Thursday, 13 November 2014

Friday 13 November 1964

I don't know if tonight's Emergency Ward 10 was written with the ominous significance of its broadcast date in mind, but it certainly sees the staff of Oxbridge General Hospital suffer a great deal of bad luck.  The first person to fall victim to ill fortune is Giles Farmer, who falls off his bike in a curious pre-title sequence shot outside on film.  His fiancĂ©e Louise Mahler is initially distressed, then amused.

When we first see Les Large he's still beaming with joy after winning £200 on Little Bit of Fluff, eliminating the financial worries that have plagued him since his car crash.  Louise refuses to share in his rejoicing: "Gambling of any kind is criminal.  It ought to be forbidden by law."

She's got both a lovely surprise and a nasty shock coming: Giles presents her with a new engagement ring to make up for the loss of the other one, and this one has real diamonds in it.  But when she frets that he can't afford it he reveals the money came from his win on the horse.  Louise is disgusted, and they have a blazing row, culminating in him calling her an old-fashioned prig and her angrily giving the ring back.

Giles is called to the bedside of Mr Springer, who's sunk into despondency after being financially ruined by his son-in-law continuing to take bets on Fluff at 10/1 while the odds were shortening daily.

But when Giles departs, Mr Springer has a look at the paper - and discovers some startling news...

Les and one of those conspicuously silent nurses are having a look at a new admission, hale and hearty rugger bugger Mr Prentiss (John Collin, in a role very different to the hard-bitten 'tec he played in Saturday's Redcap), an old friend of Charlie Booth's who's in at his GP's insistence with suspected appendicitis.  He doesn't think it's anything worth worrying about, and Les agrees and lets him go (I suspect we'll be hearing more about this).

In the very crowded shot below, Michaela Davis talks to Giles about his and Les's wins, only to be scolded by the newly draconian Jane Beattie.  The deeply unappealing Peter Bacon puts his oar in, and, once the nurses are out of earshot, tells Giles of his intention to make a move on Michaela.

He's not slow about it, either, following her into the sluice and subjecting her to his especially grating bland of clownery, and informing her she'll be accompanying him to the social event of the year, the League of Friends dance.  Bizarrely, she doesn't tell him to piss off, and we're subjected to a truly nightmarish close-up of his blubbery lips as he makes kissy faces at her.

Mr Springer tells Giles he's got something important to show him in the paper.  Elsewhere, Les reads something in his own copy that appals him.  And in the women's medical ward, Amanda Brown shows Louise something in her copy that she thinks she should know about.  Louise heads off, at which point Amanda overhears Rex Lane-Russell telling Charlie he's got nobody to go to the dance with, and angles after being his date.  But he tells her there's no way she'll be well enough to go, sternly informing her that even though she's being let out in two days she'll need two weeks of complete rest.  Her sights clearly set, she asks him to pop round for a drink once she's recovered.

Misfortune strikes once more, with Les and Giles commiserating over the story in the paper: in their excitement at hearing their horse had one they switched off the radio before the announcement that it had been disqualified.  Les is back where he was, and Giles will have to return the ring.

Les has to explain to his bank manager that he won't be depositing the money as discussed (one thing that certainly seems like a lot more hard work in the 60s was money), but arranges an appointment that afternoon and hopes to charm him into agreeing to a loan.

The programme makers clearly wanted to make as much use as possible of their location filming this week, as there's a brief and entirely pointless scene of Les also having bike trouble.

Back on VT, an uncharacteristically assertive Ivor Gittings asks Jane to accompany him to the dance.  Impressed with his bold new manner she agrees.  He confesses he got the idea from a woman's magazine.

On film again, Michaela contemplates a poster for the dance, clearly wondering whether she's made the right decision.

But then Les asks her to go with him, clearly expecting her to say yes, so she tells him she's going with Bacon in the hope of making him jealous.  He's more incredulous than anything else, especially when the man himself turn up and he and Michaela go all lovey-dovey.  "What a bird, eh?" Bacon observes as Michaela departs.  Les declines his offer of a drink.

Louise apologises to Giles for being so intolerant of his gambling, explaining the root of it: "Africans are obsessive gamblers,  It's one of the three things that are holding us back: gambling, smoking hemp and corrupt politics."  Crikey.  She asks for the ring back, so a shamefaced Giles admits what happened: as she wanted to talk to him about something in the paper he thought she knew already.  But it turns out that's not what she read about at all the story that upset her was about civil war breaking out in her country.  Communications have been cut off and she doesn't know whether her family are safe...

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