Hugh Quarshie reveals the lifeline thrown to Ric by his nemesis, Hanssen, in BBC1’s Holby City (Tuesday, BBC1)…

Things look bad for Ric this week, when he learns his cancer treatment hasn’t reduced the size of his tumour. How does Ric take the news?
“He tries to keep it to himself. He’s essentially been told that he’s facing death now – his main focus is to leave a legacy behind, at the hospital, and for his family.”

Ric turns rebel when he operates on a pregnant patient he’s forbidden to treat. Is this a reaction to his own prognosis?
“Yes. He doesn’t want to do what his boss, Henrik Hanssen tells him he must do, Ric wants to do what he feels is right. He takes on Hanssen, which is why the next twist is a real surprise.”

He’s taken aback by an offer from Hanssen?
“Yes. Hanssen has learnt about Ric’s tumour and he offers to perform an operation that nobody else will – to attempt to remove the tumour from his liver. It’s a high-risk procedure and Ric could easily die in theatre.”

Is Ric hesitant to undergo the operation?
“His daughter, Jess, is pregnant and he wants to see his grandchild. But at the same time, if it is a success, it could save his life.”

How has playing Ric’s cancer affected you personally?
“I honestly don’t know how a person gets their head around the idea that death is approaching them. I lost my friend, the actor Pete Postlethwaite earlier this year. If I am honest we were all grateful that he lived as long as he did – he packed so much into his life. But how would you know how best to use the time you have left?”