Abra Durant part 02



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Post-traumatic stress

It was announced on 7 November 2007 that Abra would again be returning to Holby City, in spring 2008. Edmondson revealed that "Abra comes back as a patient because some trauma has happened in Africa and he will be sponging off Ric." Expanding on this, he explained: "Abra’s in a very fragile state, as he’s suffering from post-traumatic stress. He keeps hurting himself, but no one knows why. Ric’s pretty off with Abra at first, but he agrees to let him stay at his place for a week. Abra used to be a nice guy, but he’s horrible now. Something happened to him on his travels, though even I haven’t been told what it is yet. What I do know is that Abra has a huge machete scar on his back... I imagine he’s been though some horror." He has stated that this appearance in the show will last four or five months, and that he doesn't yet know how the character will be written out this time, beyond there being "some kind of mental-health issue." It emerged that Abra had borne witness to a violent attack on the hospital he was working in the Congo, eventually leading to him checking into a psychiatric unit. After being discovered being treated by his own mother, Kyla and Lola Griffin convinced him to discharge himself and return to Ghana. He returned briefly to Holby in December 2008, when he convinced Kyla to move to Ghana with him, proposing marriage to her.

Reception

The light-hearted, comedic quality the character of Abra brought to Holby City was a focal point of early reviews. Daily Mirror TV critic Jane Simon wrote of Abra's second Holby appearance:

The laughing gas has been in desperately short supply at Holby of late. [...] What they really need is for someone to come along and prove that heart transplants can be fun. It's a job for comedy cardiac specialist Percy Durant (guest star Ade Edmondson), who we last saw working out in Ghana with consultant Ric. You could easily imagine Percy driving around in a van with a big, red, plastic heart on top of it, or cracking open someone's chest and pulling out a bunch of flowers. And when it comes to Lisa (Luisa Bradshaw-White), he magically comes up with the answer to all her problems.

This particular episode garnered 7.4 million viewers and a 33 percent audience share, with both The Guardian and Digital Spy mentioning Edmondson's guest-appearance as Abra as a decisive factor in the high rating.

In early 2006, the character's "wacky" personality was deemed to have "proved such a hit, that Holby bosses got him back for two more episodes, shown in September and December (2005). And now they want to make Abra a permanent fixture in the show." Series producer Emma Turner said at the time that "(Abra) made a huge impact in the few episodes that he was involved in" and expressed her delight that Edmondson had agreed to reprise the role. TV critic Jim Shelley satirised the unrealistic storyline given to the character upon his return, deeming Abra's line "Essentially, it's an experiment and illegal." when explaining to the sister of a patient that he intended to transplant a pig's kidney into her brother's body, his televisual 'Bad news of the week'. However, Digital Spy's Dek Hogan was more positive about the plot strand, and especially the role of Abra therein, stating: "It’s been a cracking take this, another example of the excellent form that medical drama has been in this year, thanks in no small part to Adrian Edmondson marvellous turn as maverick surgeon Abra."

Jim Shelley again commented on the outlandishness of the character's storylines following Abra's next return to the show, in 2007. He wrote: "Ric and Ade Edmondson had been conducting secret operations on orphans smuggled in from Africa (as you do). [...] It's TV crackinstant, mind-altering, utterly addictive." He also dubbed the line "I don't know why people complain about the NHS." his 'Naive statement of the week', with the explanation: "Hmmmm let's see. Abra covering up that he was operating on his arms-dealer father. Maddy hiding the fact she killed her junkie sister's daughter. And secret cokehead Jesus Of Nazareth (Robert Powell) keeping quiet about counselling Elliot's son for heroin addiction. Oh yeah, and in Casualty, in Holby's A&E department, nurse Ruth Winters secretly fixed her dad's breathalyser test. Anyone detect a theme emerging?"

Abra proved a popular character amongst fans of the show, and in the 2007 official fans awards, was voted fifth favourite male character of series 9, and his relationship with Kyla voted fifth favourite coupling of the series. When Edmondson took time out from Holby City to work on his ITV sitcom Teenage Kicks, Mark Wright of The Stage reviewed the show poorly, urging him to "go back to Holby City, you were good in that". Announcing that the role of Abra was indeed going to be reprised a sixth time, the Mirror described his return storyline as "sizzling".

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