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Bodies (2004-06)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

Episode 1, originally transmitted on BBC Three on 23 May 2005
Written by Jed Mercurio, directed by John Strickland

Rob Lake joins the Obstretrics and Gynaecology Department of South Central Infirmary as a specialist registrar. His immediate superior is Roger Hurley, an expert in ovarian disease, and the Principal Consultant of the department is the acerbic Tony Whitman. On his first day, Rob is about to assist in a sterilisation procedure when anaesthetics consultant Maria Orton notices that the operations list is incorrect, and that the patient should be undergoing surgery to check her fertility. The error is administrative but Hurley and Maya Dutta, another doctor, are blasé about the near-miss. Another patient who has recently been operated on by Hurley for cervical cancer dies on the ward while awaiting transfer to a hospice.

When a post-hysterectomy patient, Angela Strawberry, develops an acute sore throat, Maya neglects to contact the ear, nose and throat specialists, and Rob must deal with the ensuing crisis. He attempts, for the first time, an emergency procedure to open up her throat, but unsuccessfully. The patient dies. Later the ward sister, Donna Rix, visits Rob in his room to console him, and they have sex. Rob almost admits culpability to Mrs Strawberry's children, but Hurley steps in and covers for him.

When a baby is almost stillborn due to Hurley's hesitation, Maria expresses her concern to Rob that Hurley is an incompetent doctor who owes his position to the prestige and funding that his research brings the hospital. Aware of his own recent patient death, Rob defends his boss, but later asks Donna her opinion. She insists on not getting involved in the general criticism of Hurley, and, reminding Rob that she's married, insists that their encounter was a one-off.

While a nurse, Yvonne, endures a long labour, her waters having broken on the ward, a heavily pregnant Karen Taylor is admitted with severe bleeding from a placental abruption. In the operating theatre, the baby is stillborn but Hurley is unable to staunch the bleeding. Both Maria and Rob appeal for Hurley to perform a hysterectomy, and eventually he relents. In the meantime, however, the patient suffers heart failure and has to be resuscitated. She is left in a coma with a serious risk of brain damage. While Yvonne celebrates her successful birth with her colleagues, Karen's husband Mark is presented with his dead child. He angrily demands to know whether someone made a mistake in the operation, and why Rob didn't stop them.