Casualty (BBC1)

THIS isn't a good day for Charlie to have a hangover. The morning after the night before, he admits that he overdid it last night at his birthday celebrations. "What was in that punch? It was the off-licence equivalent of a weapon of mass destruction," he commented.

Most other people, both staff and patients, who passed through the doors of Holby A and E had considerably more than just a bad head. No wonder the NHS is hard-pressed to keep pace if the flow of patients in real life is anything like that in this long-running hospital series.

Abs and Ellen were at loggerheads. Even occasional viewers of Casualty like me could tell it was serious, with comments such as "Ellen's a criminal, she shouldn't be working here" being thrown around.

Abs wanted out of their marriage. "You think all this can be solved with a plate of stroganoff," he told her, clearly meaning that no amount of cooking like Jamie or Delia could bring them back together.

And just to make sure she got the message, he signed off with: "We are off different planets, Ellen. I wish I had never laid eyes on you." That was before he threw her and her bags out into the street, leaving her in no doubt that he wanted out of their relationship.

Paramedic Comfort (but no joy) has lost her husband and her baby in quick succession, and is trying to discharge herself from hospital.

As usual in Casualty, her baby problems were contrasted with those of a middle-aged patient brought in on a stretcher with severe stomach pains. "Have you been sick?," the doctor asked her.

"Like a geyser," she replied

It emerged she was 52 and pregnant, a mere youngster compared to the woman of 66 who gave birth in real life this week. This was bad news for her and her husband as they were setting off on a round-the-world trip now that their children had left home. The last thing they wanted was another baby to prevent them from travelling.

"The next patter of tiny feet won't necessarily be our grandkids," said her husband, obviously regretting the fact that he was to become a father again. This was hardly the right thing to say to Comfort, a woman who'd just suffered a miscarriage.

In a busy day even by Casualty standards, two children brought in after being hit by a car then re-appeared later, victims of a road accident in which the boy was driving a car. Their stories involved accusations of abuse coupled with a mother suffering from MS who'd been given a drug overdose.

Goodness, this was an entire hour-long drama in its own right, not something to be fitted in between the love lives of Holby staff and the activities of temporary receptionist Sam, busy deleting hospital records from the computer, muttering something about "streamlining".

Receptionist Bex might have noticed if she hadn't been waltzing around on cloud nine after a date with Pete "who is seriously gorgeous, and his hands...".

Fortunately, she was silenced before being able to go into detail about where his hands had been and what they had been doing there.