Hollyoaks star David Ames explains struggle over Holby City axe

Hollyoaks spoilers follow.

Hollyoaks star David Ames has spoken about how the cancellation of his former show Holby City was "a shock to the system".

In 2021, the BBC stunned fans of the medical drama series by axing it after more than 20 years on the air, with it later being explained its cancellation came down to funding more dramas outside of the south of England.

That explanation surely came as cold comfort to the Holby cast — including David Ames, who'd played surgeon Dom Copeland in the series for its last nine years on the air.

Ahead of taking a new soap role in Hollyoaks, David has told Digital Spy that it was "massively" hard to see the beloved Holby City come to an end.

david ames as dom in holby city
Kieron McCarron - BBC

"I don't think I realised quite how much so [it impacted me]. It was a bit of a shock to the system," he shared. "I was very lucky as I was distracted immediately. I had Christmas off and then I went into doing a play. But for all of us, it was our family and it was such a well-loved show."

The actor explained that one of the biggest downsides to Holby going away was losing the camaraderie with the cast.

"We got very used to going to Elstree [studio] and being able to see each other often," David said. "When you have been in a show as long as myself and [co-stars] Rosie Marcel, Guy Henry and Bob Barrett, it must have been a real shock for them as well. I certainly noticed the fact that I missed everyone and the comfortability of being able to drive into Elstree and do a day's work — getting to do what you love every day is such a joy."

The actor continued: "It was a shock but we move on — that's what we do as actors. But it was hard — imagine you were in your favourite job for a good few years, and then suddenly, that's it, and you just don't see anyone anymore. It was quite tough at the time but we're still in touch.

david ames as dom in holby city
Screengrab - BBC

"I see Dawn Steele all the time [Ange] and I speak to Kaye [Wragg], who plays Essie. We keep in touch and we text as much as we can, and support each other if we do theatre. I feel like I made some friends for life, definitely."

The show's writers did manage to give David's character, Dom, some moving final scenes, including a dementia storyline for his on-screen mum Carole that mirrored his own life.

"It was an incredibly tough one to film," he remembered. "We were filming outside and strangely, unfortunately, the day before we filmed the final scene with Carole, who died from complications with vascular dementia, my granddad passed away on the Sunday before we filmed that on Monday, of vascular dementia-related illness.

"It was incredibly poignant and everyone was very kind and asked, 'Are you okay to do this?' I was like,' Absolutely, of course I am, and if it can raise awareness about this, then that will be amazing'.

"It was gorgeous to play because I got to do it with Bob and Julia; they're just absolutely wonderful people and consummate actors and I think we hit heart of the whole situation. It was a real joy to do."

face, red, human, shoulder, stethoscope, neck, medical equipment, room, electric blue, jaw,
Kieron McCarron - BBC

David also lifted the lid on what may have come for Dom should Holby City have continued.

"We talked about it from when the show was coming to an end, and there different things that they were they were going with, but we already had a storyline set in place, the major one for for Dom, which was the passing of [adoptive mother] Carole, played by the amazing Julia Deakin, who I was such a fan of before I started at Holby," he revealed.

"For her to play my adoptive mother, it was a joy. That was really Dom's big last story and him coming to terms with the accident that he'd had and just sort of making peace with himself really.

"As part of his character, he had constantly been changing and questioning himself and thinking he wasn't good enough. I think it came across in the very last few episodes that he had finally settled and he felt good enough."

The actor now has a new soap role on the horizon, as he joins the cast of Hollyoaks as local student Freya's father Carter Shepherd for a significant storyline with John Paul McQueen.

david ames hollyoaks
Lime Pictures

Hollyoaks streams first online via Channel 4, with new episodes dropping each weekday morning. The show airs Mondays to Fridays at 6.30pm on Channel 4, and at 7pm on E4.

Selected omnibus episodes are available via Prime Video.

Read more Hollyoaks spoilers on our dedicated homepage.

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