Series 15 Episode 1:
Written by Ben Cooper

Charlie is recovering from the pulmonary embolism that caused his collapse. He hasn't decided whether or not to return to work. He goes to the quayside to sit and read his paper - the headline is "Crisis in NHS". A woman (Diane) walks past with her baby Phoenix in a pushchair. She sits on his bench and they get talking. They've both been there a lot recently. Charlie asks Phoenix's name and she says he's a handful. Diane talks about the boats they're watching. Charlie says he was thinking of buying a little sailing boat, saying he's started to realise he should do what he wants. He talks about time going past quickly, and the regrets about the things he has and hasn't done. He tells her about his pulmonary embolism, saying it could have killed him - it's made him think about his life. He says he's seen more of Louis recently, explaining that Baz is a doctor in Birmingham. Diane asks if he's a doctor and he tells her he's a nurse - he has been for the last twenty years, and is deciding if he wants to be for the next twenty years. An ice-cream van arrives, and Diane offers to get them some ice-cream, leaving Charlie in charge of Phoenix.
In Holby A&E, the new Critical Care Manager Dan Robinson has introduced four beds for patients waiting to go up to a ward. The nurses are complaining that it's not working as the wards, knowing the patients are in beds and not on trolleys, are making less effort to take the patients. Duffy goes to talk to Dan about it, to tell him it's not working. Dan tells her the CEO has plans to put beds into Paediatric resusc as well. Duffy objects and persuades Dan (who used to be a nurse on ITU) to go back to the CEO and tell him no.
Adam is buying a house with Reuben. Duffy introduces Max to Spencer, the new Health Service Assistant. Spencer is a recovering alcoholic and Max recognises him from when he was a patient in the department. Barney insults Spencer behind his back.
The ice-cream van goes, and Charlie looks around and realises that Diane has disappeared. He asks a couple of people if they've seen her, before taking Phoenix to the police and telling them what happened. He advises them to take Phoenix to the hospital as he's running a temperature, but decides not to go with him.
Chloe has overslept and rushes to get to work from her room in the nurses' home - she moved there due to money problems. Two lads, Andy and Luke, watch her go. They are planning to burgle her room. Luke says that nurses have no money but Andy says it's a low-risk option - he doesn't want to get into trouble again and they're just doing it to get 500 which Luke needs by tonight. They break in and start going through her stuff. Just as they have found her money, Chloe returns to fetch some cash she owes to Barney. As she enters they jump out of the window and run off. Chloe follows them, shouting. They bump into Spencer, but get away. They head for the house of an old lady (Rosemary), whom Luke heard saying she was going to Disneyland. They break in, but find that Rosemary is still there. They threaten her and she tells them where she keeps her money. Andy takes 500 and gives the rest back. As they are about to leave, Rosemary's neighbour Colette comes in. She tries to stop them going downstairs. Andy heads for the nearest window and jumps out of it without looking - he ends up falling through the glass roof of the conservatory below. Colette goes to help him, and they call an ambulance. Luke gets away. Josh and Finlay arrive. Josh compliments Colette on her first aid but is patronising to her about acting the hero, trying to stop the thieves getting away. Andy is taken to Holby A&E. Chloe goes through his bag trying to find his name (he won't give it), and finds her credit card in there. A policeman comes so Chloe can report the burglary. As he is talking to Chloe and Spencer, asking Spencer to give a statement to identify Luke, Luke comes into A&E to find Andy. He follows Spencer through a broken door into a room in the basement of the hospital, where it seems Spencer is living. Luke threatens Spencer with a piece of wood, telling him to say nothing. He bangs a pipe, which bursts, sending a spray of steam into his face. Spencer goes for help, and Duffy and Patrick arrive to take Luke to A&E and treat the burns. Duffy says she'll talk to Spencer later when she realises he's living there. Luke arrives in resusc just as Andy is leaving to go up to a ward. Whilst Luke is being treated, he tells Chloe why he took the money: his dad was in debt through gambling, and he wanted to get the money back before his mum found out. Hearing his tale, Chloe and Spencer decide they don't want to report him, and Spencer says he'll give the police a false description.
Josh comes into A&E to find Colette sitting in reception. Duffy comes over to her, and introduces her to Josh as the new "F" grade nurse.
Charlie goes looking for Diane. He knocks at the door of some flats near the quayside to see if anyone knows her but has no look, but then sees a shipyard. He goes down there and finds Diane on the boat where she lives. Diane says she couldn't cope with Phoenix on her own. Charlie looks around and spots a half-empty bottle of pills. He realises she's taken an overdose and calls an ambulance. Penny and Mel arrive and Charlie goes to A&E with them. He leaves Diane in resusc then goes through into reception. As he does so he remembers his collapse, and Patrick taking care of him just afterwards. Amy sees Charlie and takes him through to admin for everyone to see. He thanks them for the cards and presents they sent. He tells them he's fit again now. Everyone asks him when he's coming back, and Charlie's getting fed up of the question. He goes to see Phoenix and then to talk to Diane as she's coming round. He asks about Phoenix's dad, and Diane tells Charlie the story of how he died. She says she doesn't know where she's going anymore, and left Phoenix because he needs a future. Charlie brings Phoenix to her, and she asks what she's done. Charlie says there's a lot more good in the world than people realise. He says when he collapsed he thought he'd die alone, that there'd be no-one to help him as he's helped others over the years. But there were lots of people around to help. He tells Diane he works here.
Duffy and Patrick talk to Spencer about his living arrangements. He tells them he was kicked out of his bedsit during the night, for trying to break up a fight. He says he's back at square one now, and he doesn't want them to go to the bother of finding him somewhere. He says thanks for the chance they gave him, and leaves. Patrick asks if they have to report it, saying that only they know about it. He says he'll sort something out for Spencer tonight. He offers Spencer his room at the hospital. Spencer thanks him, but Patrick tells him not to tell anybody - it could ruin his reputation. He goes. Spencer picks up a bottle of whisky that Patrick's left. He looks at it for a moment, then puts it away in a cupboard. He picks up a photo of his wife and kids and lies back on the bed, holding it.
Charlie goes into his office to talk to Duffy. He bumps into Patrick on the way in and thanks him for saving his life. Patrick goes. Charlie picks up a picture of himself which Duffy has on the desk. Duffy takes it off him, saying, "Do you mind? I like that." They leave together, and on the way out they meet Dan. Duffy introduces them, and he asks Charlie when he's coming back. Charlie says next week. Duffy asks Charlie where he's been, saying he didn't answer the phone and he wasn't in when she called round. Charlie says he had a lot of thinking to do when he got back from Birmingham, after all that time with Baz and Louis. He says Baz was nursing him for a while. He says when he came back he wanted some space. Duffy says he could have let her know, and he says sorry. She hugs him. He says it made him think: he'd been given a second chance, and didn't know what he wanted to do with it until today, when Diane made him realise he's got the best job in the world. "I'd go so far as to say you're looking at a new man, Duffy." He smiles and walks away, then turns and says, "I'll see you next week."

Episode first broadcast Saturday 16th September 2000

Additional Cast
Spencer Ben Keaton
Colette Kierney Adjoa Andoh
Dan Robinson Grant Masters
Andy Sylvano Clarke
Luke Stuart Morris
Rosemary Davies Marcia Warren
Diane Gibson Honeysuckle Weeks
Sergeant Geoff Fletcher         Iain Stuart Robertson
PC Howard Chris Alan
Donald Mortimer Antony Byrne
Nurse Bedria Timimi

Pictures provided by Chris Leader