86. Casualties

Tapehead no 86

The realm of possibilities for tonight’s final episode of Casualty is surely endless. 

Rachel’s stalker has (thankfully) got her new address. The revolting Baz has given Mickey Hazard-look-alike, Charlie, a lift home (but nothing else). Ash is trying to prove he isn’t gay by getting married.

Hopes for something sensational and violent are running high after last week, when a school girl was launched out of the top window of double decker (the ROAD WORKS AHEAD sign was always going to mean trouble) and a married man got stuck in the lift with his hysterical mistress.

As Mrs Tapehead tutted as soon as she heard him say the words “It’s going to be alright”: “He is Mr Fucking Toast.”

Sure enough, minutes later, he was plunging down the lift-shaft and crippled for life.

Tapehead has no such hopes for ER, which he has refused to watch ever since he realized Dr Mark Greene was the modern-day version of John-Boy Walton.

True, as soon as George Clooney says, “This is the healthiest, happiest baby I have ever seen,” we cut to another baby being thumped on the chest with a heart-jumper for a while before they give up. But then Dr Susan Lewis (Sherry Springfield) immediately goes over to her own baby (actually her sister’s baby) and it’s very cute, and she tells her she loves her, and it’s so lovely, who cares about the other baby ?

Then there are all those annoyingly, long racking shots, slow medical terminology, mumbled dialogue and zany bits where two characters 


“the words”

“to a”


The endless clichés make ER’s reputation for innovation a bit of a farce. “Just treat ‘em and street ‘em.” 

“And when that’s not good enough ?” 

“Most days it has to be.”


Best dialogue is about a patient who fell off a ladder onto a Christmas reindeer display.

“They’re gonna fire me,” he moans. “I crushed Rudolf.” (Is it just me, or is it always Christmas in programmes like ER ?)

An episode of ER called Home always was asking for trouble though. 

A three-hanky melodrama based round 101 story-lines, the one that lasts more than 10 seconds is John, the paranoid schizophrenic/genius architect, and winner of this week’s Method Actor Over-Acting Madly Award. Boy can this man twitch. And smoke !?! He really smokes.

There are several fleeting glances of ER’s impossibly sexy receptionist (who frankly puts Matt form Casualty in the shade). Apparently, she is Randy (and so is Tapehead).

In fact there are more foxy doctors in cashmere jumpers in ER than in Twin Peaks.

“Hi, I’m Carol!!” says one doc sassily to a mental patient, as if she’s accepting a C-note down her blouse.

The doctors have so many blonde highlights, perfect smiles, and soft-tanned faces, ER is like watching Baywatch. None of these people look like doctors.

Final proof that men have become little more than life’s punch-bags comes with a series of vox-pop snippets called Women On Men (part of The Trouble With Men), in which the BBC, together with the help of the country’s women, take it upon themselves to laugh at the way men act about their health. (As if there could possibly be anything funny about that.)

“I made him stop off at the bank on the way to the hospital,” recalls one woman whose husband had a gangrenous gall bladder.

“I know I’m a bit of an old bag about this, because, once he tripped over this wall. He broke every bone in his foot,” laughs a heartless blonde. “I couldn’t bare it because he was like a cripple basically. He was just crawling round the house. So I took the kids and left.”

Tapehead’s heart goes out to Mr Ian Lyon, who has to sit next to his well-spoken wife, Joan, as she pours the tea and demurely tells the nation that, “His erection was not as good as it was.”

Being an engineer, he realized it was a hydraulics problem and took to using elastic bands on the base of his penis –elastic bands used by the postman to hold the letters together (which certainly got Tapehead thinking).

It didn’t work though, and as Mr Lyon (stoic, as a man should be) says, “We never told the postman either.”


Casualty: Sat, 8.05pm-8.55pm, BBC1

ER: 10pm-11pm, Wed, C4

Women On Men: 10.25-10.30pm, Mon-Thu, BBC2