Formidable surgeon Jac Naylor makes her final appearance this week, as Holby City bids her farewell in tense scenes. Caught up in a terrifying gun siege, the fan-favourite and her partner Kian’s (Ramin Karimloo) fate will be revealed in tonight’s episode.
Whether she manages to escape with her life remains to be seen, but whatever the outcome Jac will be leaving our screens after more than 15 years. Her exit will leave a huge hole as the show loses its chief anchor.
It is universally acknowledged that anyone being treated by Jac is in the safest of hands. She isn’t there to make friends (though a select few have managed to break through her armour) but simply to get the job done with minimal fuss.
Through her outrageous one-liners and fierce put-downs Jac has intimidated many peers and instilled fear in the hearts of several new recruits. But equally, she has earned their respect and admiration with her expertise in the operating theatre and her take charge attitude.
She may never have held the role of CEO, but Jac has never let the likes of Max McGerry (Jo Martin) stand in her way when she has a point to make. She speaks her mind and plays by her own rules, nominating herself as a backbone for the hospital with every look of defiance she sends someone’s way. Jac is far from the only outspoken woman on the wards, but she is certainly the most blunt.
She doesn’t care for tact and while this can sometimes be her undoing, her forthright manner can be surprisingly effective when talking to patients and ensuring her junior doctors grow in confidence. This was seen when she supervised Nicky McKendrick (Belinda Owusu), as Jac encouraged her to be unapologetic in her achievements.
Actress Rosie Marcel’s charismatic performances have brought authenticity to the character, combining powerful scenes with humour and emotion. Jac brings an edge to proceedings with her unpredictable dialogue, forever leaving us waiting to see what she is going to say next. When a gun was aimed towards her in last week’s cliffhanger, she stood firm and asked: “Is that even a real gun?”
It’s hard to imagine anyone being as merciless as Ms Naylor, but her impact will continue to be felt long after she is gone. Jac’s air of authority has been integral to the soap; her colleagues will be sure to recall those most memorable moments and may even resolve to be more like Jac when necessary.
Her ruthless side seemed to have no limits in her early days, but we soon learnt that she isn’t immune to vulnerability. Motherhood and other connections around the hospital allowed us deeper glimpses into Jac’s life, showing exactly what drives her to fight every battle thrown her way at Holby.
Despite initially naming him ‘Doctor Doughnut’, she formed a close bond with Sacha (Bob Barrett); and a romantic spark with Fletch (Alex Walkinshaw) has lingered despite Jac’s reluctance to risk ruining their friendship.
We have watched her use her strength to support the men in her life through the toughest of times, just as they have been there for her. In 2017, Jac continued to work while battling her grief for her sister. Her mental health began to suffer, and she later underwent successful treatment. She has also survived another shooting in recent years.
Jac overcomes every trauma, always returning to her rightful place on Darwin ward. This ability to bounce back has helped her carry the hospital and staff through many challenges. Jac can be relied upon in a crisis, ready to take over a life-saving surgery or step in when someone poses a threat to another member of staff – whether she likes them or not!
Jac’s previous absences have never felt quite this final, and it’s hard to believe she will no longer be striding purposefully down those corridors. We can only hope that her resilience and overwhelming popularity with viewers will allow her to stay in the land of the living; meaning we might be treated to future visits.
Holby City is saying goodbye to its ultimate leading lady. The true brains behind the operation, Jac’s commanding presence is unrivalled. She leaves behind a lasting legacy that is irreplaceable.
If you’re looking for more to watch, head to our TV Guide.