Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Catch Up TV... Missed the TV Moment Everyone's Talking about? Alastair McKay Looks at the Shows You Should Have Watched (and Still Can) and Gives a Serial Update

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Catch Up TV... Missed the TV Moment Everyone's Talking about? Alastair McKay Looks at the Shows You Should Have Watched (and Still Can) and Gives a Serial Update

Article excerpt

Byline: Alastair McKay

JED Mercurio's Critical (Sky On Demand) arrived with the warning that it would feature "injuries and graphic medical procedures, unsuitable for some viewers". No strong language or scenes of a sexual nature from the start, but you can't have everything. Anyway, it's a strange beast a drama trying to escape its limitations, when those limitations are its entire reason for being.

These are the rules. There is one patient. They arrive at the major trauma unit and cause major trauma, as well as graphic medical procedures. They live or die. There will be countdowns, and endless jeopardy, all played out to a bleeping electronic heartbeat which will sometimes stop, before starting again and oh my God! Nurse! The paddles!

There will be defibrillation that will not work at first the bleeping will stop and the nurses and doctors will look concerned and pretty and improbably clean and will say impenetrable things like "needs tubing" and "shocking on three: one, two, rhythm" and "Constance, could you please?" and "I thought he was sedated" and "clock's ticking, fast as you can, please" and "cardiac kebab, here we come".

Critical, you may have noticed, is based on MasterChef. So the chefs, disguised as doctors, make little sideways movements with their eyes to signify that they are petrified or peeved or simply surprised by the order they have just received from the hoity-toity consultant who should know better, and they make microscopic small talk unless they are being employed to signify a false lull in dramatic tension, when they will appear from nowhere and ask if anyone has seen their Twix.

Then the rave bleeping will intensify, and Gregg Wallace will materialise like a fat angel on a get thin-quick diet and he will inspect the patient while gnomically muttering "Have they done enough? …

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