back to article Well Holby damned! We've caught a virus: Brit medical soap operas team up for 'cyber' episode

BBC "sister" medical drama shows Holby City and the venerable Casualty from which it sprang have announced that they are teaming up for a two-part "cyberattack special". NHS techies, stop sniggering at the back! Auntie has promised: "The various storylines will include a car crash, a possible pregnancy and two members of staff …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Or: Super genius hackers "hack" in by typing password guesses really quickly

    ( what film was that ? I think the password was God )

  2. TRT Silver badge

    My money...

    is on the autistic chap walking up to the PC on the reception desk about 10 minutes from the end, looking over the shoulders of the dozen other cast members standing around trying to fix things that they really shouldn't be touching, then as they turn their backs on the PC, he types a single command into the keyboard and restores the entire NHS Trust's computer system with no loss of data or life, because "magic".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: My money...

      And the command is merely "Why?"

    2. macjules

      Re: My money...

      Nah, my money is on a NotPetya type of attack with NHS trust bosses desperately not wanting to pay the 1 bitcoin ransom. Chaos ensures, but they are saved by the fact that nobody has updated the vital life-dependent computers from the original Windows NT 3.51.

      Trebles all round!

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: My money...

        The virus resets its clock due to the GPS epoch rollover.

      2. WallMeerkat

        Re: My money...

        Windows NT 3.51 running Office 97 is still a surprisingly useful setup for light word processing and spreadsheet work...

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: My money...

        Yes... Or not wanting to admit (a) they don't know what a bitcoin is or (b) how to get hold of one ('should we pop down to Travelex')

  3. Zog_but_not_the_first


    Duffy the Patient Slayer in it?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Is...

      Nope, but Charlie will still look as baffled as ever!

  4. TrevorH

    Shouldn't it be that the outbreak is magically stopped by a malware author turned security researcher...

    1. TRT Silver badge

      working as a hospital porter.

      1. 's water music

        Mild-mannered janitors. Them's the ones you need to watch

        1. matjaggard

          It's all over when the researcher finds the kill switch

          1. Gordon 10

            ....Until the helicopter carring the US Marines sent to rendition him crashes on the local Genting casino.

          2. Locky

            Considering half the NHS is still on XP, I wonder what the odds are that there's still some Haylon in an old comms room, just waiting for an accidental nudge of the "Do not press" button

  5. vir

    It's A Fire Sale

    Everything must go...

  6. RobThBay

    Red shirt guy goes first

    Whoever is wearing a red shirt will be the first to go.

    Newbies that are too young to remember the first Star Trek tv show probably won't understand.

    1. Little Mouse Silver badge

      Re: Red shirt guy goes first

      I know what you mean. It's such a shame they never got repeated.

      1. Ochib

        Re: Red shirt guy goes first

        I know what you mean. It's such a shame they never got repeated.

    2. MyffyW Silver badge

      Re: Red shirt guy goes first

      Ensign Cannonfodder, please accompany these three permanent members of the cast down to the planet. Will it put you in any danger? Some, but you should be able to handle it.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So So Close but no Kewpie Doll this time !!!

    It is, of course, a combination of *all* four scenarios.

    At the end of the day, 5 minutes before the end of the episode, Charlie Fairhead remembers some 'kid', who came in to visit his friend, had a suspiciously large backpack with a 'computer cable' hanging out the back. He did not see the backpack when he left.

    He runs back to the ward and '24' style searches for the 'missing' backpack.

    He finds it plugged into a convenient 'ethernet' port behind an extremely large 'sharps' bin under a desk ...... he pulls the cable out and slowly all is restored to full working condition.

    He then remembers the 'friend' that was visited ..... but when he gets there too late the patient is gone.

    The episode ends with the camera panning out to reveal the 'patient' looking at Charle, with hate, as he walks out of the hospital wearing a doctors white coat.

    The music starts and the credits roll.

    More exciting adventures next week in Holby City/Casualty .......

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This is the same show...

      That has an autistic kid fly a drone into a Holby chopper that also crashes on the entrance of the hospital?

      Totally fictional, because It'd be hard to do that around here, the wind turbine would kill the drone before it ever got close to the airfield (yet, they have a wind turbine a stones throw from it!).

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: This is the same show...

        Re: This is the same show...

        That has an autistic kid fly a drone into a Holby chopper that also crashes on the entrance of the hospital?

        Totally fictional, because It'd be hard to do that around here, the wind turbine would kill the drone before it ever got close to the airfield (yet, they have a wind turbine a stones throw from it!).

        Yes, the kid that flew a toy drone upwards into a turbine helicopter, miraculously the toy drone was not affected at all by the rotor downwash.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So So Close but no Kewpie Doll this time !!!

      It will never be the full on cross over unless it includes ALL of the stable Angels, Holby Blue, Casualty 1900s etc.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So So Close but no Kewpie Doll this time !!!

        A full Casualty + spinoffs time travel cross-over mini-series with Space 1999 / UFO effects ....

        Hmmm!!! ...... I could go for that !!! :)

        Just need to be able to do it on a BBC Budget and a la 'Dr Who' base it in one area/city/town.

        I known ..... Basingstoke :)

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: So So Close but no Kewpie Doll this time !!!

          You mean a disaster at a ComiCon?

  8. TRT Silver badge


    The computer virus at Holby City is revealed to be the work of a dying alien race who are determined to snatch bodies to use as spare parts. The entire building gets blown up by a UFO lurking in the hospital's garden. Stock footage, of course - let's hope no-one notices the mountains in the background.

    1. alain williams Silver badge

      Re: Alternatively...

      A Holby City -- Dr Who cross over -- that could be interesting!

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Alternatively...

        Patient stomach contents become sentient and wash over the BBC Elstree studios sets.

        Dimensions in Chyme?

      2. Paul 195

        Re: Alternatively...

        @alain willliams

        Not Doctor Who - clearly the Gerry Anderson helmed UFO. Pure sci-fi genius complete with gull-wing cars, and mini-skirted space technicians with purple hair.

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: Alternatively...

          Indeed. And of course SHADO HQ is the same building which now houses Holby City.

          1. Gordon 10

            Re: Alternatively...

            Holby Torchwood crossover more likely,,,,,given most of ts in Cardiff these days.

            Capt Jack rogers so many staff senseless that they are too bandy legged push the trolleys down the corridor at a run thus causing all patient waiting times to breach and the CQC to shut them down. Capt Jack is then killed by Jacob and Elles son donuting an ambulance in front of the ED. Only for the CQC to back down when Connie 'miraculously' brings an apparently dead Capt Jack back to life. All is then fine until Duffy realises she's expecting Jacks space baby, so Charlie frowns like he's got mild indigestion.

            Meanwhile Holby proceeds as normal with Lofty making a throwaway oneliner about how when he saw Robin off screen she couldn't walk straight. The camera then pans away from Holby mysteriously not showing any of the ED frontage seen in Casualty.

      3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Alternatively...

        "A Holby City -- Dr Who cross over -- that could be interesting!"

        Been there, done that, didn't get a T-shirt. Hospital taken to the moon then put back at the end. First episode with Freeman whas'er'name as the companion.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Alternatively...

      If you're going to re-use stock footage, may I also suggest re-using the car chase from The Italian Job as a Macgyver episode did once.

  9. Zog_but_not_the_first

    More trolling...

    Or maybe Bob Hoskins swaggers in (difficult to arrange, I know) and confronts Charlie with, "Didn't I sort you out in The Long Good Friday"?

  10. Martin Summers Silver badge

    A drone prevents the air ambulance from landing at the hospital forcing it to run out of fuel and crash land on the server/comms room. This in turn takes out the first experimental remote by wire surgery happening on a patient in the operating theatre where hackers had already managed to get in to the system via a Windows XP machine and spelt out 'Subscribe to Pewdiepie' with the patients intestines.

    1. David 132 Silver badge

      and spelt out 'Subscribe to Pewdiepie' with the patients intestines.

      Ah, the old “your name in lights” joke.

      Don’t forget the colon, although if the patient has a colostomy bag it’ll be a semi-colon.

      (On a related note, if Casualty 1900s had a storyline about “that time of the month”, would that make it a Period Drama?)

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Lights are lungs, not intestines. But close.

      2. W.S.Gosset
        Thumb Up

        > Ah, the old “your name in lights” joke.

        Genius reference.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I didn't realise this c**p was still on

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wow...

      I've never watched an episode of either in my life, but I have it from a relatively realible source (a doctor - a real one, not the scarf wearing, jelly baby eating one from TV) that the producers take some time to consult with medical experts to make the scenarios as realistic as possible and that the terminology and vocabularly used is accurate.

      It goes without saying that they will take similar expert advice on IT and computer matters and make them appropriately realistic. I assume........

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think an elaborate tale of a Doctor falling for a sextortion mail and spending all NHS funding attempting to cover it up is the only option really

  13. Wellyboot Silver badge

    It's not a soap

    Soaps run for 52 weeks a year.

    This is a BBC Drama - it only runs for 44 weeks a year.

    The white one..

    1. Steve Jackson

      Re: It's not a soap

      Holby City does run 52 weeks a year, it's a soap.

  14. g00ner

    Outsourcing episode

    I bet it will be how the hospital have just signed a new outsourcing deal with crapita. Only this turns around and bites them on the arse when 75% of the existing IT staff get sacked.

    Hijinks ensue as the remaining staff try to fix all the IT problems

  15. Roq D. Kasba

    Guess the disaster

    I watched a great Casualty once - a runaway mobility scooter which narrowly avoided people, somehow wasn't crushed by traffic, almost went into the river...and then tipped over sideways. The director had fun taking us on a "Final Destination"-esque stream of near-misses.

  16. paulll

    "a recovering victim whose hospital bed guardrail malfunctions, thus depositing the patient to the floor with a thud whereupon they swiftly perish? (This was a real storyline.)"

    This happens in real life.

  17. DuncanLarge Silver badge


    Its probably the teen genius kid of a fired nurse wanting revenge, hacking past security doors (that use mechanical combo locks that somehow have been upgraded to emit digital beeps) to get into the hospitals basement.

    There, he and a couple of mates of his, that form entire sentences out of slightly out-dated slang, put up their hoodies and tap away to grunge music.

    The camera shows code, possibly actual C code or the cheap alternative HTML, scrolling up the screen faster than they type. What are they doing? Using an SQL injection attack? Crafting a Linux Kernel module to be modprobed into the hospitals server? Nope, they are "hacking" the admin password.

    Maybe one of the kids is the "VR genius" and navigates the hospitals aging windows network using a very battered looking PSVR headset plugged into the wall.

    While the hospitals systems fail, lights going out, microwaves exploding, hospital beds suddenly killing a patient, an old grey-beard hacker (of the white hat kind) offers his services. Having been at the hospital for a knee operation coincidentally at the same time, he tries to out-hack and even locate the attackers. He wins some, and loses some while making the observation that they are "really good". Eventually he manages to identify some information about the hackers that prompts one of the male Doctors to recognise one of them as the son of the nurse that he had a short relationship with before she was fired for gross negligence.

    Deducing where they are before the armed police that have suddenly turned up, the Doctor heads for the basement. After a short search he finds a group of hoodie wearing teens, one of which would have been his stepson should he have not dumped his mum, due to the gross negligence thing.

    They meet, like sandpaper meets paint, and discuss (very emotively) the situation, the past, the betrayals. Eventually the Doctor talks the lad around. Much to his mates disappointed slang filled shouting, the lad puts on the VR headset and begins to shut down the virus. Unfortunately, the virus was given A.I by the young hackers and is not going quietly (think lawnmower man here).

    More people are thrown out of their hospital beds as the virus and hacker lad do battle. We already know the winner. The lads, now arrested by the armed cops are taken away. The Doctor and the lad glance at each other. He is worried. He says that he thinks part of the virus got out onto the net, and has a taste for hospital blood.

    After the end credits we move to another hospital. The lights flicker. The coffee machine beeps and shakes a bit, scalding a nurse. A windows XP desktop in a corner of reception starts displaying multiple command prompt windows with the text "I AM HERE"

    I seriously doubt that this episode will be that good, but possibly will be full of tropes and sterotypes.

  18. W.S.Gosset


    > with only one theatre available in the blackout [because of the cyberattack? - Ed].

    Nah, it's because post-Brexit the Remainers panicking around the docks accidentally clog and block imports of Diesel fuel, starving the wind farms of the ability to game the "technology-neutral" power-supply they tricked the government into signing up for (most EU windfarms now have diesel parks on their feed-in line, being a technology-neutral mechanism outputting the same power-requirements of what was originally specified as "battery". South Australia's followed their lead to the tune of 80,000 litres of diesel an hour of Renewable Energy). Insert blackout and plot-point about here.

    1. W.S.Gosset

      Re: Nah

      Wait, sorry, was this one of the stories where it's NOT mandatory to drag brexit in, no matter by how tenuous a link?

      Sorry, I... I thought it was compulsory now. God, how embarrassing.

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