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A wholby new world

COPPERS! HolbyBlue, 8.00pm, BBC1

Having decided that the best way to package emergency service-based drama is to reassure the rest of the country that the vast majority of unpleasant accidents and criminal acts in the UK are concentrated on one fictional city, tonight the BBC finally launch the much-trailed HolbyBlue, based around a district police station in the fictional sort-of-South-Western city where the slings and arrows of perilous fortune are as likely to deliver you a squash racquet through the side of the neck as they are a fulfilling career alongside a top-flight, mostly-attractive team in a service industry.

And what a top-flight, mostly-attractive team they are! lowculture favourite Zoe Lucker plays a civilian member of staff who’s “nothing like Tanya Turner”, Kacey Ainsworth plays a police inspector who’s “a far cry from Little Mo”, and, just to up the blue content (“We thought it was going to be a drama about naughty nurses!” – oh, shut up), lovely Kieran O’Brien aka Gruey/The Bloke Who Had Real Actual Sex Using His Real Actual Cock in 9 Songs plays a starting-to-be-a-bit-long-in-the-tooth police constable. There’s also a desk sergeant who might turn out to be a gay, if having blond hair, having a laugh at work while feeling unfulfilled and being called Christian are all indicative of homosexuality (yes, they are), and the obligatory chalk/cheese detective partnership between Cal Macaninch from Sorted (the one with the spooky, featureless face) and Richard Harrington from Bleak House (the one who still loved Esther after she’d had smallpox). Oh, and Charlie Fairhead pops up early on to reassure viewers that this really is Holby and they’re not going to have to rupture their brains by imagining a brand new fictional city (or even a REAL one, as was used magnificently by the fantastic City Central).

Having previously spent a year working for the police in a dangerous and thrilling administrative capacity, lowculture will be scanning HolbyBlue extremely closely for any major inaccuracies, such as attractive offices with less than eight people crammed inside them, tidiness, rooms being used for what they were designed to be used for, decent chairs and internal mail that gets to where it’s supposed to be going in less than three days. Oh, and police corruption, which is revealed (to the viewer, if not to the cast) around three or four episodes in, but with which we were never involved, disappointingly.

A small point: There appears to be some confusion over whether HolbyBlue is written as one or two words, with the majority of TV listings guides going for the former, but the Radio Times defiantly swimming against the tide and splitting the thing in two. Much as it goes against every natural instinct we possess to disagree with RT, on this occasion we’ll follow the crowd (and the BBC website) and try to ignore the chaos they’ve caused by trying to be all clever with their stupid logo.

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According to Marxist theory, cultural forms such as opera, classical music and the literary works of Shakespeare all fall under the heading of high culture. Low culture refers to a wide variety of cultural themes that are characterised by their consumption by the masses. We might not be Marxists, but we do know we loved Footballers Wives. If you do too, you'll know what this is all about.

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