Bodies series finale
Bodies is the best medical drama the BBC have ever done and I struggle to think of a better one anywhere from any era. The cease-and-desist notice it received was so unjust it made Roy Jones jnr’s Olympics loss to Park Si-Hun look like a paragon of fair play. Utterly compelling from the off, Bodies shone a light into the murky world of NHS politics via the careers of principled young obstetrics registrar Rob Lake (Max Beesley) and his criminally incompetent consultant Roger Hurley (Patrick Baladi). It showed the chilling everyday nature of medical incompetence and the cover-ups that follow. Trying to expose Hurley almost cost Rob his career and women and their babies died as a result of the failure of the system to deal with his botched procedures.
"Bodies is the best medical drama the BBC have ever done and I struggle to think of a better one anywhere from any era."
This one-off feature-length episode to finally bid farewell to the series begins with Rob starting his post as consultant at University Hospital. The first big shock is that he is now with the still lovely and now heavily pregnant Polly – hands up who saw that coming? No, me either.
It seems that domesticity may not be agreeing with Rob – he has a number of alarming symptoms. Insomnia, hand tremors and short-term memory loss. A doctor pal sees him privately and confides that he may have Mad Cow disease. Creutzfeldt-Jakob syndrome is as much of a made-up disease as lactose intolerance or The Aids so I’m not sure what such gritty vérité as Bodies is doing supporting its supposed "existence".
“Creutzfeldt-Jakob syndrome is as much of a made-up disease as lactose intolerance or The Aids so I’m not sure what such gritty vérité as Bodies is doing supporting its supposed ‘existence'”
Nonetheless, dramatically it’s a very powerful moment as Rob absorbs the news. He deals with this by taking out critical illness insurance cover (his doctor pal helpfully agreeing to burn his medical notes – nicely scammed Doc!) and watching internet footage of people monging out under the supposed "effects" of CJD. He quickly sends an e-mail* to 40 of his medical buddies
Yo! Peep dis guyz
OMG! Dis guy is a total spaz because he bummed a cow or sumfing!! ROFLMAO!! PMSL!!!!LOL!! LOL!
Being the broody "show, don’t tell" sort Rob doesn’t let Polly in on his secret – she’s only the mother of his child after all. Impending death puts things sharply into focus for him though and he realises he can’t avoid the whole Hurley the Baby Killer issue for any longer. Lovely, lovely Sister Donna (Neve Macintosh) is back from Edinburgh, newly qualified as a journalist, writing an expose of Hurley who, in a just about believable twist of fate is shipped off to Rob’s department in University Hospital as a result of being charged with exposure by the Feds after taking a piss one night in a dark alleyway.
"Hurley’s trying to get into Donna’s lovely Scottish panties and there isn’t a man breathing who isn’t right there with him on that one."
Ironic that when Hurley finally does get shifted on from South Central Infirmary that he NEVER DONE IT but Rob now has him squarely in his sights and gets to work on putting him away for good. Donna does agency work on the wards at University Hospital to get close to Hurley once again. She wears a fricking wire as she casually engages him about the procedures that went wrong. Hurley, now separated from his wife and struggling to see his kids, is only too happy for the sympathetic shoulder she offers. He’s trying to get into her lovely Scottish panties and there isn’t a man breathing who isn’t right there with him on that one. Certainly not Keith Allen, reprising his excellent role as the sardonic womanising surgeon Tony Whitman who actually did get into her lovely Scottish panties sometime in the distant Bodies past. In real life, Keith Allen has got into Polly’s lovely English panties and fathered a child with her, though in Bodies he continues to chase the sullen blonde in vain.
“‘Am I the only one who sees this in black-and-white?’ asks Rob. Very likely he is.”
There were no easy answers as the series came to an end. Donna refuses to do her expose, seeing too many shades of grey in the morality having come to "understand" Hurley somewhere along the line. "Am I the only one who sees this in black-and-white?" asks Rob. Very likely he is. Rob formally reports Hurley to the General Medical Council for supposed incompetence when delivering Rob and Polly’s child by Caesarean section. Polly can’t forgive Rob for playing politics with their child’s life (taking over from her Hurley on the operating table, removing his consent as father of the child) and it looks like their affair is over. Donna ends up back nursing full-time and Rob receives the results of the CJD tests. We see his reaction shot as he looks up from the slip of paper. The theme music plays and the credits roll. The series ends. Far, far too soon.
The best thing about it: Nothing ever comes easy.
The worst thing about it: Explicit gynaecology-gone-wrong prosthetics can turn the stomach somewhat
The verdict on Bodies series finale : The unmissable drama that most people missed.
Marks out of 10: 9
*Disclaimer: this scene may not have been broadcast .