|Holby City character|
Amanda Mealing as Connie Beauchamp in 2008
|First appearance||6x35, "In at the Deep End", 1 June 2004|
|Last appearance||13x11, "Snow Queens", 28 December 2010|
|Created by||Kathleen Hutchison|
|Portrayed by||Amanda Mealing|
|Spinoff(s)||Casualty@Holby City, 2004; 2005
|Occupation||Clinical Lead, Cardiothoracic Surgery (2006-2010)
Medical Director (2004-2008)
Director of Surgery (2010)
Consultant cardiothoracic surgeon
Consultant in Emergency Medicine (2014-)
|Family||William Chase (father) (deceased)
Mrs Chase (mother) (deceased)
Lionel Jackson (great uncle) (deceased)
|Spouse(s)||Michael Beauchamp (divorced)|
|Significant other(s)||Sam Strachan
|Children||Grace Beauchamp (May 1st 2007)|
Constance "Connie" Beauchamp (née Chase) MBBS, FRCS(CTh), FETCS is a fictional character from the BBC medical drama Holby City, portrayed by actress Amanda Mealing. She first appeared in the series six episode "In at the Deep End", broadcast on 1 June 2004, and remained in the programme until its thirteenth series, departing in the 28 December 2010 episode "Snow Queens". Connie's role in Holby City was that of consultant cardiothoracic surgeon on Holby City Hospital's Darwin ward.
Connie was created by Holby City's executive producer Kathleen Hutchison as a cardiothoracic consultant for the show's Darwin ward. She was introduced as a replacement for former Medical Director Tom Campbell-Gore, with actor Denis Lawson having departed from the series two weeks previously, in episode "If You Can't Do the Time...". Actress Amanda Mealing was cast in the role, signing a three-year contract to play Connie and stating: "I quite honestly loved Holby before I got the part, so to come in as Denis Lawson's replacement, is fantastic. He's one of my favourite actors so it's a real treat". The role marked Mealing's screen comeback, with the actress having taken time out from working since having been diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002. As such, she stated that "The Holby setting is very familiar, a home from home". She has described the role of Connie as "a dream come true for any actress".
Deemed "ruthless" by The Times' Emma Cook, "steely" by the Daily Mail's Liz Thomas, and "snooty" and an "egomaniac" by the Daily Mirror's Clare Raymond and Jim Shelley respectively, the BBC describe Connie as "an outstanding surgeon who wields her power just as comfortably in the boardroom as in the bedroom. She gives her all to Holby and expects those around her to do the same, no matter what". Upon being cast in the role, Mealing commented on her character: "She's not averse to using her feminine wiles - and she doesn't believe in wasting time. She has described Connie as: "powerful, feisty, good at what she does; she's not just a wife or mistress, there to serve the story for a man." When asked why Connie so frequently charmed and manipulated her male colleagues during her early storylines, Mealing responded: "Simply - because she can. The idea with this character is to 'break the glass ceiling' as they say - business, medicine, finance, whatever are all dominated by men. The few women who make it through obviously know how to play the game the man's way but have the added advantage of a woman's charm. So we have fun with Connie - a chance to turn the tables". When Connie was seen to set up her husband Michael, resulting in his arrest for manslaughter, Mealing commented that: "Connie can seem like a bit of a caricature of Dynasty's evil Alexis. But there's more to her, I promise!" Considering Connie's series eleven battle with Ric Griffin (Hugh Quarshie) over the position of Director of Surgery, Mealing has assessed: "It’s great to see a woman play the powerful political game, especially a woman like Connie who is essentially a loner – she doesn’t need to make friends and isn’t concerned about who she upsets. She’s a wily old cow – you knock her down, she gets up again." She has stated that she admires Connie as she is "a phenomenal surgeon" and "absolutely driven", adding: "She’s intelligent, strong, independent and articulate and she’s not governed by men.[...] I think women like seeing characters like this – someone who’s her own woman, matching the boys."
In the character's introductory episode, she ends her first day at Holby City Hospital by sleeping with colleague Ric Griffin. Mealing explained: "Ric comes along and thinks 'Hello she's a bit tasty' and when he realises she's also a phenomenal surgeon he's rather smitten with her. They spend the day flirting with each other and then, at the end of the day, she and Griffin get it on in his office - even though she's married! Connie then literally leaves him in his underpants saying 'Oh by the way, I'm your boss, so don't be late tomorrow' - That's the sort of woman she is". Connie goes on to begin a flirtation with her Registrar, Will Curtis, although their initial professional relationship is a strained one, with Mealing offering the insight: "being a military boy, he finds it difficult to take orders from a woman so they have a complete headlock". The two characters later share a kiss, although this is the extent of their romantic involvement. Mealing describes the event as follows: "Connie insists that Will goes along to Ric Griffin's 50th and when he arrives, he finds Connie, usually suited and stern, completely transformed. She pulls out all the stops to seduce him - and he finally gives in. [After they kiss] Connie walks off saying "I just needed to know I could have you". She does it to remind him who's in charge. In someway she does like him but she has to say no for now". Mealing's relationship with co-star Noah Huntley was markedly different off-screen, with the actress explaining: "Sometimes it's hard and I have to apologise for relentlessly going on at him. But at the end of the day we'll go to the bar and it's just us again. We get on really well, which makes the on-screen relationship work".
Connie's relationship with her husband Michael was explored in 2005, when Anthony Calf was cast as her on-screen husband. Although he was introduced as becoming Chairman of the hospital's Board of Directors in order to secure Connie's job, he later turned on his wife after the pair failed to cover-up a patient's death from MRSA within the hospital. Mealing explains: "To her horror, Michael tells the hospital board that it was Connie's decision to fake the death certificate and he insists that she step down as medical director! Connie has always known that the Trust is extremely important to him, but she believed him when he said her job would be safe". During the same episode, Connie walked in on Michael kissing Matron Chrissie Williams. Mealing continues: "As usual Michael tries to get out of the situation by using his remarkable charm. She thought he'd done his worst, but this really is the ultimate betrayal. [...] Connie won't give up without a fight". It was later revealed that Michael had committed fraud, and exposed the hospital to VRSA. Mealing explains of the development: "Connie is horrified when one of their patient dies. And Michael has hidden the results. So despite still loving Michael, she decides the only way to stop him is to set him up. Connie lays a trap by telling Michael she's spoken to the person who's heading the investigation into the first case and that he's willing to be bribed. She then lets Michael unwittingly spill the beans. It breaks Connie's heart. She's watching both Michael's career and their marriage being destroyed".
Connie later had an affair with John Grayson (Benedick Blythe), husband of hospital CEO Jayne Grayson (Stella Gonet). She ended their relationship when she discovered he was Jayne's husband, which Mealing has deemed "the ultimate sacrifice", explaining Connie's motivations as being unwilling to hurt Jayne. She has assessed that: "Connie truly loved John and she thought he loved her, too." When Connie discovers John has moved on and has another lover, "it breaks her heart. She realises what they had wasn’t love... It was sex."
Connie has appeared in several crossover episodes with Holby City's sister show Casualty. The first full length crossover episode between the two, styled Casualty@Holby City was broadcast as a 2004 Christmas special, and saw Connie perform a heart transplant with only emergency power and a rudimentary theatre team, trapped inside a burning building as the hospital exploded. Mealing has commented on the crossover: "I think it was a fantastic idea to show the two dramas in one hospital - as it is supposed to be. Connie and Harry are the bosses of their individual dramas so to see how they work together is great. And yes, it is going to be very dramatic - fantastic Christmas viewing".
Connie arrives at Holby City in episode "In at the Deep End". On her first day, she seduces colleague Ric Griffin, before revealing herself to be his new boss. She clashes with her registrar Will Curtis, and actively belittles and berates him, taking particular offense at the discovery he is a Lord. This soon develops into tormenting him on a more personal level, for instance ordering him to go for a drink with her instead of disciplining him professionally in the episode "Letting Go". The tension between the pair grows, culminating in the episode "Thicker Than Water" when Connie kisses him at Ric's 50th birthday party, before informing him she just needed to know she could have him, and walking away.
Connie makes an enemy of colleague Zubin Khan, who is unimpressed with her leadership skills, and causes unrest by bedding colleague Mubbs Hussein, despite the fact he is at the time attempting to conceive a child with fellow staff member Rosie Sattar. She also finds herself the subject of a lesbian crush, having caught the attention of the midwife she is mentoring, Mickie Hendrie. In episode "A Shock To The Heart", Connie battles to save Will's life after he is impaled on scaffolding. As Will recovers in the intensive-care unit, Connie confesses to Zubin that she has only ever been hard on him in order to encourage him to be the best he can be. Despite Connie's efforts, Will dies, and Connie breaks down in tears as she informs his widow.
Following Will's death, Connie finds her position within the hospital increasingly challenged. An emergency Board meeting is called in episode "It's Kinda Rock and Roll" with the intention of forcing Connie's resignation. However, the meeting ends up being chaired by Connie's own husband, Michael Beauchamp. Between them, Michael and Connie manipulate the situation so that Connie is able to keep her job, and the hospital's Chief Executive who had put forth the motion against her is forced to resign. Connie is upset when Michael begins an affair with Matron Chrissie Williams, and in episode "Doing The Right Thing", uncovers evidence that Michael has committed fraud and unwittingly spread the VRSA through the hospital, resulting in the death of a patient. Michael is subsequently arrested and jailed for manslaughter. Although he is released from prison after serving just ten months, Connie declines to move abroad with him, and they later divorce.
During series nine, it emerges that, following a brief relationship with her registrar Sam Strachan, Connie is pregnant with his child. She into premature labour and she gave daughter prematurely, Grace Beauchamp in episode "Deep Dark Truthful Mirror" – going into premature labour after shocking herself with defibrillator paddles whilst operating on Lola Griffin Grace was born breech and she had a double episiotomy,. Grace is rushed to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Sam is not allowed to attend the birth, and is kept distant from his daughter during her first few weeks of life, with Connie declining to inform him that she intends to turn off their daughter's life support when her ECG results show minimal brain-stem activity. Connie turns off Grace's ventilator. Doctor Ooma Chowdry asks Connie if she wants to hold Grace, but Connie shakes her head. However as Sam holds his daughter he notices Grace is breathing on her own. Grace pulls through, and Connie gradually begins to soften towards Sam and allow him increased access.
In a visit to her home town of Peckham, Connie discovers that her now-deceased mother suffered from depression during Connie's youth, a fact which her father had kept hidden from her. It is revealed that after her mother's death in 1995, Connie became estranged from her father for a period of twelve years. The pair reunite when Connie reveals he has a granddaughter, and encourages him to receive treatment for his pulmonary condition.
In series ten of the show, Connie takes a sabbatical to carry out research in Hamburg. When she returns to Holby, she alienates herself from her staff with her insensitive approach to the aftermath of a crossbow attack which occurred while she was absent, killing a member of the nursing staff. In episode "We Serve All Who Come To Us", Connie ignores several calls from her temporary nanny in favour of performing pioneering surgery. As she leaves the hospital later that evening, she is shocked to be met by the nanny, who informs her Grace has fallen down the stairs and is badly injured Grace is rushed to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. Grace requires surgery for a collapsed lung, and as she recovers, Sam, who has been diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, collapses from septic shock. Both father and daughter go on to make a full recovery.
In episode "Only Believe", Connie applies for the new Director of Surgery position, alongside Ric Griffin and Michael Spence. She agrees with Ric that she will support his application on the understanding he will step down in six months time, and recommend her to assume the role in his place. She also begins a new romance with a man she knows only as "John". Through a series of clandestine meetings, she falls in love with him, and is shocked to discover he is the husband of her colleague Jayne Grayson. When John and Jayne's son Christian is rescued from drowning and Connie is asked to operate on him, she realises she cannot break up the Grayson family, and ends her affair with John.
Throughout the show's eleventh season, Connie battles Ric for the Director of Surgery position when he refuses to step down as agreed. When she discover's Michael's aneatthesist wife Annalese Carson (Anna-Louise Plowman) has attended an operation which resulted in the death of a patient drunk, she reports her to Jayne, leading Annalese to leave Holby General. Jayne reveals to Connie that she suspects John is having an affair. Connie warns John, and discovers he is already seeing someone else. Jayne learns the truth then she observes the two of them rowing, and tells Connie that personal matters ought not affect their working relationship.
Later Connie goes on to apply for Director of Surgery, to replace the resigning Consultant Ric Griffin. After the interview the board are seen deciding who to allocate the vacant job to, and Holby's CEO Jayne Grayson recommends in an unofficial tie breaker General Surgeon Michael Spence over Connie down to the fact she allegedly ruined her marriage with her husband John following their affair. Connie later goes on to resign, but Michael Spence goes on to blackmail Jayne into resigning and she subsequently goes on to quietly leave the building. This offered some much needed persuasion to Connie, who much to the delight of Michael decided to stay at Holby.
Connie soon clashed with Jayne's replacement, Vanessa Lytton, an old friend of Michael's. Vanessa warned Michael that she believed Connie was after his job as Director of Surgery. In the series two-part opener Faye's son Archie died in supicious circumstances leading Joseph to plead with both Connie and Ric to lie to Vanessa, telling her that they had authorised Faye to inject Archie with saline despite the fact that she wasn't officially on duty. When no clear cause of death could be initially determined, Vanessa suspended the pair until the matter was resolved. Following Lauren Minster's confession that she had given Archie an incorrect dose of potassium, the suspension was lifted but it was revealed that Connie had had enough of Holby and taken up a new position at the Trafalgar Hospital in London.
In February 2010, both Michael and Elliot visited Connie and persuaded her to return - but the only way Connie would ever set foot in Holby again is if Vanessa would leave. Connie returned on March 9, 2010 when Elliot begged her help as her replacement Toby Geddes abandoned him during a series of shooting from a recent hostage situation. Connie then decided to stay which resulted with Geddes being fired and Vanessa leaving Holby.
Connie later became joint Director of Surgery with Henrik Hanssen, and was deeply unhappy about making members of staff redundant as part of The Coalition's NHS spending cuts. When Connie discovered that Hanssen was planning to fire Elliot Hope, she did everything in her power to prove to Hanssen that Elliot is a brilliant surgeon and a valuable asset.
In December 2010, Connie's father was rushed into Holby requiring an operation, where she learned that he had Alzheimer's. During the operation, her father nearly died, but he was saved by Elliot and Faye. After the anguish of the redundancies and the situation with her father, Connie decided that she couldn't work at Holby any more, and handed her resignation to Hanssen. Before she left, she told Hanssen that Elliot is a genius, and warned him it would be a big mistake to get rid of him. Connie later met with Jac Naylor, giving her some final tips and fashion advice. She revealed to Jac that she would be working in Brussels two days a week for the European Transplant Board, as well as caring for her father. Upon hearing that Jac had been given the Consultant job, she sent her a bottle of champagne and a pair of her shoes with a card saying "Fill them!".
Discussing public reception of her character, Mealing states that: "The response has been amazing - from men, women and children. I'm often stopped out shopping or dining etc and told 'You're so mean to (whoever).. but we love you!' I think there's a little in all of us that would like to say what we really feel, the way Connie does". Mealing has received several award nominations for the role; ranking seventh 'Best Actress' in the 2004 BBC Drama Awards, being nominated 'Best Actress' in the 2005 TV Quick Awards, and 'Best Newcomer' in the 2005 National TV Awards.
The storyline which saw Connie's infant daughter Grace injured after falling downstairs was received critically by The Guardian's Sarah Dempster, who summarised: "Four years after she first dazzled viewers with her ability to smirk at current hospital expenditure figures while simultaneously patronising sobbing cardio patients, Connie Beauchamp finds herself beset, suddenly and violently, by actual emotion when her daughter falls down the stairs. What follows is a thinly veiled condemnation of working mothers and their potentially deadly desire to occasionally leave the house. Can it really be 1985 already? Apparently so". Fellow Guardian journalist Kathryn Flett deemed the storyline "gripping", and commented that "I empathised hugely with Connie", explaining "although she may be tough and cool and careerist, and therefore have her priorities completely gluteus maximus-over-mammary, she's also a Good Woman who Deserves a Break". Flett's overview of the episode was that: "Despite containing so many mixed messages about whether working mothers should be punished or celebrated it would have needed a dedicated team at Bletchley to decode them all, this was top-notch primetime telly - and a tour-de-force from (working mother of two) Amanda Mealing."
The Daily Mirror's Jim Shelley named Connie his fictional "Egomaniac of the week" during her series ten campaign to become the hospital's Director of Surgery, referring to her response to colleague Elliot Hope's inquiry whether she felt opening up the position up to external candidates was a waste of time: "Of course it is. How many incredible candidates can there be?!" Fellow Mirror writer Jane Simon examined Connie in contrast to the "unpleasant rash of annoyingly wet and whispering male docs" resident in Holby City Hospital in September 2008, noting favourably in comparison Connie's ability to silence an entire room with her "death stare".
“ Thank you, Constance. Anything else you'd like to have a go at me about in front of our colleagues? ”
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