Holby City actor Bob Barrett tells us all about filming the emotionally-charged episode... warning this contains spoilers if you've not seen the episode yet!
Holby City star Bob Barrett reveals what saved Sacha…
When a distraught Sacha headed up onto the hospital roof in tonight’s Holby City, it really looked like he was going to end it all, especially as he said ‘goodbye’ to those closest to him…
Bob Barrett: “I know. And, in his way, he IS saying goodbye to the people who mean the most to him. Sacha immediately goes up onto the roof and heads straight to the edge. There seems to be absolutely no question in his mind that he’s going to jump – he really doesn’t expect anyone to stop him…”
Sacha does decide NOT to jump. Who or what DOES stop him?
BB: “Ric. Ric comes onto the roof and Sacha doesn’t expect that. It’s not immediate but when Sacha’s crying and saying: ‘I’ve had enough, I’m tired, I’m tired’, Ric talks him down. Ric pleads with Sacha to see that there’s another way and eventually Sacha gives into it.”
So, can viewers assume Sacha’s completely out of danger?
BB: “Not necessarily. When Sacha comes down from the edge, I think he’s thinking: ‘OK, I won’t do end it now but I’m still in the same state of mind’. But I think that changes somewhat when he talks to Connor’s friend Tyler at the end of the episode and when Tyler asks him to be his doctor. There’s a moment there where Sacha’s shaken out of it and thinks he can move on with his life.”
Were you really up on the rooftop?
“Yes! When the producers told me what we were going to be doing I had to warn them that I suffer with terrible vertigo! Initially it was bloody terrifying but, once I was on the edge, and I could look out onto the horizon, I thought: ‘I’m OK up here, actually, I don’t feel too bad.’ Then, after a few takes, I got blasé about it and looked down – but the second I did that I almost fainted!”
In a way, though, did being genuinely terrified help with playing out the scenes?
“Well, yeah, because I just thought: ‘While I’m on the ledge, I’m Sacha, not Bob’. I think a little bit of that paid off and I felt OK in myself.”
Surely you weren’t just stood on the edge of the roof, though…
“No, I had a harness on and a man holding onto me. He was like: ‘Don’t worry about it, mate, I’m here, I’m looking after you’. I thought: ‘Thank God!’ He was very reassuring. But everyone was so amazing on the day; the crew, the director, everyone looked after me, so I felt very supported… literally!”
Why do you think it’s important for a show like Holby City to raise awareness of mental health issues and suicide?
“Depression is the ‘silent’ disease, people won’t talk about it because there’s still a stigma attached. And men in particular are notoriously bad at talking about it. Also, it’s especially frowned upon for a doctor to talk about suffering from depression because their job is to care for other people. So it’s a really important story to tell.”
Holby City continues Tuesdays at 8pm on BBC1.