Holby City, the long-running BBC medical drama, is to end after 23 years, producers have confirmed. The series, created by Tony McHale and Mal Young, first aired in 1999 as a spin-off from another show, Casualty.
The BBC announced on Wednesday that the drama will broadcast its final series in March 2022, reports BBC.
The corporation said it was “incredibly proud” of the show but said it “had to make difficult decisions to make room for new opportunities”.
Around 250 people who work on the show – including actors, camera operators, engineers and hair and make-up professionals – will be affected by the decision.
Holby City won a Bafta for best continuing drama in 2008 and still regularly attracts more than 3 million viewers.
“We are incredibly proud of Holby City but it’s with great sadness that we are announcing that after 23 years, the show will end on screen in March of next year,” the BBC said in a statement.
“We sometimes have to make difficult decisions to make room for new opportunities and as part of the BBC’s commitment to make more programmes across the UK, we have taken the difficult decision to bring the show to a close in order to reshape the BBC’s drama slate to better reflect, represent and serve all parts of the country.”
It added: “We would like to take this opportunity to thank the amazing team at BBC Studios and all the cast and crew who have been involved in the show since 1999.
“Holby has been a stalwart with audiences, delighting millions of viewers each week and winning hundreds of awards with a compelling mix of cutting edge medical stories and explosive personal stories.
“We look forward to working with the team over the coming months to ensure that when it ends, Holby goes out on a high.”
Both Holby City, and Casualty are based in the fictional county of Wyvern, South West England.
But the bulk of the on-set filming for Holby City takes place at the BBC’s Elstree Centre in Hertfordshire, as well as shots from around Bristol.
In March, the BBC announced its plan to move some of its key departments and staff around the country in order to make the corporation more reflective of the UK as a whole.
“Our mission must be to deliver for the whole of the UK and ensure every household gets value from the BBC,” said director general Tim Davie.
“These plans will get us closer to audiences, create jobs and investment, and develop and nurture new talent.”
Racking up more than 1,000 episodes over 23 series, Holby City has also proved to be a fertile breeding ground for some top acting talent down the years.
Killing Eve star Jodie Comer received one of her first acting jobs on the programme, as did fellow Bafta-winner and Black Panther actress Letitia Wright, Peaky Blinders actor Joe Cole and Lee Ryan from the boyband Blue.
Already-established stars such as Adrian Edmondson and Patsy Kensit were also given parts, while the likes of Maureen Lipman, chat show host Paul O’Grady and comedian Romesh Ranganathan have also appeared as guests.
The show has held its place in the BBC One schedule on a Tuesday night for many years, tackling many topical issues along the way.
One of its most memorable storylines involved the separation of the conjoined Tan twins, in 2008. The surgery was completed by the show’s longest-serving character Dr Ric Griffin, played by Hugh Quarshie.
Two years earlier, it showed Professor Elliot Hope’s wife Gina travelling to Switzerland to end her life after struggling with motor neurone disease.
Some of the hospital’s fictional staff have themselves also faced health issues. In 2014 young junior doctor Zosia March was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, after suffering a breakdown following her mother’s death. Dr Arthur Digby was diagnosed with melanoma two years later.
The hospital came under siege during a shooting spree in a 2017 episode.
The following year, a special show entitled The Anniversary Waltz helped to mark the 70th anniversary of the National Health Service. It saw characters explaining what the NHS means to them, as they attempted to get an outbreak of norovirus under control.
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