Frieda Petrenko

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Frieda Petrenko
Holby City character
Frieda Petrenko.jpg
Olga Fedori as Frieda Petrenko
First appearance "Together Alone"
17 February 2010
Last appearance "At First I Was Afraid"
22 September 2015
Portrayed by Olga Fedori
Duration 2010–12, 2015
Occupation Ward Sister (2010–11)
Foundation Training Year 1 (2011–12)
Foundation Training Year 2 (2012)

Frieda Petrenko is a fictional character from the BBC medical drama Holby City, played by Olga Fedori. She made her first appearance during the twelfth series episode "Together Alone", which was broadcast on 17 February 2010. She departed on 15 May 2012, during the fourteenth series episode "Wolf's Clothing". Petrenko made a guest appearance in series 17 as a patient, diagnosed with tuberculosis, in scenes which aired on 22 September 2015.


Introduced as the cardiothoracic surgery ward's night shift sister, Frieda transfers to day shifts on the Acute Assessment Unit to cover the maternity leave of sister Chrissie Williams (Tina Hobley). Frieda has an initially antagonistic relationship with F2 doctor Penny Valentine (Emma Catherwood). When Penny learns that Frieda was a qualified doctor in her home country, Ukraine, she encourages her to retrain in the UK. Frieda resists the suggestion, but after being made redundant and having her diagnostic ability challenged by registrar Antoine Malick (Jimmy Akingbola), decides to apply for an F1 position, which she achieves early in 2011.

Frieda faced many difficulties in her F1 year, including the death of her father, which saw her return to Ukraine in the episode "Damage Control". When Frieda returned to Holby in series 13 episode 43 Walk the Line, she bonded with new colleague, senior nurse Eddi McKee, over their dislike of new F1 Lulu Hutchison, a Daddy's girl who was determined to prove she was a better doctor than Frieda. Frieda overcame this competition when Lulu was transferred to another hospital; but again left Holby to return to Ukraine in series 14 episode 3 "Under the Skin". In a special episode based in Ukraine, "Wise Men", it was revealed that she returned to Ukraine as her former mentor, Lev Teresenko, was ill with a serious heart condition. Whilst there, she was working as waitress at a cafe. Frieda teamed up with consultants Elliot Hope and Michael Spence in order to save Lev. Afterwards Elliot persuaded her to return to Holby.

Frieda's return to Holby in 2012 saw her struggle to adjust to working as a doctor and with new colleague, registrar Luc Hemingway. She was also under pressure to complete her F1 portfolio on time. In episode 16 "Here and Now", Frieda fears that she has failed her F1 rotation when she is summoned to Hanssen's office but is pleased to learn that she received the best score in the region and is now an F2, working on Keller ward. Whilst working on Keller Frieda found herself caught between Dan and Malik who both wanted to supervise her on her first day. Frieda was later assigned the role of mentoring F1 Tara Lo who temporarily came from Darwin to work on Keller; although she found her annoying at first the two eventually built up a good friendship. In series 14 episode 31 Wolf's Clothing, it was revealed that Frieda had been offered a job at St Lukes due to her excellent F1 results, when Malik asks her if she is going to accept it, she throws the number of her potential new boss in the bin and resumes her work. When her clinical Lead Ric Griffin and new consultant Serena Campbell place her in the middle of their feud at the expense of a patient, Frieda decides that enough is enough and leaves the hospital to work for a charity treating patients on the outside of the system.

Frieda is later admitted to the hospital as a patient with TB. She opens up to Elliot and Oliver about blaming herself for her friend's death in Ukraine. She nearly dies and has to have emergency surgery, when Elliot struggles with the procedure, Jac manages to save her life.



Frieda returned during the episode broadcast 22 September 2015.[2] The show's series producer Simon Harper had remained in contact with Fedori.[3] She emailed him to inform him that she wanted to return. Harper was planning Paul Bradley's exit as long-standing character Professor Elliot Hope from the series. He believed that Frieda's return was "brilliant timing" because it was a "treat" for viewers who would be upset by Elliot's departure.[3]


The official Holby City website describes Frieda as "sincere, compassionate, supportive [and] honest", but "self conscious, emotionally closed [and] sarcastic."[1] In 2011, Fedori was short-listed for the "Best Newcomer" award at the National Television Awards for her performance as Frieda.[4] The award was ultimately won by EastEnders's Ricky Norwood. Ian Cullen of Monsters and Critics lamented Fedori's loss, opining that her performance in Holby City is hilarious.[5] Frieda has received critical acclaim, with the Daily Mirror's Jim Shelley naming her the "best character on television".[6] Shelley has included several of her one-liners in his regular "Soundbites of the Week" column, including her excuse: "I saw it in one of your Carry On films. I thought he might like it", delivered after inserting a sunflower into the rectum of a racist patient.[7][8] Fellow Mirror critic Jane Simon has also praised Frieda, deeming her one of the series' most interesting characters. Simon describes her as a "fearless, straight talking [...] super-nurse",[9] enjoying her ability to "liven up the place with her unlikely combination of ghoulish demeanour and slapstick sense of humour."[10] When a 2011 storyline featured Frieda facing redundancy, Simon commented, "we would be gutted if she left. Her friendly scowl is one of the best things about the show."[11]


  1. ^ a b "Frieda Petrenko". BBC Online. Archived from the original on 11 March 2011. Retrieved 25 January 2011. 
  2. ^ "Series 17 - 50. At first I was afraid". Radio Times. Retrieved 13 September 2015. 
  3. ^ a b Kilkelly, Daniel (8 October 2015). "Exclusive: Holby City producer Simon Harper shares story gossip: 'The bitch is back when Jac returns'". Digital Spy. (Hearst Magazines UK). Retrieved 9 October 2015. 
  4. ^ Eames, Tom (3 January 2011). "National TV Awards nominations announced". Digital Spy. Hachette Filipacchi UK. Retrieved 25 January 2011. 
  5. ^ Cullen, Ian (27 January 2011). "Recap: British National Television Awards Results". Monsters and Critics. Retrieved 27 January 2011. 
  6. ^ Shelley, Jim (18 October 2010). "Shelley Vision; Ill-judged comments give show Vex Factor.". Daily Mirror. Trinity Mirror. Retrieved 25 January 2011. 
  7. ^ Shelley, Jim (30 August 2010). "Soundbites of the week". Daily Mirror. Trinity Mirror. Retrieved 25 January 2011. 
  8. ^ Shelley, Jim (9 August 2010). "Soundbites of the week". Daily Mirror. Trinity Mirror. Retrieved 25 January 2011. 
  9. ^ Simon, Jane (9 September 2010). "We love telly; Pick of the Day". The Mirror. Trinity Mirror. Retrieved 25 January 2011. 
  10. ^ Simon, Jane; McIver, Brian (25 August 2010). "Record tv; Pick of the Day". Daily Record. Glasgow, Scotland: Trinity Mirror. Retrieved 25 January 2011. 
  11. ^ Simon, Jane (11 January 2011). "We love telly; Pick of the Day". Daily Mirror. Trinity Mirror. Retrieved 25 January 2011. 

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