The BBC has made the decision to cancel Holby City.
The corporation said that it was ‘incredibly proud’ of the show, however noted that it doesn’t fit into its plans to ‘better reflect, represent and serve all parts of the country’ via its drama output.
“We’re 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.” – BBC
Holby City was launched in 1999 by Mal Young, who was the head of serials at the BBC, and top EastEnders writer Tony McHale, who later became a producer on the show. Originally it was not a year-round serial, airing for finite runs for its first three series.
The Beeb launched the show to capitalise on the popularity of Casualty, which has been depicting life in an A&E department since 1986, with Holby City following the professional and personal lives of the staff who work in other departments of the same hospital set in the fictional county of Wyvern, in the south-west of England
Although the programmes are filmed in different locations – Holby City is recorded within the BBC’s Elstree Studios complex in Borehamwood, while Casualty is filmed at the Rock Loath Studios in Cardiff.
Neptune House at BBC Elstree, the home of Holby City
The show quickly found an audience and won praise from critics for bringing topical storylines to the screen, raising awareness of various medical issues.
Audiences have fallen in recent times, however, with episodes typically now attracting around 2.5 million viewers. While this is reflective of falling audiences across the board, Holby City is the least watched of the BBC’s three main continuing dramas.
Michael French, Angela Griffin, Hugh Quarshie, Amanda Mealing, Rosie Marcell, Tina Hobley, Patsy Kensit and Guy Hassen are among the names to have had regular roles in the series.
With each episode seeing a steady slew of patients pass through the hospital, the series also provides short-term work for many actors. When The Bill was cancelled in 2010, some in the industry expressed concern at the reduction in ‘opportunities’ for actors in the south – a feeling that is likely to be felt again now.
The BBC is reportedly planning to launch a new continuing drama “up north”.
“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.” – BBC