Friday, 11 March 2011


On TV: Thursday 10th March 2011
Channel: ITV1 9pm
Episode Type: Episode 1/6
In 1 Sentence: Brashy neurosurgeon James Nesbitt stars in a new medical drama which miraculously feels fresh and different. 

ITV Summary: James Nesbitt stars as brilliant and unusual neurosurgeon Monroe in this brand new medical drama.
Each episode will feature one compelling story of the week about life or death situations. The drama will focus on the way in which a serious injury or disease cuts across the lives of everyone involved, from hospital staff to patients to relatives. And how that group become, in an intense few days, a reluctant, dysfunctional family united by hopes, fears and grief.
At the centre of this stands Monroe, his trainees, his anaesthetist and his poker school - and his colleague, Jenny Bremner, who has contempt for his cockiness.

My review: The lights crackle on in the operating room. Close-up of a young girl and the pen Monroe uses to mark her head. We see his eyes and the scalpel ready, then... he wakes up in bed. 

Monroe is good, or at least trying to be good. Shot in mostly close-ups with that fashionable blur, it is good to look at and definitely... different. 
I gave up watching Holby City and Casualty a while ago. They got predictable and boring, but Monroe as an all together different pace. 
It’s fresh and bright and sharp. 

James Nesbitt his usual self, of course, playing the arrogant neurosurgen who engages in continuos teasing with Jenny Bremner, a cardiac surgeon played by Sarah Parish, who lifts the show in every scene she is in. The chemistry between them is sparkling, and it’s almost definite that they will have a thing by the end of the series. 

Playing more on the fictional than the reality - something other medical dramas don’t really do - many scenes are down right preposterous. I doubt a neurosurgen would have a cigarette with a patient’s husband on the roof of the hospital and tell him the ‘real story’, nor would he get away with calling him a “self-righteous whinge-bag”. In fact, Monroe’s whole ego wouldn’t fit inside an NHS hospital. What I did like were the supporting characters, not just 2D but already promises of some interesting stories. In particular anaesthetist Dr Lawrence Shepherd (Tom Riley) and Dr Daniel Springer (Luke Allen-Gale), who both shine, with Shepherd clearly having feelings for Bremner. 

Overall, a good first episode which sets the tone for the new medical drama in 2011 and beyond. 

Score: 8/10

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