‘The Good Karma Hospital’ review: The likeable characters shine in Episode 5

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“Haven’t you realised by now I’m always right? It’s a cross I have to bear”

Viewers would be forgiven for thinking they were watching Call the Midwife as they see a young nun collapse in a convent but no, it’s the fifth episode of ITV’s The Good Karma Hospital which begins with Dr Walker taking a phone call from home from her ex Marcus to her delight and to Dr Varma’s clear jealousy.

Her trip down memory lane is soon interrupted as she is whisked off by Dr Fonseca on a house call to the convent. Their long road trip there and back giving plenty of time to share backstories, Ruby about Marcus and Lydia about her vanished husband Jules, “One confession deserves another, I suppose” and for Lydia to dispense more advice, “A man you don’t love is like a sticking plaster you don’t need. Just rip it off, it only ever hurts for a second.” On examining the nun, Sister Inez, the initial shock diagnosis is that she’s pregnant which Inez insists is an immaculate conception but which leads to her being cast out by the redoubtable Mother Superior Carmen (Madhur Jaffrey)

Elsewhere Dr Nair’s attempts to put errant son AJ in the hands of an attractive marriage broker to find him a wife takes an unexpected turn when AJ refuses her help and the lonely doctor, whose old friend Hari suffering from an apparent stroke turns up at the hospital with a much younger wife, realises his relationship with the broker could be more than just business. Maggie take a reluctant grumpy Paul on a long arduous trek to a temple, “You can’t meet God in a Villa shirt,” Maggie in search of her own miracle, a healing star.

Comic relief is provided by Greg, busy taking bets on his latest scheme, crab racing, “Imagine the Grand National, only sideways,” while also hiring AJ’s recent holiday romance Josie as a barmaid, Josie in need of money for a plane ticket home, and giving Paul both a shoulder to cry on and his winnings from the crab race

With all the talk of crab racing, this episode has some stings in the tail. Ruby has a lightbulb moment when she realises Varma has feelings for her. The heat and an angry tirade from Paul causes Maggie to collapse and be rushed to hospital. Both Inez and Hari turn out to have been misdiagnosed, the former with tragic consequences when Lydia’s attempt to help backfires badly.

“Lydia’s Lydia. She manipulates people and refuses to apologise. I thought you would have figured that out by now.” An episode that revolves around a possibly pregnant nun ends with Ruby having an unexpected arrival of her own to deal with…

TGKH isn’t exactly miraculous TV, the plots are fairly predictable, but it’s the likeable characters and the good performances that will have regular viewers keeping their appointment for next week’s finale.

Aired at 9pm on Sunday 5 March 2017 on ITV.

Buy The Good Karma Hospital on DVD on Amazon here.

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Follow reviewer Patrick McCafferty on Twitter here.