As they both prepare to leave Holby, Patsy Kensit (Faye) and Amanda Mealing (Connie) tell us how Strictly, Davina McCall and their kids have helped them move on…

How do you feel about leaving?
Amanda:
“It’s upsetting but thrilling. As a teenager, I’d be the last to leave the party and then the next morning I’d think, ‘Oh my God, why didn’t I go earlier!’ Now I leave at a dignified hour and don’t have regrets. Everyone’s having such a good time on Holby, but that’s why it’s the best moment to go.”
Patsy: “I’m so honoured to have been on the show, but four years was long enough. It really is a gruelling schedule.”

What about your storylines leading up to the departures?
Patsy
: “It’s a great story, but it was very alien for me to play because Faye is really struggling with her baby, but I’m the most maternal person ever. My kids are my life and I can’t imagine not wanting to do everything for them.”
Connie: “The only thing I told the writers was that I didn’t want Connie to leave because of a man – she’s too independent for that. We’ve filmed a fitting exit for her and the door is open.”

What about your final scenes?
Amanda: “I filmed with Paul Bradley, who plays Elliott. We didn’t manage one take without falling apart – even the crew were in floods of tears. It was lovely though, because I didn’t know that my children were there. On my last take I heard these little feet come in and they both shouted ‘Cut!’ for my last scene – that helped a lot.”

What about your leaving party?
Patsy: “It was great. They show clips of you from over the years and make speeches – I was crying my eyes out! If I hadn’t had Strictly Come Dancing to do I would have fallen apart completely.”
Amanda: “I couldn’t face mine! I got so upset at the thought of leaving that I didn’t go to my own party. After I left, I cried every day for about three weeks, but Davina McCall helped me. She was brilliant because she’d just finished Big Brother and had gone through it herself.”

Have you known each other long?
Amanda: “Patsy and I have been friends for a long time and because we know each other so well, she can spot if I’m having a tough day or vice versa. It’s that understanding that you can only have with someone you’ve known for a long time.”

is there anything you won’t miss?
Patsy: “The medical terminology. I absolutely won’t miss that! The writers learned very quickly that to give me anything too advanced was a waste of time. I even had trouble saying the word ‘anesthetic!'”

What’s next for you both?
Patsy: “I’m going on holiday with my boys and I can’t wait. When the Strictly tour finishes we’re going straight to the Universal park in Florida where you spend all day walking! I’ve snuck in a beach holiday on the way home though!”
Amanda: “This year I’m going completely overboard for Christmas – I’m so excited! I’ve got a lovely big tree out the back and I’m going to keep adding lights till it blows!”