Fans have banded together following yesterday’s announcement that Holby City will be coming to an end in March next year, starting a petition that hopes to save the long-running medical drama.
The Change.org petition, titled “Don’t scrap Holby City”, has received 26,151 signatures at the time of writing, and aims to “urge the BBC not to scrap” the series.
Holby City – conceived as a spin-off to fellow medical drama Casualty – first aired back in 1999 and has provided many households names with early acting gigs, including Jodie Comer (Killing Eve), Olivia Colman, and Letitia Wright (Black Panther).
Over two decades on, the show’s regular Tuesday night slot on BBC One still attracts millions of viewers each week.
In a statement, the BBC explained it had made the decision to cut Holby City after 23 years on air “to make room for new opportunities and as part of the BBC’s commitment to make more programmes across the UK” and to “reshape BBC’s drama slate to better reflect, represent and serve all parts of the country”.
The Change.org petition addressed the statement, but argued that the show is “one of the most diverse dramas on the BBC”.
“Holby City has millions of weekly viewers, and has won hundreds of awards. It is also one of the most diverse dramas on the BBC – bringing stories of real people across society, from all backgrounds and experiences,” it reads. “The combination of permanent characters and single episode characters offers a huge range of storylines, highlighting important issues and experiences in medicine and society.”
It adds: “The show has raised awareness about so many issues of value to the public – whether that’s mental health, bereavement, exploring faith or sexuality. The pandemic has shown how highly the public value the NHS, and Holby City is an important representation of the work that the NHS does, and the issues the NHS and its staff and patients face.”
As signatures continue to pour in, it remains to be seen whether this will impact the BBC’s decision to cancel the show.