WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS FROM HOLBY CITY
I have written about demons, vigilantes, phenoms and superheroes, but this week I wanted to write about something a little bit different. This week, I wanted to write about what was definitely the most moving storyline I have seen on TV or film in a very long time. And that honor belongs to Holby City. First off, for anyone unaware, Holby City is a long-running British hospital drama series that has been on the air since 1999 - it's kind of like the British TV answer to Grey's Anatomy. This week's episode brought a beautiful but tragic ending to one of its most harrowing storylines, and thus, a beautiful but tragic farewell to one of its most beloved characters. Millions tuned in as Holby bid a tearful farewell to Dr. Arthur Digby.
Digby, played magnificently by Rob Ostlere, had been a significant part of the show since 2013. The know-it-all, ambitious but kind-hearted doctor quickly won the hearts of viewers and was involved in many major storylines. One of the most well-received aspects of the character was his love/hate friendship with the enigmatic Dr. Dominic Copeland (played brilliantly by the ultra-talented David Ames). And all that was on display, with so much more in this week's heartbreaking episode.
The storyline, which saw Digby diagnosed with terminal cancer, played out over the past few weeks and really struck a chord with audiences. Moreover, it shined a light on a very real-life situation and like many British soaps, encouraged people to be vigilant. As his condition deteriorated, Arthur and his wife Morven decided to spend their last few months together away from the hospital, living life. However, Digby soon realises that the hospital he spent so much of his life in, is the place he wants to be. (On a side note, it was great seeing Arrow's Jimmy Akingbola reprise his role as Malik, albeit via webcam.) After a touching but hilarious send-off tribute from his friends and colleagues, Digby takes a turn for the worst. Though veteran surgeons Sacha Levy and Ric Griffin attempt to save him, they are unable to and the best they can do is patch him up and wait. It was a sad moment as yet another shred of hope was snatched away from us.
But it was the final moments of the episode that really touched our hearts. The hauntingly beautiful sequence at the end - where Digby is in a type of limbo, walking through the empty hospital looking for Morven - was the beginning of the final chapter for Arthur Digby. The beautiful music that played as the characters gathered to say their goodbyes was enough to start us all off. And it did, in a huge way. But it was the performances in this episode that truly stood out. Rob Ostlere commanded the entire episode and managed to move us every single time Digby was onscreen. David Ames' facial expressions said it all - Dominic felt exactly how we all did watching it on TV and it was painful to watch Dom lose his best friend. And well, Eleanor Fanyinka had us screeching as Morven delivered her moving monologue to her unconscious husband. Digby, however was hearing the speech in his mind and Morven was with him in his Heaven, telling him how much she loved him and thanking him for loving her. As the rest of the Holby crew poured into the room and surrounded him, the unconscious Digby squeezed his wife's hand one more time before peacefully passing away.
I am well-versed in the world of film and TV, but this was, without a doubt, one of the most moving and beautiful scenes I have ever seen portrayed on either. I have no problem admitting that it moved me to tears. It was beautifully written and flawlessly acted - the talented cast did a superb job at conveying every ounce of emotion - as one twitter user correctly pointed out 'you would almost forget they're acting' as the performances were so authentic. Particularly Ostlere, Fanyinka, Ames and Camilla Arfwedson (Zosia), all of whom shined in this episode. Veteran Holby City actors Bob Barrett, Hugh Quarshie, Catherine Russell and Guy Henry also delivered strong performances here, particularly in the final moments. The saddened glances to each other just solidified how much Arthur meant to all of them, and in effect, how much he meant to all of us. It was also incredibly touching to see Arthur interacting with all of his former superiors and thus, their grief at his passing - particularly Sacha, who Arthur always had a strong friendship with, and Henrik Hannsen, whose usual frosty exterior was nowhere to be seen. This episode just highlighted the amazing ensemble of actors in Holby City.
As I mentioned, Arthur Digby formed strong friendships with many in Holby City, including Dom and Zosia, both of whom he lived with. The three of them had been described as Holby City's dream team and the show will sorely miss his presence. As will Dom, who has not only lost a friend but his partner in crime. Ostlere and Ames are not just phenomenal actors, they have amazing chemistry and it's heartbreaking to know that these two won't be seen insulting each other or hugging each other onscreen again.
"I'll Walk You Home" was Holby City at its finest, and quite frankly, nothing else came close to it this week as it delivered raw emotional, powerful and incredible performances in one stunning episode. When the death of a fictional character hits you as hard as Arthur Digby's hit me (and millions of others), it is a testament to the actor playing him, the writers writing for him and the cast around him - that says more than my words ever could. Furthermore, the pain of losing someone so young to the disease highlighted the importance of the fight against cancer and I applaud Holby City for using their platform to spread the message.
Allow me to take this moment to thank Rob Ostlere for bringing Arthur Digby to life and wish him all the best for future. Seeing him develop as that character over the past three and a half years really solidified what a fantastic actor he is. I really hope to see him back on our screens again very soon, because he is such a talent. I'll miss seeing him as Digby, that's for sure! (On a side note: you may also recognise Ostlere as Waymar Royce from the very first episode of Game of Thrones). And also allow me to thank the amazing cast, crew, writers and the BBC for shining a spotlight on such an important topic.
A flawlessly written and touching episode, rife with subtle, amazing performances from its entire cast. If you watched it, you cried. A truly award-worthy episode!
Farewell Diggers, it has been awesome seeing you on our TV Screens! We'll miss you!