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James Anderson has spoken about his departure from Holby City after four years playing Dr Oliver Valentine.

In Tuesday night’s episode of the BBC medical drama, viewers saw the troubled doctor walk away from Holby to start a new life for himself, after months of anguish following the death of his wife Tara Lo.

James says he was pleased with the circumstances surrounding Oliver’s exit. He told whatsontv.co.uk: “I think it was important to see Oliver go out, not necessarily on a high, but to see him go out on his own terms and with something intact of himself and knowing where he has to go emotionally. I spent over four years playing Ollie, so I would have been devastated if there wasn’t some kind of hope for him.

“I’d grown to really love Oliver and got to know this character, that started to have a life of his own, so to one day just ‘finish’ playing him was a very odd feeling.”

James also recalled his first day on set as Oliver four years ago. “I remember my first day when I got to put on a costume and walk around the Holby set that’s just so realistic. I don’t want to say that the highlight came on day one, then it was all downhill, it’s just an amazing moment where I thought, this is home for me.”

The actor, who will appear in an upcoming Poirot, said he’s grateful to the opportunities Holby has given him.

“It was an incredibly important job because, not only is the show seen by millions of people, I was also able to work every week, and so many actors just don’t have that privilege. I was so aware it was a privilege because you get to work with incredible talent on and off screen all the time, so I miss that so terribly.”

He added: “I’ll definitely miss the people, it’s a whole unit of weird and wonderful sorts that I absolutely will miss. Working on Holby has been so special.”

Holby City continues Tuesdays at 8pm on BBC1.