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After a stressful day, Holby City surgeon Serena Campbell turns to drink, as actress Catherine Russell explains…

Serena knows it’s going to be one of those days when she turns up late for work at Holby (BBC1, Tuesday)…

“Oh yes, it’s very stressful. Poor Serena. She’s late, her mobile keeps ringing then out of the blue, this kid comes up and squirts her with a water pistol! So it’s not a good start to Serena’s day and it just goes from bad to worse.”

Holby boss Guy Self then asks Serena to file a report earlier than she expected. Is she constantly feeling like she has to prove herself to him?

“Well, it is a very tricky relationship and I think she’s still smarting from the fact that he’s got the job that should have been hers. I don’t think she feels she needs to prove herself to him, but Serena’s a perfectionist, so she wants to show him she’s got all bases covered.”

But then Serena’s mother, Adrienne, turns up. What brings her to Holby?

“There’s nothing wrong with Serena’s mum, she just turns up for no reason. Adrienne’s extremely irritating, especially when she uses Serena’s laptop and loses the report she’s been struggling to work on for Guy. Serena shows great self control in her response – I’m not sure I’d have been quite so forgiving.”

Meanwhile, Serena’s trying to treat patient Lennie, who’s broken his shoulder, and has come to the hospital with his son, Ben. What’s their story?

“Lennie’s marriage to Ben’s mum hasn’t worked out and what’s particularly sad in this case is that Lennie’s bond with Ben is so strong. The young lad is trapped in the middle of their war and all he wants is for mum and dad to be together again. As this story develops, it all goes a bit pear-shaped.”

Does Serena feel beaten by the day’s events?

“I think this is actually one of the lowest points you’ll ever see with Serena. It’s a combination of her mum being there, and feeling responsible for her, and what happens with Lennie and Ben. It’s been an awfully bad day and, on top of the strains, the guilt, the anxiety and the worry, she’s just shattered.”

Serena drowns her sorrows in a bottle of wine – is this the beginning of a downward spiral?

“Serena’s always enjoyed a drink and I’ve always thought she could hold her liquor. I don’t know if real doctors turn to booze at times of stress – but they certainly seem to on Holby!”