BBC's Casualty is not a programme known for its light touch. It doesn't tiptoe around issues – it bashes down their door and runs through them with boots on. In Casualty, cars are leather-seated smash-smash machines. In Casualty, windows are brittle mouths of doom. If I were mayor of the fictional town of Holby I would pedestrianise the hell out of it. I'd compress every tower block into a bungalow and enforce compulsory parachutes for everyone with cause to climb a ladder. But Casualty's lack of subtlety, its very black-and-whiteness, is why it was exactly the right forum to address female genital mutilation for the first time in British drama.
This is what happened on BBC1 at 9.10pm on Saturday, with 5 million people watching. Tamasha wanted to protect her little sister from being cut like her. The doctors were debating whether to get involved: "It's too culturally sensitive," argued one. "It's complex." "Typical liberal excuse," replied the nurse. Meanwhile the sisters' pregnant mother was going into early labour, and upon inspecting her, Dr Hanna learned she was "closed". In one of those great flashes of Casualty karma, when Tamasha caught up with the private doctor on his way to the cutting party and ran him off the road in her mother's car, he suffered massive trauma to his genitals. Dr Hanna and Tamasha drove to a terraced house, where, in the absence of the private doctor, two little girls had been cut by their grandmother – one lay unconscious in a pool of blood and urine.