Holby’s Catherine Russell: ‘Why Serena’s so scary’

Holby City’s fierce new consultant Serena Campbell shows her softer side this week, when she agrees to help Chrissie with a nasty injury case in AAU. But actress Catherine Russell says Chrissie shouldn’t be fooled by Serena’s kindness…

Serena isn’t making many friends at Holby City by insisting AAU must not refer patients to Keller ward, is she?!

“Serena has absolutely no doubts that she’s right, but it has caused problems. I think you’ll see a very different side to her when she has a crisis of confidence due to a referral system she put in place to save her own backside.”

But Serena backs down for the first time this week after initially refusing to admit a patient Chrissie tries to bring up to Keller. Can you tell us more?

“Serena is about to get into the lift and sees a patient that she assumes is from AAU. A patient comes onto AAU with a de-gloving injury on her leg – which basically means all the flesh has been removed, as if you were taking off a glove. The patient, Emily, is a farmer and a wall collapsed on her, but Serena’s not interested and refuses to be drawn into conversation with Chrissie and sends the patient back to AAU.”

So how does Chrissie persuade Serena to back down?

“Chrissie knows the history of this girl, Emily – which Serena doesn’t – and shows her the photographs of the injury. Serena can’t resist the challenge because she specialises in this area of surgery. Keller’s running smoothly, but it’s probably a bit dull and up comes this opportunity and she knows she’s the only one in the hospital who can help. However, Serena being Serena she insists on doing the operation on AAU.”

Emily’s injuries sound gory, so what were those scenes like to film?

“The prosthetics were so good, but so ghastly that, in the end, they couldn’t show it. They worked on the prosthetics for weeks. It’s times like this I wish we were post-watershed because we had to cover most of it up. It would have put people off their tea I think.”

Doesn’t Serena end up asking Chrissie to assist her during the op?

“Yes, rather than being cross or put out by the fact that Chrissie has pushed for this procedure, she’s impressed and realises that she is an excellent nurse and decides she wants her on Keller. She also recognises that Chrissie’s prepared to stand up to authority and therefore probably better to have her close by where she’s in eye view than too far away.”

What do you think of Serena’s general manner? She’s a bit cold-hearted, don’t you think?

“Her people skills are pretty good when they need to be. Her bedside manners can be excellent, but she doesn’t really care what people think about her. That’s why she’s so scary I think. The rest of us go through life thinking, ‘Please like me, please like me’. Serena Campbell does not give a damn whether you like her or not!”