be the same without any of them, now. Long live Valco, a seventh series must surely be on the cards?

That’s it for 2016, I look forward to being a to cover more from the box in the corner of your living rooms, next year! There are some exciting shows coming up which may well end up on this list next time.

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