Exclusive: Holby City star Rosie Marcel reacts to Jac Naylor's exit

Sophie Dainty
·6-min read
Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

From Digital Spy

Holby City spoilers follow from tonight's episode, which some readers may choose to avoid.

It's the end of an era! Tonight's Holby City episode (February 2) marked the end of Jac Naylor's iconic stint as Rosie Marcel bowed out of the role.

Thankfully Jac did indeed survive the scary siege (you didn't really think she'd be killed off, did you?), meaning the door may be closed, but it's not bolted. However, Holby will certainly be very strange without her.

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

After 16 years of stitching wounds, ditching boyfriends and bitching at her colleagues, Jac finally decided to leave the hospital behind tonight.

Jac's reasons for leaving stem from her problems with troubled boyfriend Kian, who has been struggling with a drug addiction for the past few months. When she nearly lost her life as a result, Jac began to reflect on the decisions she's made of late – and she ultimately decided to start afresh.

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

Speaking about why Jac needed to leave, Rosie said to Digital Spy: "She's had enough basically. She's been betrayed by her partner, she's sick of the politics in the hospital and she feels horribly let down by everything.

"She's been battling for a long time now about work versus home life and spending time with your children – in a similar way to me. She goes, 'You know what, I'm done.' It's very similar to me but I'm not an arsehole like she is. "

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

Drawing on the comparisons between Jac's exit and her own reasons for leaving the show after all this time, Rosie explained: "I'm tired, I need a break, and I want to spend time with my child – so does Jac. The difference is that my husband is not a drug addict and hasn't let me down – yet!

"I'm sad obviously – I love the show and I've been there a really long time. It got to a stage where I was just so tired and I really needed that break, to the point where I've not really done anything else and I don't want to – I want to take time off. I'm well-slept currently, which is very nice. Homeschooling is obviously very difficult for everyone at the moment and I'm very grateful that I can be here and do it. I am feeling good and positive.

"I wanted to have a break and spend time with family – I haven't spent a lot of time with my daughter or my husband. I didn't want to get to a point in my life where I thought, 'I really wish I'd taken time off' – I didn't want to be that person with regrets. It was a big decision."

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

Interestingly, Jac's final scenes saw her ride off into the rainy evening with Jackson – the besotted friend she met during her time in a mental health unit.

Although the stormy weather did initially give us some misguided hope that Joseph had returned to sweep Jac away from the vicissitudes of Holby life, we were happy enough to see Jackson emerge from the car. And so was Rosie. But does this mean that Jac and Jackson will have an off-screen happy-ever-after?

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

"It's very ambiguous", Rosie said. "It's very clear that there was something between them. I think if there hadn't been a Kian and they hadn't both had mental breakdowns and been in a mental health hospital together, then yes, there absolutely would have been a possibility of a relationship.

"He's a genuinely nice person who has Jac's best interests at heart and she's not used to that. But she hasn't called him to take her away from her horrible boyfriend and horrible life so that she can just throw herself into another relationship.

"She calls him because she trusts him and needs a shoulder to cry on. It's a lovely friendship to have and she's lucky. He likes her very much and he'd quite happily jump into a relationship with her, but at the moment, I think it's just about having someone to talk to and that person not being involved in the hospital."

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

Jac's sudden departure does, of course, mean that Kian was left a broken man, and their boss Max McGerry was horrified to find him under the influence of drugs in the closing moments of the episode. But does Rosie think that Jac and Kian could have made it work in another life? Interestingly, yes.

"I do actually think if it wasn't for his addiction then it could have worked," Rosie explained. "But their relationship has basically been based on a lie. It's surprising Jac has stuck with him but she does love him and she's allowed herself to trust him. He'd shown himself to be an active boyfriend and co-parent – even if he was drugged up to his eyeballs – and that's all she's ever wanted.

"People often say to me, 'I don't understand why people like Jac' and I have to agree with them. She is really not a nice person – she's really hard work. I think somehow their relationship works based on that and I think that's why she's willing to give it a go."

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

Disastrous romances aside, what has been Rosie's highlight of playing Jac?

"Jac's breakdown episode was a proud moment and a really hard one," she said. "Holby put me forward for a BAFTA for that, which was lovely. I'm proud of everything that I've achieved. The fans have always been very loyal to Jac. I hope they understand why I've left."

Away from the hospital, Rosie has an exciting new chapter on the horizon – she's moving house.

Speaking about what's next for her, she said: "We've just bought a 14-acre farm. We are going to be moving there and living in a caravan as the house is currently unliveable.

"In about four weeks' time, myself, my husband, my six-year-old daughter, three dogs and three cats will be living in a caravan – it's going to be an absolute nightmare. Obviously, I'll still be homeschooling as well. It's absurd and it's going to be really stressful over the next couple of months until we can get the house liveable and actually move into it.

"It'll be an adventure for sure. I feel like the next Sarah Beeny – I feel like we should be filming it all and going, 'This is our big move to the country and this is what we are going to do with our plot of land'. Watch this space..."

And as for whether she can see herself ever picking up Jac's scrubs and stethoscope again, Rosie commented: "I think until they kill Jac, there is always a chance for a return but it's too early to say right now. I really need time with my family."

Farewell Jac, we'll miss you.

Holby City continues on Wednesday, February 10 at 8.20pm on BBC One

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