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DVD Review

DVD cover



Starring: James Nesbitt, Sarah Parish and Tom Riley
ITV Studios Home Entertainment
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: 15
Available 25 April 2011

Step into the world of neurosurgeon Dr. Gabriel Monroe. At work, Monroe, possesses the courage, the skill and the genius to perform cutting-edge brain surgery but at home the story is rather different - he’s a passenger, afraid to admit that his life is falling apart. Burdened with a difficult balancing act between his personal life and the constant emergencies that bring patients to his door, Monroe also has a tempestuous relationship with cardiac surgeon Jenny Bremner...

Monroe features the first six episodes of this medical drama, which was first broadcast on ITV between 10 March and 14 April 2011. A second series has already been commissioned, so I was surprised to see that this collection wasn't being marketed as "Series One" for its DVD release.

The show kicks off with the "operation of the week" story revolving around a young woman who is asked to decide whether or not to have an operation to remove a tumour from her brain. If she does nothing it will eventually kill her, however it's a risky operation which could see her lose her memories, her speech or the ability to move. Meanwhile Monroe has to cope with the fact that his wife has announced that she is leaving him. We are also introduced to Monroe's team as well as his equal in the cardiac department, Jenny Bremner, who he regularly clashes with.

The remaining five episodes explorer Monroe's home life, his working relationship with Bremner and the coming and goings of several patients. Of particular interest was episode four, which sees a man admitted who has had a number of seizures. The tumour in his brain needs removing, but he is convinced that God is talking to him. Monroe explains that the tumour is causing his euphoria, and that if it isn't removed he will die. With a young family, the man really has no choice but to go ahead with the operation, but his teenage daughter has found God and believes that her father has a gift that he shouldn't be so quick to reject.

Extras include Concept and Filming (16 min behind the scenes featurette) and Set Design and Construction (7 min, 11 sec).

To be perfectly honest, as enjoyable a series this is, it doesn't offer anything you haven't seen a million times before in American shows like E.R. and House (in fact the opening titles and seem to have been heavily inspired by House). If you're looking for something new then you'd better look elsewhere, otherwise this is an excellent series that shows a lot of future promise.


Darren Rea

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