Holby’s James: ‘Ollie’s in an emotional black hole’

Still reeling from Tara’s death, Oliver Valentine wants someone to blame at Holby. And Elliot Hope is in the firing line, as James Anderson reveals…

It’s been a week since Tara’s death. How is Ollie coping?
“Not well at all. At first he’s completely numbed by it. It all happened very quickly and, basically, he just falls apart. Ollie cuts himself off from everyone and retreats into himself, but he’s still trying to do the same job at Holby, surrounded by the same people. So he can’t escape Tara or any of that world when it’s coming in on him.”

Elliot (Paul Bradley) is still shaken by Ollie’s revelation last week that he blames him for Tara’s death. Why does he blame the senior professor?
“Ollie feels Elliot was instrumental in pushing Tara to have surgery. Because he’s in an emotional black hole, Ollie deals with things by lashing out.”

Ollie agrees to help Elliot treat patient Adam but warns him to stay out of his personal life…
“Ollie’s behaving in this way because he knows Elliot will take it. Ollie’s always seen Elliot as a father figure, like Elliot’s treated Ollie like a son – and people always hurt the ones they love.”

There’s friction later when Ollie wants to tell patient Adam, who thinks his heart is evil, that the donor was a good person. But Elliot won’t break the rules. Why is Ollie adamant?
“Ollie’s had enough of all the nonsense. He doesn’t just want to tell patients they’re going to be OK – he’s had enough of what he sees as all the falseness. He thinks Adam deserves the truth!”

Later, Elliot tries to make peace with Ollie again, but he’s clearly not interested. Will he ever stop blaming Elliot?
“Oliver has to get to that place, but it doesn’t happen overnight. It’s interesting to see how the father-son bond that draws these characters together is what’s forcing them apart.”

What’s it been like working with Paul Bradley on this storyline?
“Working with Paul has been one of the most enjoyable things I’ve done since being at Holby. He’s a consummate professional and a fantastic actor on screen while, off screen, he’s just a riot! You hear about ‘egos’ in this business, but Paul doesn’t have an ounce of ego about him. If I can be like that in my own life I will really try.”

Holby City continues on Tuesdays at 8pm on BBC1

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