James Nesbitt plays a brain surgeon in <i>Monroe</i>.

James Nesbitt plays a brain surgeon in Monroe.

Monroe, Universal, 8.30pm

YES, it's a hospital drama about a maverick medico with an abrasive manner and a sub-specialty in caustic comments. But no, it isn't House. For one thing, our hero-of-sorts, Gabriel Monroe, is a brain surgeon, not a diagnostician. For another, he's played by James Nesbitt, not Hugh Laurie. There are other differences, too, if you can get past the similarities and give it a go. And you might - after all, Nesbitt is always good to watch. Monroe is a crusty sort, given to teasing the junior doctors, trading barbs with an icy cardiac surgeon (Sarah Parish) and exhibiting an odd numbness when it comes to developments in his personal life. But he's a bit of a softie when it comes to his patients and their families. Tonight, it's a young woman with a brain tumour and her partner, who doesn't think he can stay with her should she come out of surgery brain-damaged. That doesn't mean Monroe likes them; his attitude seems summed up by the tune that plays out in this episode: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds' People Ain't No Good.

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