Episode 8

Sunday, 28 December 2008, 8:00PM – 9:00PM on ITV1

Dr Burnett (Damian O’Hare) is called out to a run down farm house where 15-year-old Simon (James Baxter), who has speech and learning difficulties, is running a high fever. The farm is in a bad state and the family seem to be struggling to cope. They’re horrified when Burnett reveals he needs to get Simon to hospital ASAP in order to rule out meningitis. Will they get to the bottom of Simon’s illness?

Elsewhere, everyone’s worried that the hospital is at risk of closure when the boiler breaks, especially Alun (Andy Wear) who’s convinced that it will give the authorities an excuse to close The Royal permanently. New Head Porter Jack (Jack Bell) risks his position when he sets about a plan to get a new boiler installed and ensure the hospital stays open. Enlisting the help of Alun and Bobby (Chris Coghill), he goes behind Carnegie’s (Robert Cavanah) back, in true Hopkirk style, and by the skin of his teeth manages to get away with using an old ship’s boiler as a replacement.

Meanwhile, Ormerod (Robert Daws) and Rose (Dennis Lill) attend to Sir Edward Fawcett (Brian Blessed), an eccentric old explorer with a houseful of rare artefacts and a bad leg. His wife intervenes to inform the doctors that the pain strikes when he exercises and he’s trying to get fit for another expedition despite the fact that he’s meant to be resting. Rose explains to Sir Edward that he has a condition which starves his leg muscles of oxygen and will only get worse with time. Any treatment would only be temporary and his exploring days are over. However, Sir Edward is defiant and demands a second opinion. Will he listen to the doctors and hang up his travelling boots?

Back at the Royal, Simon’s temperature is still very high and when he starts fitting the doctors are concerned his condition is rapidly deteriorating. Meanwhile, as Ormerod and Rose make their way back to The Royal, they hit a sheep in the road. Ormerod gets out to examine it when a farmer arrives and warns them not to touch it as there’s been an outbreak of louping amongst the animals in the area and it’s contagious. When Ormerod arrives back at the hospital, Burnett’s relieved that he’s able to shed some light on Simon’s case and reveals he has all the symptoms of louping-ill contracted from the sheep. Simon’s dad is horrified as it dawns on him that his heavily pregnant wife, Mary (Angela Simpson), has been having the same symptoms. He feels terrible as he couldn’t afford for the vet to vaccinate the flock against the disease. The doctors rush back to the farm to save Mary, will it be too late to save the expectant mother?

Elsewhere, despite x-rays confirming the bad news about Sir Edward’s leg, he’s still determined to go on his hike around Mexico. Lady Fawcett (Phyllis Logan) is furious and berates him for being selfish. She asserts that if he does go, she won’t be waiting for him when he gets back. Will Sir Edward settle for the simple life for the sake of his health and his wife?

Mary is rushed to hospital with the same deadly fever as her son and when she starts haemorrhaging the team are worried they could lose both mother and baby. In theatre, Weatherill (Amy Robbins) delivers the baby but when it arrives and shows no sign of life, she continues to try and resuscitate it. Burnett’s relieved that Mary is still alive, but Weatherill is torn between saving the baby and the patient as they both need urgent help. Will they manage to save the whole family?

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