This festively-themed episode of Holby City was stuffed full of carol singers, elves and people in Santa costumes. And, like Christmases generally are, it was also full of people trying to navigate their way through various family problems.
It started off with a dream – Fletch as a little boy, with a glimpse of his father in a Santa costume fading away like Steven had faded from Fletchs life. Fletch woke up and he was at Holby, where he was pulling his third double shift of the week to try to provide for his kids. One of his kids, Evie, was currently coming up in the lift along with Jac Naylor and a young man who was looking for Mr Fletcher. It turned out to be the senior Mr Fletcher, Steven, he was after and the young man greeted him as Dad.
I did wonder a while back why Steven had such a good working knowledge of head lice and speculated that he might have a secret family stashed away. Jaiyden wasnt his biological son, but hed been stepdad to him and his siblings for eight years. Poor Fletch. He was just about coming to terms with his father being such an epic failure as far as he was concerned, but now to discover that Steven had managed to be a proper father figure to another family was upsetting news indeed.
Alex Walkinshaw played this storyline brilliantly. After hed met Jaiydens mother (who was a patient) and been delivered a few home truths by Evie about his own failings as a father (his affair with Tess from Casualty mainly) there was a scene where he opened an envelope Steven gave him. It contained a Christmas card hed made for Steven when he was a six, and he just sat and cried his eyes out. Then Evie came in and they hugged and he cried a bit more, and he told her to round up her brothers and sister because they were going to spend Christmas with Steven.
Like Fletch, Xaviers memories of childhood Christmases werent happy – particularly the ones after his brother Noah died and in her grief his mother still insisted on buying presents for him. He didnt want to be lonely this Christmas, though, so he suggested to Donna that he could come and see her on Christmas Day. Donna admitted that she hadnt told her girls about him yet, so she didnt want him just showing up. It wasnt long before he was introduced to Mia anyway – when he didnt realise she was behind him in the office when he was telling Donna that he understood her feelings about the girls. He might also have made a cringeworthy (if you were Mia) reference to their sex life.
Mia is a feisty soul, in some ways more parental to Donna than Donna is to her, and she made it quite clear to Zav that he couldnt just mess with Donnas feelings. Donna needs serious, she said. And it looks like Zav is stepping up to do just that.
Talking of stepping up, everyone was still on at Hanssen to take up the CEO role once again. He was still resisting, because he questions his own judgement over the Gaskell business. When consultant anaesthetist Giles Hanratty (no, weve never seen him before) collapsed in the car park on his way to be the hospitals Santa, he needed emergency surgery. Sacha and Hanssen rushed him into theatre and when things went pear-shaped Hanssen carried out a risky procedure. It still needed a miracle, which arrived in the form of Mo, but in the end Hanratty was fine. And afterwards when Hanssen got all cross about the way the lights were flickering, he realised he was ready to take charge again. Hurrah!
With Mr Hanratty on the operating table, what would the hospital do for a Santa Claus? Fletch caught a glimpse of Santa in the corridor. Who could it be? Jac Naylor was discovered to have a Santa suit in her desk drawer, but surely it couldnt have been Jac? Im sure it was the real Santa, as there was plenty of Christmas magic around the place.
Including at Albies, where we discovered Mr T, dressed as an elf and singing Driving Home For Christmas. Mo had been winding Jac up that her marriage to Mr T was in trouble, but it clearly, delightfully, isnt. Sadly it looks as though thats the last well see of Mo for now – until Holby needs her own brand of magic again.
Line of the week was from Jac. She mentioned to Evie that she ought to be at home cooking the turkey. You? Cooking turkey? Evie said, incredulously. Jacs reply, I provide an environment in which turkey is cooked, was precious.