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Series / Holby City

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The Spin-Off of Casualty launched in 1999, this focuses more on the lives of the medics than the actual emergencies involved. However, it is nearly always set within the hospital.

Like its parent show, Holby City has been running for an alarmingly long time, leading to much cast turnover, although unlike its parent show none of the original cast are still present. As of autumn 2016, the longest-running regular character is Ric Griffin (Hugh Quarshie), who debuted in 2001; the iconic Jac Naylor (Rosie Marcel), meanwhile, debuted in 2005.


This show provides examples of:

  • Absent-Minded Professor: Elliott Hope, who plays this trope straight at times, then inverts and subverts it.
  • As Herself: Katy Perry was rumored to appear in mid-2013 to quote from British tabloids and football forums.
  • An Aesop: Plays the trope straight, particularly from 2007 onwards.
  • Ascended Extra: More recently, Joanna Higson who played recovering alcoholic Rachel got promoted to a semi-regular character.
  • Bottle Episode: Subverted. However, it is mainly confined to a single ward.
  • Brick Joke: Played straight on multiple occasions. Not the same as in Johnny English.
  • British Brevity: Like Casualty, purposefully averted, unlike most British shows..
  • But Not Too Gay: Averted. The gay couples get just as frisky as the straight couples (which is to say, not terribly frisky given that it airs at 8pm on the BBC, but the snogs are equally heated for both).
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  • The Cameo: Amy Acker made two voiceless uncredited cameos, presumably as Samantha Groves aka Root, her character from Person of Interest.
  • Canon: Shares canon with Casualty.
  • The Cast Show Off: Jules Knight, who plays Harry Tressler, is a former member of classical crossover band Blake. The inevitable demonstration of his singing skills finally took place in his first Christmas Episode.
  • Character Outlives Actor: Sandy Harper is still alive off-screen in Australia, despite the 2003 death of actress Laura Sadler.
  • Crossover: With its parent show Casualty. Done as the mini-series Casualty@Holby City in 2004 and 2005. A similarly large-scale one occurred in 2019, focused on a cyber-attack. As the two are set in the same building, however, many smaller incidents have occurred, with occasional permanent character moves.
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  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Linden Cullen, Penny Valentine.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Happens on multiple occasions, particularly for security guard and cafe staff characters.
  • Everything Is Online: A major plot point in the 2019 crossover. The hospital gets hit by a cyber attack and it turns out most of the electronics are connected.
  • Expy / Captain Ersatz: An expy of Miley Cyrus, and one of Lady Gaga have appeared in background scenes on occasion. Neither are speaking characters.
  • Fanservice: Rosie Marcel, aka Jac Naylor.
  • "Flowers for Algernon" Syndrome: Has happened a fair bit during the 2003-2005 series.
  • Foreshadowing: The episode "Serenity", which introduced Bernie Wolfe, also featured AAU clinical lead Serena Campbell grumbling that her ward needs better trauma facilities. Almost exactly six months later, the AAU got its very own trauma bay — headed by none other than renowned trauma surgeon and AAU co-clinical-lead Ms Bernie Wolfe. No wonder they wind up falling in love with each other.
  • Funny Background Event: Always happens. Worth watching on the BBC iPlayer if you live in the UK just to see.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: As per Casualty. Happens a lot.
    • A particularly bad one: A deaf patient was having an argument with her non-deaf girlfriend who was trying to interpret for her. She signed something incredibly rude note  The girlfriend just said "I'm not even going to repeat that."
  • Ghost Extras: See above, in the Ensemble Dark Horse section.
  • Held Gaze: Serena Campbell (Catherine Russell) and Bernie Wolfe (Jemma Redgrave) are constantly sharing long, meaningful looks. After the episode where they finally kiss, one of the producers noted that they "could only play sizzling glances for so long" before the inevitable happened.
  • Informed Attractiveness: Jac Naylor, although Rosie Marcel is quite the Ms. Fanservice.
  • Insufferable Genius/Rightly Self-Righteous: Just about the entire cast. The entire medical team are ripe with attitude problems and constantly go over the heads of officials and regulations, it almost always only helps in saving patients lives.
  • Is It Always Like This?: Some characters think this way. But that's Truth in Television, given the setting, and justified.
  • It's a Wonderful Plot: Elliot is shown Holby as the hospital he never worked at in a Christmas Bizarro Episode.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Jac Naylor and Michael Griffin are this. One episode concerns Jac nursing a baby.
  • Joker Immunity
  • Karma Houdini: Subverted with Ric Griffin - He stole Michael Spence's wife, and generally comes off as smug when he constantly relays messages to Michael from his ex-wife & Michael suffers a setback in his career. It's a subversion, because Ric has cancer, which appears to be both Laser-Guided Karma & letting him get away with all of this as other characters feel sorry for him. At the same time.
  • Locked in a Room: Getting stuck in a lift with a patient on a trolley has happened at least once.
  • Long-Runner Cast Turnover: None of the regular characters from when the show started in 1999 are still present; half of the current cast only joined in 2011 or later.
  • Meta Girl: Jac Naylor.
  • More Popular Spin Off.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Rachelle Lynne and Kate Webb named as themselves on-screen with their name-tags showing), and Jenny Elwood (Louise Houghton).
  • Oddly Small Organization: For the management, on-screen, at least.
  • One True Love: Serena calls Bernie "the one great love affair of my life", and Bernie wholly returns the sentiment. If any one couple on this show has ever been written as this, it's these two.
  • Prejudice Aesop: The show has this an Omnipresent Trope in its Long Runner history (21 years), so listing all the examples would take up too much room, but this aesop is more of an Enforced Trope due to the BBC's public service commitments.
  • Prodigal Hero: Henrik Hanssen, who left Sweden after his father was disgraced for using Nazi medical research. Henrik considered this unforgivable since his mother was a holocaust survivor and blamed his father for driving her to commit suicide. Turns out, his mother convinced his father to use the data and she killed herself for an entirely different reason.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: A few plots, but most notably the hospital gets hit by a cyber attack not long after the real NHS was.
  • Saw "Star Wars" 27 Times: Comedian Toby Hadoke plays a character in the episode "Snow Queens" who shamelessly boats over how many times he's watched The Matrix.
  • She Who Must Not Be Seen: Tracey Lang, a frequently-mentioned character. Fans of the show often wonder why she isn't shown on-screen.
    • Also Gemma Oddi, a name referenced multiple times on computer monitors on the show since 2008-2009, but her face has always been obscured or the camera pans too fast for the viewer to see it.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Luc Hemingway, supposedly from Sierra Leone.
  • Shown Their Work
  • Space Whale Aesop: Happens sometimes, but mainly to show that such consequences are rare in real life (and this is where they have Shown Their Work).
  • Spin-Off: Obviously.
  • Troperrific: Some of the writers like using this tactic. Jane Wallbank the producer is particularly notorious for making the show this way since the beginning of 2010.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: Henrik Hanssen, who made severe budget cuts.
  • Ultimate Job Security: Well, for Jac Naylor, Marie-Claire, Elliott Hope, Nick Jordan, Ric Griffin, the un-named tan-skinned nurse and Nikki, this trope is played straight.
  • Very Special Episode: This show proves it is no longer a Discredited Trope or even a Dead Horse Trope, despite the subjects covered being sensitive, well, there are very special episodes - and not parodies of the genre. The Very Special Episode are 2 or 3 parts.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Paul Rose, an anaesthetist who had been a Recurring Character since 2000, stopped appearing without explanation in 2010.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Subverted with Bernie and Serena. By the time the former runs off to Ukraine on secondment, the only people who aren't sure whether or not they'll get together in the end are Bernie and Serena themselves — it being obvious to everyone else with eyes that the two were practically made for each other.


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