Holby City fans were left in shock on Tuesday night when Dr Isaac Mayfield viciously attacked his boyfriend, fellow medic Dominic Copeland. And the harrowing scenes were certainly tough to film, reveals Marc Elliott...

After months of emotionally abusing his lover Dominic, Isaac’s campaign of torment took a sinister turn on Tuesday night when he viciously beat Dom up. Here, Marc Elliott – aka Isaac – reveals what it was like filming the distressing scenes…

When did you first discover this was going to be a domestic abuse storyline?
“I knew from the beginning that they were probably going to go down that avenue. I was really excited because I haven’t played a nasty bugger before, so it was really fun and exciting to play someone really nasty. But we knew from the off that we were going to go down that route.”

Dom (David Ames) and Isaac’s relationship started off so well – but then cracks started to appear. Why did Isaac start to emotionally abuse Dom?
“Well, Isaac’s a big old sociopath, who’s very good at concealing that side of him by mimicking what he believes to be normal behaviour but, underneath it all, he’s a bit of a psycho, telling lots of lies in order to manipulate Dom. He basically wants to keep him dangling on a string. Basically, Isaac’s reason for wanting to destroy Dom is simply because he can. It’s that twisted.”

Holby City Dominic Isaac

Isaac has been emotionally manipulating lover Dominic for some months now

Why is someone like Dom easy to manipulate?
“Well, Isaac got him at a really bad time because Dom’s bestie, Arthur Digby, had just died. So Isaac got him in his clutches when he was particularly weak, extremely malleable and easy to manipulate. That’s the sort of thing Isaac thrives on because he loves power and exerting his power on others.”

Does it make Isaac really angry when that power gets taken away from him?
“Yes. Any time that Dom, whether intentional or not, had forced Isaac into a position where he hadn’t felt that powerful, like with Hanssen at work, Isaac sort of twisted the knife a bit with him further and further. And then it eventually gets to breaking point, which is when Dom makes Isaac so angry that he lashes out with violence…”

Holby Isaac angry with Dom

Having already stood up to Isaac earlier in the day, Dom reveals he’s going to stay with Zosia – and Isaac gets angry. REALLY angry…

Indeed, fans were left in shock by Tuesday night’s episode, which saw Isaac viciously attack Dom. Why does Isaac make the switch from emotional to physical abuse?
“Up to now it’s all been very emotional and very psychological; it’s just been to wear him down, to erode him, to weaken him, to belittle him, to humiliate him and all of that. But then, when Dom’s at his lowest ebb and he’s got him trapped in this net, he decides that’s not enough and he wants to break him in another way.”

But what is it that makes Isaac react quite so violently?
“Isaac’s losing the game and that’s the one thing he doesn’t like. He doesn’t like losing control, face or the game. And the game in this instance is that he’s not able to manipulate Dom. That’s when the anger boils up in Isaac because Dom’s finally decided: ‘I’m leaving and there’s nothing you can do to stop me.’ Because Isaac can’t think of anything psychologically to make Dom stay, he has to hit him.”

Isaac punches Dom

Consumed with rage, Isaac punches Dom hard in the stomach, causing Dom to fall to the floor in agony

Isaac does a bit more than that! In that particular scene, Isaac punches Dom hard in the stomach, then kicks him when he’s down. It’s quite brutal…
“I know! They did in fact have to edit some of the sounds out afterwards because I was actually kicking David!”

Really?
“Don’t worry, he was alright! He had a cushion against his tummy as he was laying on the ground, so that I could give him a full-on whack. But they did have to take the sound out afterwards because it was a little too aggressive…”

Holby Isaac kicks Dom

Marc reveals that he really had to kick co-star David while filming the challenging scenes

So what was it like filming those scenes with David?
“Oh, that was the one where David and I were standing outside in silence for a bit with our cigarettes, just sort of shell-shocked. Because we had to do it over and over again and, bless poor David, he had to keep falling to the floor. It wasn’t particularly nice filming it.”

Isaac apologises to Dom Holby

Isaac ‘apologises’ to Dom – but was the incident really a one off?

Is what we’ve seen an isolated incident?
“Isaac has to erode Dom until he’s nothing. Then, when there is no more, when Dom finally can’t take any more and has that little bit of strength left to tell Isaac to do one, that’s when the violence starts. And that violence does continue…”

Holby City continues Tuesdays at 8pm on BBC1.