Inside Soap – 8-14th March 2008

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Simon MacCorkindale as Harry Harper in CasualtyHarry’s Last Hurrah

The consultant hangs up his stethoscope…

Holby A&E manager Harry Harper bids farewell to the hospital this week – but the top doctor doesn’t leave his post willingly! Harry put his job on the line recently by choosing to leak the emotional diary of suicidal trainee medic Ruth Winters to the press, and now he must face the consequences…

“Harry feels very strongly that junior doctors are being put under too much pressure,” explains Simon MacCorkindale, who plays the department head. “He thinks Ruth should be used as an example of what can happen when they’re pushed too far, and wants to make everyone aware of the issue. His superiors aren’t happy with his actions, though, and force him to resign.”
When his colleagues learn that they’ll be losing one of their most valuable staff members, they’re devastated. But every cloud has a silver lining – and Harry’s unhappy departure paves the way for the return of an old favourite, as he seeks out former workmate Charlie Fairhead.

“Many viewers are under the impression that Charlie was sacked, but he actually handed in his notice after hitting a patient,” shares Simon. “That means he can still work in the NHS. Charlie’s got a job in a private clinic on the other side of town, so Harry pays him a visit and encourages him to return to casualty so he can cast his experienced eye over proceedings.”

Whether Charlie will accept Harry’s offer is something that Simon can’t divulge at this point. But the actor does reveal that making the decision to leave the show after six years wasn’t a difficult one.

“I was off on sabbatical last year and, with the change in scriptwriters during my absence, my returning storyline wasn’t what I’d been led to believe it would be,” Simon sighs.

“The department was supposed to fall to pieces, and Harry was going to come back and save it, but that didn’t happen. My character has been undermined so much, caught between his political role and his clinical role, and I didn’t think that was very interesting.”

However, despite being convinced that the time was right to go, Simon admits that his last day on set was still an emotional one.

“It was really tough,” he recalls. “I’d had two full-on days of filming, followed by my leaving party. I’ve been working with the cast and crew on Casualty for so long – I didn’t want to just say thank you and goodbye.

“The door has been left open, though,” Simon adds. “There’s always a possibility that Harry could pop back…”

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