Series 16 Episode 4:
Written by Paul Cornell

Nikki is on the phone to her mum, talking about the accident and saying she doesn't even know what a good paramedic is. Comfort comes out of resusc and tells her the patient they just brought in has died. She says they have to go. They are called out to see Al, a paranoid schizophrenic who has cut off his ear. The ear is lying in the path of his house, and Comfort tells Nikki to go and find some ice to put it on. Nikki goes to a nearby ice-cream man and gets a box of ice lollies to keep the ear cold. Meanwhile, Comfort has gone into the house. She knows Al, who is a regular. He asks Comfort if she thinks he's sexy, and she says you never know your luck. The house is full of bottles of pee and other things - Al says he's kept everything that has come out of his body in the last six months. He doesn't want to leave them, and starts throwing them around. He says he was out drinking last night, and that he missed his appointment last week. Nikki arrives with the ear on ice, and is obviously scared by Al's behaviour, but Comfort takes it in her stride, joking about it. She tells Al he can pick his three favourite bottles to take with him. In the ambulance Nikki is left to look after Al while Comfort drives. He asks her if she thinks he's sexy, and she calls for Comfort to help. Comfort starts singing, "If you want my body…" and Al joins in. Eventually they arrive at A&E; Nikki hands the box to Patrick, who takes out the ear, leaving the box behind. Jack takes out a lolly and starts to eat it despite Nikki's disgust. Back in the ambulance Nikki asks why Al isn't kept locked up. Comfort says it's Care in the Community - he'll probably just go on hurting himself. Nikki asks if they can't do anything, and Comfort says they can't save the world.
They get another call, to a building site where some scaffolding has collapsed, seriously injuring several men. Two other ambulances are sent as well, but Comfort and Nikki arrive first. They rush to the first casualties, but they are not breathing. Comfort says they're already dead, and Nikki is shaken. She finds another man who seems to be breathing, but Comfort says he isn't - they're death gasps. She examines him and says he's dead, then moves on, despite Nikki's protests. They reach another patient, Joe, who is talking, and set to work treating him. Nikki starts to talk to him, but Comfort sends her to look at some of the other patients. She sees the man Comfort said was dead move, and the sight makes her throw up. Joe sees her and points her out to Comfort. Comfort tells PC Russell, who is on the scene, to tell Nikki to get on with it, and remember the magic words - "You're going to be fine." Nikki finds another patient who is trapped; he asks if he'll be OK and Nikki replies that she doesn't know. He asks if she's fresh out of nursing school and she replies, "I've just finished ten weeks' basic training." She moves onto another man, Mike, who is conscious and says he doesn't need any pain relief. Nikki leaves some oxygen with him in case he needs it. She goes back to Comfort and says that the man she proclaimed dead is dead now, but she doesn't think he would be if they'd treated him. Comfort ignores this and tells her to see to another patient. The fire crew arrive and Comfort shows them what's what. Meanwhile Nikki and PC Russell look on. PC Russell asks her what time she finishes; Nikki tells him, then has to leave to throw up again. Eventually the fire crew manage to free the men; one is going to lose his legs. Nikki is with Mike, and Comfort takes over; Nikki says he's in no danger, but when Comfort talks to him he mentions a pacemaker and he starts to go downhill fast. As they take him to A&E Nikki apologises for her mistake, and Comfort tells her to forget it.
Back in A&E, Nikki is visibly upset. Jack makes a joke, but Nikki is unimpressed. Jack tells her he was trying to make her giggle, then tell him what was wrong. Nikki says she doesn't giggle, but tells him about her day. At the end of it, Jack asks her if she wants to go for a drink after the shift; Nikki says no. Jack persists, and she realises he's letching on her, and tells him to get stuffed. She walks off, and Comfort joins her from resusc, where Joe has just died. Nikki says that must be the worst shout ever, but at least they managed to save five of them. Comfort doesn't tell her about Joe, but says she's going to clean the ambulance, and walks off. Nikki tries to phone her mum, but has to leave a message - she asks her mum to call her as she needs to talk to her. Comfort walks past and says it's lunchtime. They eat their lunch in the ambulance. Comfort starts joking about pathologists eating whilst cutting up bodies. Nikki complains that all she ever does is make jokes. She asks if the job gets easier, but Comfort says it gets worse: when you don't have to concentrate on the job as much you have chance to think about things - that's why she's so loud.
Before they've finished lunch, they get a call to a car fire. They arrive at the specified location to find no-one and nothing in sight, until a group of students, dressed as "mutants", turn up, trying to scare them; two more students, armed with a camera and a sound mike, record the action. They say it's for a student film. Comfort tells one of the lads that they've committed a serious criminal offence, and says that if she tells their college, they'll be thrown off the course. She is about to ask for a promise that they won't do it again, so they can get on with their work, when she notices Nikki, who after arguing with one of the girls, has started fighting with her. Comfort drags Nikki back into the ambulance, and they set off.
They carry on with their lunch. Nikki is angry with the students, but Comfort is resigned to it. She tells Nikki why she became a paramedic: when she was a kid she watched Thunderbirds, and wanted to be in International Rescue, to save the world. She says the ambulance is as near as she'll get to Thunderbird 3. They get another shout, this time to a church, where the priest has collapsed. As they enter the church, Comfort kneels briefly before attending to Father Benson, the priest. A teenage girl, clearly upset, runs out of the church as they enter. Father Benson tells Comfort he has prostate cancer. When they carry him out to the ambulance he holds his hand out to the girl, but she doesn't move. As Comfort closes the doors, Nikki asks her if she's religious, and she replies, "No, I'm a Catholic." Once inside the ambulance Father Benson refuses painkillers, and tells Comfort that he has not been treated since his cancer was diagnosed. He knows he is dying but wants to stay conscious while the chaplain performs Last Rites. Comfort says that goes with saving his life, but he says he doesn't want that. When Comfort asks why he tells her that he had been having an affair with Jane, the teenager outside the church, who is only 15. He says he loved her. Comfort is shocked and says he's going to hell. She says she'll have to tell the police, but he says it'll only upset Jane. Comfort says Jane will need help. Father Benson asks Comfort if she forgives him; Comfort does not answer, and he goes off. They arrive at Holby A&E and he is taken to resusc. Comfort tells Patrick not to waste his time on Father Benson, and he pretends not to have heard her. Nikki, however, overhears, and as they get back to the ambulance she asks Comfort how she can hand out judgements on letting people die, like the man on the building site and Father Benson. Comfort says they are two different cases. As they are arguing, the student Nikki was fighting with earlier appears. They see her, and Comfort has to stop Nikki from approaching her to start another fight. Suddenly the girl falls to the ground, and Nikki rushes over to help, closely followed by Comfort. The cameraman and other students appear round a corner, saying, "That's a wrap." The girl runs off and Nikki starts to follow, but Comfort stops her. Back in the ambulance Nikki asks if they can't stop them; Comfort says she's told the police. She says it looks like it's going to be Nikki's last shift, and asks if she's right. Nikki, after saying Comfort is cold and completely hardened, says she's right - it is her last day on the job.
They get another shout, to a British Legion club, where an old man, Arthur, has collapsed. He deteriorates rapidly and has a cardiac arrest. As they shock him, Nikki says, "Nobody else dies, not on my last shift." Eventually they get a heartbeat. Someone asks if he'll be OK, and Nikki replies, "He's gonna be fine."
Back in A&E, Comfort asks Nikki if she's really going to quit. She says they tell jokes because the alternative is going mad. Nikki starts to cry, and Comfort hugs her, saying she took her time. PC Russell turns up and asks if Nikki wants to join him and some others for a drink. Nikki agrees, and heads off. Comfort says, "See you tomorrow." When Nikki gets to the pub, PC Russell starts the others singing, "Nikki Marshall held her lunch." Nikki laughs as she joins them.
Comfort goes into resusc, where Father Benson is still seriously ill. Patrick thinks there is no hope, and that Comfort was right before. He tells her the chaplain has been to see him. Comfort goes to his bedside and says she's sorry. She says "Go in peace, wherever you're going. Bless you, father." He dies. Comfort, saying her husband Rob is waiting for her at home - they've got a video out. Later on, they are cuddled up together watching the film. It has a sad ending, and Comfort, starting to cry, wishes there could have been a twist, saying they could have made it a happy ending. She cries, cuddling up to Rob.

Episode first broadcast Saturday 6th October 2001

Additional Cast
Al Thomas Fisher
Foreman Glynn Sweet
PC Russell Tarek Ramini
Joe Trevor Dwyer Lynch
Mike Paul Arlington
George Iain Rogerson
Watch commander          Tony Guilfoyle
Father Benson Roger Aldborough
Arthur John Breslin
Rob Chad Shepherd