Holby City (series 2)

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Holby City (series 2)
Country of originUnited Kingdom
No. of episodes16
Original networkBBC One
Original release25 November 1999 (1999-11-25) –
9 March 2000 (2000-03-09)
Series chronology
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The second series of the British medical drama television series Holby City commenced airing in the United Kingdom on BBC One on 25 November 1999, and concluded on 9 March 2000.


Following its first series run of nine 50 minute episodes, the second series of Holby City ran for an extended 16 hour-long episodes. The series aired on BBC One, and moved from Tuesdays to Thursday nights.[1]


"When Chicago Hope did the same story-line, with a doctor scratched by an AIDS-infected monkey, it was tense, moving, and had many repercussions. In Holby it was simply bland, and acted out with those inane stares that 'catalogue acting' men in sweaters employ when looking at their watches or sets of golf clubs.

Jaci Stephen of the Daily Mail, contrasting similar HIV storylines on Holby City and Chicago Hope.[2]

On 22 November 1999, three days before the series première, then director of Channel 4 Gub Neal called for the BBC to cease production of its drama programmes. Neal highlighted Holby City as an example of the station's "safe" programming, denouncing what he perceived to be the abandonment of quality productions in favour of star-led series and "an endless soup of indistinctive programmes".[3] The Daily Mail's Jaci Stephen echoed Gub's concerns, writing that the excessive salaries paid to star-names had resulted in a dilution of overall talent, and the rise of "shallow, cliche-ridden drama, the success of which is dependent upon little more than an undemanding audience's lack of intellectual ambition." Stephens wrote that: "Nowhere is this more obvious than in Holby City, where doctors and nurses outnumber patients by about 25 to one." She criticised the storyline which saw Kirstie potentially infected with HIV following a needle stick injury, contrasting it negatively to similar storyline on Chicago Hope. Stephens concluded that the series was just "sentimental, simplistic tosh."[2]

Reviewing "Search for the Hero", The Guardian's Nancy Banks-Smith commented on the series' casting: "I had the uneasy sensation that I had met half these people before in assorted soap operas. If I am having an emergency Caesarean in economy class, the last person I want to see at the other end of the cleverly improvised coathanger is Cindy's fancy man from EastEnders."[4] Fellow Guardian critic Adam Sweeting criticised the series' writing, observing: "In Holby, no cliché need ever fear being denied admittance."[5] Natasha Joffe too was critical of the series' writing, opining that Holby City seemed "a bit soggy" following Nick's departure, and criticising the "Casualty-esque love of didactic plot mirroring" between the doctor and patient storylines.[6]

By February 2000, Holby City had become the only new drama series under BBC One controller Peter Salmon to average more than 9 million viewers.[7] The series saw Griffin win the "Best Actress" award at the 2000 Ethnic Multicultural Media Awards for her role as Jasmine.[8]


The series featured an ensemble cast of characters in the medical profession. Returning from the show's first series were George Irving as consultant Anton Meyer, Michael French and Dawn McDaniel as registrars Nick Jordan and Kirstie Collins, Lisa Faulkner as senior house officer Victoria Merrick, Sarah Preston and Angela Griffin as ward sisters Karen Newburn and Jasmine Hopkins, Nicola Stephenson as nurse Julie Fitzjohn, and Ian Curtis as senior staff nurse Ray Sykes. The series also introduced Clive Mantle as general surgical consultant Mike Barratt, Jan Pearson as ward sister Kath Shaughnessy, Jeremy Edwards as Kath's son, healthcare assistant Danny Shaughnessy, and Thusitha Jayasundera as general surgical registrar Tash Bandara.[9] Mantle had previously played the same character in Casualty.[6] French departed from the show during the course of the series,[10] and Preston and Curtis did not return for series three.[11] French attributed his departure to the programme becoming "uninteresting and formulaic", commenting: "There should be drama on television which is constantly challenging the audience. Not what the big bosses think will bring in the ratings. Someone has got to be brave and revolutionary."[12] The series also featured a number of guest-stars in patient roles, including Paul Copley and Annette Badland.[2]


No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date Viewers
(millions) [13]
101"Search for the Hero"Michael Owen MorrisJoe Turner25 November 1999 (1999-11-25)8.73
After learning that Darwin Ward is going to be split in half to accommodate a new general surgery ward, cardiothoracic consultant Anton Meyer and registrar Nick Jordan return early from a medical conference in Florida. On the flight back to Holby, Eleri (Annette Badland), the woman Nick is sitting next to, experiences a severe bleed. Nick and Meyer discover that she is seven months pregnant, and have to perform a Caesarean in order to stop the bleed. At the hospital, SHO Victoria Merrick flirts with new healthcare assistant Danny Shaughnessy, and registrar Kirstie Collins has a HIV scare when senior staff nurse Ray Sykes accidentally sticks her with a needle which has been used on a HIV positive patient. Kirstie takes a HIV test, which comes back negative. Ward sister Jasmine Hopkins returns to work following her stabbing. She tells her friend, staff nurse Julie Fitzjohn, that she wants an abortion. Julie attempts to deter her, and tells Jasmine's ex-fiance Carl (Alex Avery) about Jasmine's pregnancy. He angrily confronts Jasmine, who in turn is furious with Julie for telling him. Jasmine accuses Julie of wanting to take her job, before collapsing in pain. Nick and Meyer arrive back at the hospital with Elerie. Despite their ordeal, Meyer insists that Nick takes part in a hospital blood drive, determined that Darwin staff will donate more than the general surgery staff.
112"Puppy Love"Michael Owen MorrisLen Collin2 December 1999 (1999-12-02)8.23
Jasmine experiences a bleed and is admitted as a patient. She and Julie make up, and Julie stays with her as Jasmine miscarries her baby. Ward Sister Karen Newburn visits Jasmine, who asks her if she and Nick, her estranged husband, ever considered having children. Karen admits that the reason she and Nick split up was not his infidelity, as suspected amongst the staff, but because they could not conceive a child. When Ray remarks on the division of Darwin Ward, Karen proposes him as a union representative, seconded by Julie. Following his treatment of a patient on board a plane in "Search for the Hero", Nick is given two complimentary tickets to Paris and a hotel for the weekend by the airline. He asks both Kirstie and Victoria to accompany him, and is turned down each time. Karen is aware that she is his third choice, so strings him along when he asks her, pretending to agree before revealing she will actually be spending the weekend in Rome with her boyfriend Dave.
123"Destination Unknown"Jim GoddardSteve Bennett9 December 1999 (1999-12-09)8.13
134"You Can Choose Your Friends"Jim GoddardCarol Noble16 December 1999 (1999-12-16)7.45
145"Knife Edge"Jamie AnnettAl Hunter Ashton23 December 1999 (1999-12-23)8.35
156"Tidings of Comfort and Joy"Jamie AnnettTony McHale30 December 1999 (1999-12-30)9.64
167"Chasing the Dragon"Julie EdwardsSam Wheats7 January 2000 (2000-01-07)8.63
178"A Marriage of Convenience"Julie EdwardsLen Collin13 January 2000 (2000-01-13)10.08
189"A Life Worth Saving"Jamie AnnettAl Hunter Ashton20 January 2000 (2000-01-20)8.52
1910"Staying Out"Jamie AnnettMaurice Bessman27 January 2000 (2000-01-27)9.47
2011"Trust"Jim GoddardNiall Leonard3 February 2000 (2000-02-03)9.67
2112"Faith"Jim GoddardAl Hunter Ashton10 February 2000 (2000-02-10)9.98
2213"Letting Go"Kay PatrickPaul Wheeler17 February 2000 (2000-02-17)9.35
2314"Dispossessed"Kay PatrickDanny Miller24 February 2000 (2000-02-24)9.51
2415"Taking It on the Chin"Michael Owen MorrisJeff Povey2 March 2000 (2000-03-02)9.25
2516"Into the Woods"Michael Owen MorrisJeff Povey9 March 2000 (2000-03-09)8.67


  1. ^ "Holby City". British Film Institute. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
  2. ^ a b c Stephen, Jaci (28 November 1999). "Yet another casualty of soap star syndrome". Daily Mail. Associated Newspapers. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
  3. ^ Gibson, Janine (22 November 1999). "Channel 4 chief tells BBC to stop making drama". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 24 April 2010.
  4. ^ Banks-Smith, Nancy (26 November 1999). "It's a dirty job, but..." The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 24 April 2010.
  5. ^ Adam Sweeting (11 February 2000). "Death's rich pageant". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 24 April 2010.
  6. ^ a b Joffe, Natasha (3 March 2000). "A stranger in paradise". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 24 April 2010.
  7. ^ Dugdale, John (28 February 2000). "Buddy, can you spare £200m?". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 24 April 2010.
  8. ^ Wells, Matt (23 May 2000). "Multiculture awards honour Mandela, Ali G and Guardian". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 24 April 2010.
  9. ^ "Holby City – Year by Year – 1999 Series 1 & 2". BBC Online. Retrieved 23 April 2010.
  10. ^ "Holby City – Year by Year – 2000 Series 2 & 3". BBC Online. Retrieved 23 April 2010.
  11. ^ "Holby City – Year by Year – 2001 Series 3 & 4". BBC Online. Retrieved 23 April 2010.
  12. ^ Ahmed, Kamal (27 November 1999). "Causing a scene". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 24 April 2010.
  13. ^ "Weekly Top 30 Programmes: Week Ending 28 Nov 1999–12 Mar 2000". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 8 November 2009.

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