Holby City (BBC 1,Tuesday) has a good tradition down the years of bringing people into the ranks that you would not necessarily expect in this always enjoyable medical procedural drama. Think Robert Powell and Art Malik as good examples and now the McGann acting brothers offer us up Paul, who was fantastic in the Monocled Mutineer, Withnail and I, and the only good thing in the rotten mid-nineties Doctor Who tv movie. Paul’s brother Stephen is of course the friendly doctor in Call the Midwife, and Paul has big time medical credentials in Holby, as he plays Professor John Gaskell, who has apparently discovered a miracle cure for motor neuron disease.
McGann immediately drags you in and gets you thinking that not everything is as obvious as it seems, despite his chummy nature towards his new colleagues in his debut on Tuesday. But the real killer stuff surrounded the Ice Queen, Jac Naylor, finally showing her true feelings over her sister’s death and breaking down. Suddenly a different person appeared and she decided to resign to concentrate on her daughter, when tragedy struck. When Holby’s good, it can be brilliant, and I cannot wait for the conclusion of this two-parter this Thursday evening (two in a week…yes!). I could not find any spoilers for the resolution of this story and the Holby team are always on the money on keeping things under wraps, but let’s hope Rosie Marcel’s character doesn’t meet her end. Along with Guy Henry’s Henrik Hanssen, she’s one of the best things about the show, though I suspect Paul McGann will also very quickly reach their level.
Talking of high levels, Blue Planet II (BBC 1, Sunday), all too quickly reaches the final installment this weekend, and you have to marvel at the fantastic footage that we’ve enjoyed over the last couple of months. To witness sea creatures that you’ve never seen before, has made it another breath-taking experience produced by the patient BBC team in what has easily become one of the television highlights of the year. At times it was almost like experiencing a sci-fi movie with some of the unusual sea life on display, and Blue Planet II ticked the boxes for being supremely entertaining and informative.
I’ve put on a black armband over England’s cricketers trying to defend the Ashes in Australia, and being two-nil down after Adelaide, the game’s up! On the plus side, the coverage from BT Sport has made a refreshing change from what Sky has served up, when the screen is bombarded with endless captions, including incessant plugs for other programming. BT’s presentation takes us back to what Channel Four did when it took away the rights from the BBC, and shows what might have been had Sky not retained the domestic rights through to the middle of the next decade. On the plus side, the commentators Alison Mitchell, Geoff Boycott, Michael Vaughan, and Graeme Swann are all doubling up from BBC Radio’s Test Match Special box, and are absolutely on the money. Despite his age, Boycott doesn’t sound like an old fart, but is fully of enthusiasm and honesty, and with the BBC set to return to TV cricket in 2020 with highlights and some live action, that quartet(plus Jonathan Agnew from TMS) would be perfect to continue their double roles.
The American autumn season has produced the final hit, namely a revival of the old seventies cop show S.W.A.T. It’s another winner for CBS, and comes from Shawn Ryan, who was behind the ground-breaking The Shield and a largely unknown (in the UK) army uncover drama, The Unit. Because it is Ryan, I expected S.W.A.T. to offer something different, but surprisingly it is mainstream, though full of action and buddy humour. It’s slick and perfect to enjoy over a glass of wine, and I expect a UK pick-up soon. Talking of that, Sky have swooped for SEAL Team to add to it already having The Good Doctor(still outstanding), and with Fox UK having The Orville(it starts next Thursday, and I love it) and The Gifted (the best of the new Marvel shows), that’s your lot for what’s worth watching that’s new from the US autumn schedules.