With so much drama at Holby City in recent weeks, who better to come and sort things out than consultant Serena Campbell. Actress Catherine Russell reveals why she's returning to the role - and why she'll NEVER do Strictly...

With the hospital still in crisis, Holby City favourite Serena Campbell returns to save the day, as Catherine Russell reveals…

What brings Serena back to Holby?

“Following the hospital shooting and the death of his son, Holby boss Hanssen isn’t in a good place emotionally, so he’s asked Serena if she’ll come back as Acting CEO, while he goes away and sorts himself out. Meanwhile, consultant Ric is in prison, medic Oliver still has a bullet in his head and doctors Raf and Jasmine are dead. For Serena, it’s peculiar, weird and sad walking back into a working environment that’s completely changed…”

So is Serena happy at all to be back?

“She’s very reluctant and is doing it out of loyalty to the hospital and the people in it. While she’s been away, her ambitions have changed and her view of the world has changed, following the death of her daughter Elinor. Serena’s heart and mind are with her partner Bernie (Jemma Redgrave), who’s setting up a new trauma unit in Nairobi. That’s where Serena really wants to be.”

holby bernie serena

Serena with trauma surgeon Bernie Wolfe (Jemma Redgrave) when they were last at Holby together

She gets a shock when colleague Ric Griffin (Hugh Quarshie) – currently in prison awaiting trial for medical manslaughter – is brought onto AAU. What’s wrong with him?

“Ric’s been stabbed with a screwdriver whilst in prison. His injuries don’t seem too serious but it soon transpires he’s been getting a repeated pummelling from various inmates while inside, which is a huge concern for Serena. Next to Bernie and her nephew Jason, Ric is very high up on the list of people Serena really cares about.”

She makes it her mission to find out what Ric was up to the day he left his patient, Elaine Warren, unattended and she died…

“There’s a bit of detective work going on between Serena and AAU nurse Donna (Jaye Jacobs) to establish why Ric left the ward that day and why he’s refusing to reveal what he was doing. He claims he left to tend to a family emergency but that story doesn’t quite hold water, as Serena discovers. So Serena and Donna form an alliance to try and determine why Ric left the ward, why he was gone for three hours and why he’s being so cagey about it!”

Holby City Serena Donna Ric

Serena and Donna are determined to get the bottom of what’s going on with Ric…

So is she back at Holby for good?

“Serena claims she’s only back temporarily but then, when she sees how much the hospital needs her, she feels that going back to Nairobi would be selfish. Serena misses Bernie dreadfully but she realises Holby is where she should be.”

Will we see the return of ‘Berena’?

“I’m pleased to say the answer to that is yes. All I know and all I’m allowed to tell you is that Jemma will be coming back to film a couple of episodes in the spring. I was delighted to be part of what is a rather important storyline in so much as representation of lesbian and bi-sexual women of a certain age on television just isn’t there. It was a marvellous thing to do, so to just drop that storyline would have been a mistake.”

Why did you leave Holby last year? And why’s now the right time for you to return?

“I left because I felt I needed to go and pretend to be someone else for a bit. So I did a play, What The Butler Saw, which scratched that itch, then I went travelling around Europe in a camper van with my husband for three months. But I happily trotted back to Holby – it’s a lovely place to work.”

We saw you supporting your former Holby co-star Joe McFadden when he took part in last year’s Strictly Come Dancing. Is it a show you’d ever do?

“Are you mad? No, not in a million years! I’d do MasterChef because I love cooking, I love food and I’d love to improve and I think MasterChef would do that for me. I think Strictly would probably kill me. Joe’s fit, slim and at least 10 years younger than me. I have the knees of a 90-year-old and would fall over and make a fool of myself. So, no, I’ll NEVER do Strictly.”

Holby City continues Tuesdays at 8pm on BBC1.