A British hospital drama, set in Holby General Hospital, which has been going for over twenty years, debuting in 1986. Consists of weekly episodes, about 50-minutes to an hour long, aired at usually about 8-9/9-10pm on Saturdays. Consists of a mixture of medical drama and soap opera.
This show provides examples of:
Aborted Arc: Near the end of series 27, an abusive mother proved her "innocence" with an obviously faked video and was allowed to have her son back. A few episodes into series 28 and there's still no conclusion to this.
Accidental Murder: Lara hits a policeman over the head with a brick because he tried to rape her.
Aesop Amnesia: No one seems to realise that getting too emotionally involved with patients or even just your co-workers never ends well. Much exploited for the Rule of Drama but may be partially justified since there is an element of Truth in Television and usually (but not always) happens to younger characters who haven't been around long enough to know better. Lampshaded by the episode ''You Can't Take Them All Home with You". Although it doesn't help that characters such as Duffy or Maggie who get called out for being co-dependent on their work life and the emotional problems of others are portrayed as being better adjusted than most of their colleagues despite all of their personal mishaps.
All Lesbians Want Kids: Nearly subverted by a couple where one of them is eager to adopt a difficult young boy while the other isn't quite as keen but comes around to being a parent in the end.
Slightly subverted in that Dixie does not fit this trope.
Anyone Can Die: Doesn't happen that often compared to shows like 24 (once a series/year, on average) but it has happened to lots of likeable characters and audience favourites and, as yet, they've all stayed dead.
Artistic License - Geography: Although called Holby City and the town is called Holby, -by does not appear in any place-names around Bristol. -by is from Old Norse by village, and is only found in Northern England and Scotland, so by default it should really be Holton', with the last element being Old English tun village. Holby (or Holton as it should be) would mean either "village by the wood" from Old English holt "wood" or "village by the hollows", from Old English holh "hollow" and the endings mentioned above.
Ascended Extra: Kath - given that she's nearly always in scenes where Yuki and Lenny appear. Provides Shipping material for fans...
Claire, Ken, Tasha - all extras (playing various hospital staff), who get to speak very rarely, but get mentioned by name.
The first two mainly appear in scenes where Ruth and Jay are present.
Betty and Veronica: Harry and Selena seemed to have quite a few of these orbiting around them. First there was Beth as Harry's Betty to Selena's Veronica - although Lara could have also been considered another Betty if you add her to the equation - until Beth was killed and Selena left. She then returned having Harry play Betty to her Jerk Ass Veronica husband, Will. This then changed to Ellen being a younger Veronica to Selena being the older, more cynical Betty, until Ellen's death. Finally, Selena gets another Jerk Ass Veronica in the shape of Nathan, with Harry as Betty once more up until her becoming the victim of acute lead poisoning. Would be Love Dodecahedron if it weren't for the fact that these triangles went one at a time.
Bit Character: Claire, Karen, Tasha, Ken - all extras (playing various hospital staff), who get to speak very rarely, but get mentioned by name.
Bowdlerisation: Watch tends to cut out the stuff that's too hot for daytime tv with the reruns. Resulted in a bit of a problem for To Love You So - but the missing bits from that episode can be seen here, here and here.
British Brevity: Averted. The shortest ever season of Casualty was season 3, with only 10 episodes (the first two had 15 each). Since then, the episode count per season has been rising more often than not, and now tops out at season 24 containing 49 weekly episodes. Some want it to go all-year 'round, but this hasn't happened...yet.
Broken Aesop: Ryan taking off with all of Duffy's money in Hitting Home shows that a relationships can be financially abusive in addition to or opposed to physically. Her later taking him back breaks this episode's moral that still loving an abusive partner or even just trying to hold on too hard to any happy memories will never undo the abuse. It also brings up the rather Family-Unfriendly Aesop that you can buy a person's forgiveness and can also expect them to go to the other side of the world.
Delivery Guy: Charlie helps Duffy deliver her third baby at home. Partially subverted by Charlie being a nurse and the implication that Duffy planned it so that she could avoid going to hospital.
Disaster Dominoes: Every second or third episode is based around this idea. In the first episode of 2012 for example, a dog escapes from a back garden, this leads to a major traffic accident taking out 5 or 6 cars, which leads to one man being delayed in stopping a suicide attempt, in trying to save the suicide victim and dealing with the traffic caused by an accident, a gas main is accidently destroyed causing an explosion which rips apart a housing estate. This in turn causes some nearby chemical drums to burst, creating a huge cloud of Hydrogen chloride, which ends up getting into the drain system causing part of the town to be evacuated. We end up seeing several hundred people affected by various burns and in the following episode it states there were at least 9 deaths. And all this happens on the same morning that the A&E department first reopens after a major fire so all the equipment is new and most of it untested. And this is just one episode.
Dramatic Hour Long: About fifty minutes, but sometimes goes up to an hour and rarely any longer. One of the few exceptions to this was the series 24 episode "A Day in a Life", which was nearly two hours long, uninterrupted - although it was originally two separate episodes that had to be cobbled into one owing to scheduling problems.
Dr. Jerk: Patrick, but is balanced out by being slightly Troubled, but Cute and the way he behaves towards Holly and, later, Lara.
Everybody Lives: At one particularly huge RTA, Anna sits down with the incident commander and the two of them realise that, apart from one driver who was DOA, everybody made it to the hospital. This is then kicked to the kerb when Patrick goes into arrest before the credits roll..
Foreshadowing: Incredibly heavy handed. But they also have a habit of foreshadowing events that don't happen, like you'll see two youths walking precariously along a very high wall, by the end of the episode no-one's fallen off a wall. So it's bit more of a random dartboard working out what the big medical emergency's going to be. But if someone gets into a car it's definitely worth betting that they're going to crash.
If they use a motor vehicle that isn't a car the chances of a road accident are pretty much 1:1.
One episode of series 21 featured a shark just off the coast, with people in the water. This troper felt almost betrayed when no one became shark food.
Living Prop: Claire, Tasha, Karen, Ken - all extras (playing various hospital staff). The first two mainly appear in scenes where Ruth and Jay are present. The first two mainly appear in scenes where Ruth and Jay are present.
No Communities Were Harmed: though the production has gone through phases of trying to pass it off as a generic Everytown, there's no getting away from it: Holby is Bristol. It's even got the Clifton Suspension Bridge!
No Periods, Period: Subverted - no one gets periods, just post-partum haemorrhages that they think are periods.
Non-Fatal Explosions: Lampshaded and then averted in a mid-90s season finale; a man comes into the hospital with a bomb strapped to his back, and in a conversation with one of the nurses, mentions that a bomb in a cartoon would leave you "with a charred face and holes in your pants" whereas a real-life bomb is a bit more damaging. It turns out that this bomb is a lot more damaging, as the bomb's detonation at the end of the story almost totally destroys the (thankfully evacuated) hospital, giving the producers an excuse to redesign the sets for the following season.
Old Shame: Matt Bardock (aka Jeff Collier the paramedic)'s appearance as a youth responsible for arson back in 1993. That's in the fan's opinion anyway.
After dealing with the case of a private dancer who'd been unknowingly taking stimulants disguised as vitamin pills provided by the club owner, new-ish paramedic Tamsin reveals that she knew what was happening because she used to be a dancer working for the same club owner.
Once per Episode: One of the main characters puking on another or themselves. Very rarely averted.
The Other Darrin: Seemed to be a thing with children of staff. Happened to Tally once, although in hindsight this was probably for the better. Louis is by far the worst offender, having been played by about four different actors.
Pregnant Hostage: Inverted and subverted with a pregnant hostage-taker and another character making herself a pregnant hostage.
Rape as Drama: Done a few times (as arcs compared to a Patient of the Week plot), but they manage to beat Sturgeon's Law. Happened to Duffy, but in the first series so would now be considered Rape as Backstory. Also to GAWJUS Nurse Tina, proving that even good looking nice girls get raped (actually, to be fair, a rather well done plot line, very well played by Clare Goose)
Saving the Orphanage: The department comes under threat of being axed in order to streamline resources more than a few times, and a lobby group was set up during the latest crises. Much helped by Zany Scheme involving a fountain.
Shaggy Dog Story: Adam and Jessica's relationship. Jessica embarks on an affair with Adam (it takes several months for him to even learn that she's married whilst trying to begin a relationship), whilst her own husband, unknown to her, is also having an affair, which is eventually publicly revealed. Jessica breaks off her affair after her son is almost killed in a car crash, and stays with her husband, Sean, for the sake of the marriage. She then discovers that she's pregnant, and doesn't know who the father is, but decides to assume it's Sean's for the sake of the marriage. Sean finds out about the affair, assumes that it's Adam's baby, and abducts their (Jessica and Sean's) two children, taking them to Saudi Arabia. He also sells their house and clears out their bank accounts, effectively leaving Jessica destitute, having to move into a flat on an extremely violent estate. Ultimately, after the baby nearly dies at 7 days old and she admits to Adam it could be his, she kidnaps the children back and discovers that the baby, Harry, is Adam's. She gets engaged to Adam after over 18 months of will-they-won't-they. However, the relationship comes under pressure almost immediately: on his first day as head of the department, Adam witnesses a junior doctor die right in front of him, when she's crushed by a falling lift in a burning department store he sent her into. Just when it seems like he's managed to find a balance between his work and his family, Sean returns, and the whole relationship is briefly destabilised again as he tries (but fails) to break them up. Finally, their wedding day arrives, but before the marriage is made official, they are called back to the hospital to help with a minibus crash. Whilst the whole family is driving back to the wedding venue to complete the ceremony, Adam has to swerve to avoid a car, brakes too hard, and flies onto a frozen lake. Adam, Jessica and Harry are all submerged (the other two children get out fine), and back at the hospital, he has a meltdown in resus as he tries to operate on Jessica and Harry despite being in no fit state to do so. He then has to plea the only man capable of carrying out Jessica's life-saving surgery to do so, despite said man (Nick Jordan) no longer being in a fit state to work. The operation is carried out successfully, and just when it seems like things are finally going right, baby Harry dies before Jessica has come round from the operation. This storyline has thus far taken two years to get to this point, and if anything it's become worse and worse for the couple with very few patches of happiness.
Satellite Love Interest: The aforementioned Jessica Harrison, who was introduced solely to be Adam's love interest and spent over two years in the show serving no other purpose than to be his love interest.
Shout-Out: A rather nice one to Spartacus in one episode, except the dispute is over who dropped a sharp.
Sliding Scale of Shiny Versus Gritty: Gets a lot of flack from people in the NHS for glamorising A&E and medicine in general, although it isn't actually that shiny, even going so far as to very occasionally sacrifice drama for a sideplot to show that there are still a lot of mundane tribulations involved in the job. It's pretty close to the gritty end with out being outright grey - uses a lot of blocks of watery greens, blues and formica-type colours and almost never any warm ones, although it is getting grittier in some places and shinier in others as time goes by.
Writers Cannot Do Math: When Duffy mentions that her kids are settled in boarding school in Singapore, Paul, her youngest, is between five and six - even if the school billeted him with a host family, it's still highly unusual for a child as young as that to go to boarding school full time (most take them from nine and up). Also, Peter would be 18, which would mean he'd probably would have finished school and could have stayed at home if he wanted.