Devastated Holby City cast ‘only heard it was axed an hour before announcement’

The cast of Holby City have been left "reeling" after only learning about the show’s axe a mere "hour" before the press announcement.

Fans across the country were left in similar states of shock on Wednesday, when it was announced the medical soap would come to a close after an impressive 23 years.

Former star Hugh Quarshie, who played Ric in the programme for an impressive 19 years, revealed that the actors were "taken aback" by the BBC’s decision.

The 66-year-old actor told The Guardian: "My understanding is they only found out an hour before released to the press – so no-one saw this coming."

He admitted his former colleagues had been left "reeling" by the decision, as he added: "If it is true [the BBC] wanted to produce more stuff out of London, they could have moved to the same studio as Casualty."

Hugh is the latest in a long line of Holby actors paying emotional tribute to the much-loved drama, as many took to Twitter as a way of reaching out to fans.

Former Holby star Joe McFadden, whose character Raf di Lucca was killed off back in 2017, tweeted: “Such sad news about the end of Holby City – it kept so many people in work for so long. My thoughts are with friends in the cast and crew.”

Amanda Mealing, who played Connie Beauchamp in the show, posted: "Very sad news. @BBCHolbyCity, the ‘birthplace’ of Connie Beauchamp, is set to close its doors once and for all. Very sad.”

Dominic Copeland star David Ames penned an emotional tribute to the show, as he said: "Today has been overwhelming to say the least but I have been so moved by all your comments.

"I’m incredibly proud of your show & what it stands for. The inclusivity, the representation, the physical & mental health issues raised & all between. It has heart. And that’s rare."

The BBC announced Holby’s axe on Wednesday in a statement which read: "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.

“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.

"We look forward to working with the team over the coming months to ensure that when it ends, Holby goes out on a high."

It comes as the broadcaster announced it would release a new “Northern soap” in an attempt to compete with rivals Coronation Street and Emmerdale.

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The programme will be part of more than 100 new and returning drama and comedy titles that are intended to reflect the lives of audiences outside London, as part of the BBC’s Across The UK campaign.

Details have yet to be revealed, but whether the new soap could be enough to rival the impact Holby has had remains to be seen.

Daily Star Online has contacted a spokesperson at the BBC for comment.

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