Denis Lawson and Sharon D Clarke will be among the former stars of Holby City returning to the BBC1 medical drama to mark its 20th anniversary in 2019. Show bosses are promising that the year ahead will delve into the hospital’s rich history in order to celebrate Holby City’s two decades on screen – and it seems as these two comebacks may be the first of many.
Clarke – who was recently seen playing the ill-fated Grace on Doctor Who – will reprise her role as Lola Griffin, who returns for one episode in order to hold a mirror up to her ex-husband Ric (Hugh Quarshie) as he reflects on his years at Holby. Lawson will make his comeback early in the new year as cardiothoracic consultant Tom Campbell-Core, who meets old rival Ric at a conference after spending the last 14 years trying to rebuild his reputation.
“I have great memories of my time on Holby City and I’m delighted to be back on my old stomping ground with the Holby cast and crew,” said Lawson.
Added Clarke: “I spent three-and-a-half happy years playing Lola. She was the kind of woman I would have loved to have seen on my screen when I was growing up. I was very proud to bring her to life and be a part of the Holby family. I’m so excited to be treading the wards again and seeing what Lola will be getting up to for Holby’s 20th Anniversary. Hey, Ric – Lola’s back in town!”
Speaking about his plans for the 20th anniversary year, Simon Harper – executive producer of Holby City and Casualty – commented: “We want to give the audience a whole year of anniversary treats, paying homage to the show’s heritage with some delicious returning characters – but also celebrating the new, working towards the 1000th episode around Bonfire Night…which is set to be an explosive story indeed!
“It’s a massive thrill to have Denis back, not only as one of our country’s foremost actors but also as one of Holby’s original bad boys in the show’s early years! Tom Campbell-Gore hasn’t changed a bit since he left Holby 15 years ago and definitely has some scores to settle with Ric. And it’s such a coup to have Sharon here again too. It’s fantastic too given how in demand she is – not only is she a fabulous actor and a much loved tender, funny Holby character but we clearly couldn’t let the anniversary pass without the appearance of one of Ric’s many ex-wives to ruffle his feathers.”
With Holby City promising a “host of guest appearances” over the next 12 months, fans will no doubt now be speculating as to who might be following in Lawson and Clarke’s footsteps – might Tina Hobley be back on the wards as Chrissie Williams? Is Patsy Kensit about to make a surprise reappearance as Faye Morton?
On the topic of the big birthday celebrations, Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama, said today: “It is a fantastic achievement for Holby City to be celebrating its 20th anniversary next year. The series continues to be a much loved BBC Drama, with a loyal fanbase who tune in in their millions every Tuesday, 52 weeks a year. The past 20 years has seen the series tackle and raise awareness of so many important social and medical issues, from Parkinson’s and dementia to male mental health. We’re extremely proud of the show – Happy Birthday Holby!”
Holby City can be seen tonight at 8.00pm on BBC1