Bob Barrett reveals his real life family connections in Holby City

Christmas is a time for family, so Holby City star Bob Barrett was delighted when his real life daughter, Francesca Barrett, was cast as his on-screen daughter in a feel-good Christmassy story on BBC1’s medical drama!

In next week’s Holby City doctor Sasha Levy (Bob Barrett) is shocked when daughter Beka (Francesca Barrett) turns up at the hospital wanting to spend Christmas with him. Is it time for Sasha to open up about his secret battle with depression and reveal he’s living with Jac Naylor (Rosie Marcel), who is supporting him through troubling times?

Here Bob, who plays Holby City’s Sasha Levy, reveals more about life and art imitating each other…

Real life father and daughter Bob and Francesca Barrett as Holby City's Sasha and Beka

Real life father and daughter Bob and Francesca Barrett as Holby City’s Sasha and Beka

Your daughter stars as your screen daughter! Is that strange?

“Yes my real daughter Francesca is playing my [screen] daughter! It’s been wonderful because we have a lifetime of a relationship we can play, and they’re written it so well.”

How did her casting come about?

“Holby said they were bringing Beka Levy back but the actress who played her (Rhean McGee) can’t do it. So I said ‘Can you see my daughter for it please because I’ve a hunch it will really work!’ And she was great – she smashed the audition!”

Sasha and Beka have a difficult relationship at times. How would you describe your real life father-daughter bond?

“It’s amazing because we’re best friends. I know it sounds ridiculous but in life we’ve never had a cross word in 17 years. I’ve never been upset with her and she’s never been angry with me. We have a very easy relationship with each other, so I think this will come across. Weirdly, we had our first ever argument on screen!”

Will Jac Naylor (Rosie Marcel) help heal Levy family wounds before Christmas?

Will Jac Naylor (Rosie Marcel) help heal Levy family wounds before Christmas?

How was it playing these big emotions with each other?

“It felt so weird because we’d never done it in life! What’s great about Holby is the huge history [characters have]. If you look at Sasha and Jac’s relationship – they’ve known each other for nearly ten years now. These relationships have been built over time, and it’s all there. So it’s like that times ten with my daughter!”

Will you be watching the episode with the rest of your family?

“Yes, we’ll all be watching it! We’re a very close family and we’re all actors. All her friends will be watching as well!”

Would you like to see Francesca star in more episodes of Holby City?

“Fingers crossed she could be back but we’ll have to see. She’s got her A Levels in May and June. It’s been amazing working with her. When she found out she was getting paid [to star in Holby] she couldn’t believe it and said she would have done it for free!”

Watch Bob and Francesca Barrett in Holby City on Tuesday 18 December on BBC1 at 8pm.

INTERVIEW BY VICTORIA WILSON