Henrik Hanssen

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Henrik Hanssen
Holby City character
Henrik Hanssen.jpg
First appearance "Shifts"
19 October 2010
Last appearance "Like a Prayer"
8 October 2013 (returning)
Occupation Chief Executive Officer 2011-2013
Director of Surgery 2010-2013
Consultant General Surgeon 2010-2013
Nationality Swedish

Henrik Hanssen (né Lövborg) MBBS MD FRCS was a fictional character from the BBC medical drama Holby City, played by actor Guy Henry. He first appeared in Shifts, broadcast on 19 October 2010. He was initially Consultant General Surgeon and the joint Director of Surgery at Holby City with Connie Beauchamp (Amanda Mealing). He later become sole Director of Surgery and also Chief Executive Officer of Holby Trust. Hanssen has also appeared in Casualty (TV series) for five episodes from episode 24 (Series 25) Duty of Care. Guy Henry departed the show on October 8, 2013 in "Like a Prayer", the final episode of Series 15. On October 30, 2014, it was announced that Henry would return as Hanssen in early 2015.[1]


Holby City[edit]

Hanssen is introduced as the new joint Director of Surgery at Holby City, working alongside Connie Beauchamp (Amanda Mealing). In a meeting with the hospital board, he criticises Connie's plan to purchase a new MRI scanner for the cardiothoracic ward as being self-serving and naïve. He later informs the staff that budget cuts and redundancies will have to be made for the good of the hospital in a fraught economic climate.[2] Hanssen considers making general surgeon Ric Griffin (Hugh Quarshie) redundant, as he is unable to perform clinical duties while undergoing chemotherapy. Connie defends Ric's position, and Hanssen allows her to make the final decision on redundancies, resulting in the dismissal of six nurses.[3] Hanssen later grants Ric an absence of leave to concentrate on his health. Before departing, Ric requests that Hanssen direct his budget cuts away from the general surgery department.[4]

After Connie Beauchamp's resignation from Holby City at the start of 2011, Hanssen becomes the sole Director of Surgery. In March 2011, after attempting to move all Upper-GI surgical cases from Keller ward to St James' Hospital, undermining Ric in the process and causing Ric to form a mutiny with fellow members of staff, Hanssen offers to operate on Ric in a risky bid to remove his terminal cancer.

Henrik's friendship with Sahira Shah (Laila Rouass), who he hires to Darwin Ward in early 2011, is frowned upon by many of his colleagues, who believe that he is favoring her. Sahira is able to make Hanssen see the error of his ways several times and seems to calm him. Her relationship with Greg, another Darwin surgeon, leads to conflict between the pair, and the belief that Hanssen harbors feelings for Sahira. When the affair between Sahira and Greg comes out, Sahira leaves the hospital, and it is revealed Hanssen feels like Sahira is a daughter to him and is distraught by her departure.

Serena Campbell (Catherine Russell) is hired as a new consultant on Keller Ward, and Hanssen finds himself trapped between her and Ric for several episodes. Later on Hanssen agrees with Serena's non-referral scheme and decides to pilot it. When Hanssen's decision costs a patient his life, the patient's unstable son takes Hanssen hostage; however, the scenario makes Hanssen realize that the NHS' current system is wrong and he campaigns against it. In the following weeks, the pressure from the board and the doubt cast by his colleagues causes Hanssen to depart Holby suddenly and without notice; Serena, and then Imelda Cousins, takes up the position of temporary Director of Surgery.

Jac Naylor (Rosie Marcel) tracks Hanssen to Sweden, where he reunites with his father on his deathbed. He agrees to return to Holby, to Serena's anguish, and quiets the board by making Serena his deputy.

Hanssen becomes close to F1 Tara Lo when he discovers she is practicing with a brain tumour, he warns her that if any growth occurs in the tumour she will stop practicing with immediate effect, Tara later begins to notice signs of growth but keeps it a secret. Hanssen organises CT scans to which she refuses to go to but later her boyfriend Ollie Valentine finds a recent CT she had and informs Hanssen who tries to pull her out of theatre. Later he shows her the scan which confirms a 20% growth and with the support of Hanssen, Tara agrees to surgery to remove a large amount of the tumour but following complications in theatre she is pronounced brain-stem dead leaving Hanssen deeply upset.

The summer of 2013 sees Hanssen mellowing as he returns to the more hands on side of medicine, spending more time treating patients on the wards and developing his working relationships with colleagues. His personal life is where the real revelations will lie, especially when it mixes with his work and leaves everyone looking at him in a new light.

On October 8, 2013, during the last episode of series 15 Like a Prayer, Henrik Hanssen departed Holby General quietly after turning over the role of CEO to Serena Campbell. We leave Hanssen back in his native Sweden where he reconciles with Maja and finally meets his son (Fredrik) and his newborn grandson.

On October 30, 2014, it was announced that Henry would return as Hanssen in early 2015.[5]


In February 2011, Hanssen visits the Emergency Department downstairs (as seen in Casualty), in order to observe the work there and clashes with Clinical Lead Consultant Nick Jordan, prompting Hanssen to instate a new Joint Clinical Lead, in the form of Miriam Turner, Jordan's old mentor.


Henry's casting in Holby City was announced in August 2010. He deemed Hanssen "a bit of a mystery man", sent to the hospital by the Department of Health to make budget cuts. Executive producer Belinda Campbell commented that Henry was a "great asset" to the cast, expanding: "His character will make waves from his very first scene and upset the apple cart of Holby City in more ways than one."[6] Henry shadowed Daren Francis, a surgeon at a North London hospital and Holby City '​s general surgical advisor, as research for the role.[7][8] He described Hanssen as "punctilious, pedantic and passionate about his work", but with a dry sense of humour, essential for his rivalry of Connie.[9] He explained that Hanssen is not afraid of making enemies and relishes his Machiavellian tendencies, attributing his fractious relationship with Connie to their mutual God complexes and arrogance. Henry considers Hanssen willing to goad people "to go out of their depth",[10] with an ability to frequently "wrong-foot" others.[7] What's on TV deemed Hanssen "Holby '​s own George Osbourne".[11]

Hanssen was initially presented as an "unknown quantity", including to Henry, who knew little of his character's backstory. In an interview with TV Choice, Henry stated that he believed Hanssen to have come from a "rather unfortunate background". He was sent from Sweden to attend public school in Britain, possibly following the death of his mother, resulting in him becoming "a little more pedantic and English than the English." As of October 2010, his family and love-life had not been decided upon, but it was suggested to Henry that while Hanssen was at medical school, he entered a relationship which did not work out and had not had a romance since. Henry commented that it was possible Hanssen was gay or bisexual, and that an upcoming storyline with a younger female mentee may involve unrequited love.[7] In November 2010, media entertainment website Digital Spy announced that Laila Rouass had been cast as Sahira Shah, a surgeon who shares a "dark history" with Hanssen, who has guided her career.[12]


Hanssen's initial appearances received positive reviews from critics. The Daily Mirror '​s Jane Simon commended Henry's debut, writing that he was "off to a head-start, carrying off the haughty, brisk arrogance of a top consultant."[13] What's on TV similarly commented that "Henry has a ball playing Holby '​s new top dog, stealing all the best lines as he adds a wonderful slice of cutting humour to proceedings."[14] Another positive review of Hanssen came from Becky Jones of the Leicester Mercury, who deemed him "the best thing about the programme", with all of the best lines.[15] Rebecca Jordan of OntheBox enjoyed Henry's "sarcastic yet strangely affable" character, comparing him to Gregory House for his ability to diagnose patients "nearly as fast as he distributes withering one-liners." Jordan pinpointed Hanssen's appeal as being the "much-needed humour" he brought to the series, as well as the dynamic between Hanssen and Connie, writing that "the volatile rapport between him and Connie is thoroughly engaging and leaves little doubt in our minds that he will quickly become an exciting addition to the show."[16] What's on TV selected the episode "The Short Straw" as the "Top TV" choice of the day, commenting that "some of the script is a little heavy-handed, but Guy Henry as panto-esque axeman Henrik is particularly good fun".[17] Sarah Ellis writing for Inside Soap said "He's great – but I'm still very glad that he's not my boss!"[18]

In April 2011, The Guardian '​s Daniel Maier wrote that Hanssen was "the best thing about Holby". Maier observed that "he is unerringly calm and logical and as such represents the voice of the viewer when irrational behaviour threatens to glibly generate plot. Continuing drama is nothing without secrets, unkeepable promises, anger and jealousy and yet Hanssen unerringly roots these out and placidly advises his charges to get on with the job. He's pure quiet efficiency gold when he should be dramatic poison."[19]


  1. ^ http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/soaps/s19/holby-city/news/a606740/holby-city-henrik-hanssen-oliver-valentine-essie-harrison-to-return.html#~oUaP8UrQFhCW9h
  2. ^ Sarah O'Gorman (director), Justin Young (writer) (19 October 2010). "Shifts". Holby City. Series 13. Episode 1. BBC. BBC One.
  3. ^ Sarah O'Gorman (director), David Lawrence (writer) (26 October 2010). "The Short Straw". Holby City. Series 13. Episode 2. BBC. BBC One.
  4. ^ Sean Glynn (director), Martha Hillier (writer) (2 November 2010). "Tough, Love". Holby City. Series 13. Episode 3. BBC. BBC One.
  5. ^ http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/soaps/s19/holby-city/news/a606740/holby-city-henrik-hanssen-oliver-valentine-essie-harrison-to-return.html#~oUaP8UrQFhCW9h
  6. ^ "Harry Potter actor Guy Henry joins Holby". What's on TV. IPC Media. 16 August 2010. Retrieved 7 November 2010. 
  7. ^ a b c "Guy Henry, Holby City". TV Choice. H Bauer Publishing. 12 October 2010. Retrieved 7 November 2010. 
  8. ^ "My Practice: Mr Daren Francis, MD, FRCS (Gen Surg)". www.darenfrancis.co.uk. Mr Daren Francis. Retrieved 7 November 2010. 
  9. ^ Kilkelly, Daniel (16 August 2010). "Guy Henry joins 'Holby City' cast". Digital Spy. Hachette Filipacchi UK. Retrieved 7 November 2010. 
  10. ^ "Meet Holby's new Mr Nasty - Guy Henry". What's on TV. IPC Media. 15 October 2010. Retrieved 7 November 2010. 
  11. ^ "Holby City". What's on TV. IPC Media. 23 November 2010. Archived from the original on 23 November 2010. Retrieved 23 November 2010. 
  12. ^ Kilkelly, Daniel (7 November 2010). "Laila Rouass joins 'Holby City'". Digital Spy. Hachette Filipacchi UK. Retrieved 7 November 2010. 
  13. ^ Simon, Jane (19 October 2010). "Holby City". Mirror.co.uk. Trinity Mirror. Archived from the original on 19 October 2010. Retrieved 19 October 2010. 
  14. ^ "Holby City". 19 October 2010. Archived from the original on 19 October 2010. Retrieved 19 October 2010. 
  15. ^ Jones, Becky (20 October 2010). "It's a hospital pass for doctors at Holby as new boss causes a stir". This is Leicestershire. Northcliffe Media. Retrieved 20 October 2010. 
  16. ^ Jordan, Rebecca (19 October 2010). "Holby City Review: HD Good. Holby’s House Better". OntheBox. Media Corporation plc. Retrieved 19 October 2010. 
  17. ^ "Holby City". What's on TV. IPC Media. 26 October 2010. Archived from the original on 26 October 2010. Retrieved 26 October 2010. 
  18. ^ Ellis, Sarah (22 March 2010). "Soap Box". Inside Soap (Hachette Filipacchi UK) (12): 48–9. 
  19. ^ Maier, Daniel (30 April 2011). "Daniel Maier's World of lather". guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 30 April 2011. 

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