'Holby City': 10 stars who went on to make it big

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From Holby to Hollywood: Olivia Colman played the character of Kim Prebble in Holby City in 2002. (Getty Images/BBC)
From Holby to Hollywood: Olivia Colman played the character of Kim Prebble in Holby City in 2002. (Getty Images/BBC)

Holby City fans are preparing for the final episode of the medical drama, which airs on Tuesday.

The BBC confirmed last summer that the drama is coming to an end after 23 years on air, sad news for its loyal viewers.

As a spin-off of the hit show Casualty, the series has seen characters come and go over the past two decades, including long-running characters played by David Arness, Patsy Kensit, and Jimmy Akingbola.

Read more: Holby City axed by BBC after 23 years

But, you might be surprised by some of the Hollywood A-listers who launched their careers on the set of the BBC drama, including none other than The Crown's Olivia Colman and Killing Eve's Jodie Comer.

10 stars who started out on Holby City

Olivia Colman

Olivia Colman with her Emmy award for 'Outstanding Lead Actress for a Drama Series', at the 'The Crown' 73rd Primetime Emmys Celebration at Soho House in 2021. (Getty Images)
Olivia Colman is one of the UK's biggest screen stars now. (Getty Images)

It's hard to believe that Academy Award winner Olivia Colman started out as an extra.

Before going on to star in The Crown, Broadchurch and, more recently, The Lost Daughter, Colman made a one-off appearance in an episode of Holby City where she played a minor character called Kim Prebble in 2002.

Just one year later, the actress joined comedians David Mitchell and Robert Webb on Peep Show where she became a household name as Mark's love interest Sophie.

She has since gone on to play leading roles such as Queen Elizabeth in The Crown - for which she won a Golden Globe and an Emmy - and Leda Caruso in The Lost Daughter, which she has received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress for 2022.

Read more: Why The Crown season 4 is the Netflix show's best season yet

Jodie Comer

Jodie Comer attending the photo Call For BBC's
Jodie Comer is now hugely famous for Killing Eve. (Getty/ WireImage)

Emmy Award-winning actress Jodie Comer is best known for playing psychopath assassin Villanelle in the BBC drama Killing Eve.

However, the Liverpool-born actress also appeared in an episode of Holby City back in 2010.

Aged just 16, Comer played the role of patient Ellie Jenkins in her second ever TV appearance.

She's since had 23 major award nominations, despite only being 28 years old, and has both a BAFTA and an Emmy under her belt.

Read more: Killing Eve runs out of steam in fourth and final season

Michael Fassbender

Michael Fassbender attending the premiere of 20th Century Fox's 'Dark Phoenix' in Hollywood, California in 2019. (Getty Images)
Michael Fassbender is a surprising Holby City alumni. (Getty Images)

Who knew that appearing in Holby would be a leg-up to becoming an X-Men star?

This was the case for Irish actor Michael Fassbender who appeared in an episode called 'Ghosts' back in 2002.

He played an unnamed patient who needed his spleen taken out.

A young Michael Fassbender looks unrecognisable in this scene from Holby City shot in 2002. (BBC)
A young Michael Fassbender looks unrecognisable in this scene from Holby City shot in 2002. (BBC)

The role was so minor that he even managed to fall asleep in his hospital bed while the scene was being filmed.

Fassbender then went on to star in Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds in 2009 and the X-Men Marvel series in 2011, a role he has shared with Sir Ian McKellen.

Nicholas Hoult

Nicholas Hoult attending the Los Angeles premiere of Hulu's
Nicholas Hoult is now a Hollywood superstar. (Getty/FilmMagic)

Like his X-Men co-star Michael Fassbender, Nicholas Hoult was also given his break into the industry by the producers of Holby City.

Hoult appeared in an episode called 'Borrowed Time' in 2001, where he cameoed as a character called Oscar Banks.

A cute Nicholas Hoult played injured character Oscar Banks in his first ever TV debut in 2001. (BBC)
A cute Nicholas Hoult played injured character Oscar Banks in his first ever TV debut in 2001. (BBC)

A year later after his TV debut, Hoult starred in the comedy drama About A Boy alongside Hugh Grant.

He's been nominated for a host of awards since, including a BAFTA, a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild Award.

Mel Giedroyc

British television preseneter Mel Giedroyc posing on the red carpet of The Olivier Awards at the Royal Albert Hall in 2018 (Getty Images)
Mel Giedroyc is better known as a TV presenter and comedian now. (Getty Images)

Fans of the Great British Bake Off will remember their disappointment when presenters Mel and Sue quit the show in 2016.

What Bake Off fans might not realise is that Mel starred in Holby City early on in her career.

In 2007, she played character Lydia Lazenby for one episode.

Afterwards, she featured in the CBBC series Sorry I've Got No Head, before landing the gig on Bake Off with Sue Perkins - her friend of many years.

Read more: Celebrity Bake Off - Ellie Goulding and Laura Whitmore in line-up as Matt Lucas stands in for missing contestant

Kym Marsh

Kym Marsh at OK! Magazine's 25th Anniversary Party in 2018. (Getty Images)
Kym Marsh got her first TV acting role on Holby. (Getty Images)

Another member of the Holby City alumni is actress, presenter and singer Kym Marsh.

The Coronation Street star featured on the show in her debut acting role, after winning the singing competition Popstars with her group Hear'Say in 2001.

She played Myrna Morrison - a woman who accompanies her boyfriend to hospital - in an episode which aired in 2006.

Kym Marsh has transitioned between acting, singing and presenting through the course of her career. (BBC)
Kym Marsh has transitioned between acting, singing and presenting through the course of her career. (BBC)

Marsh said that her gig on Holby helped her acting career to take off, as soon afterwards she was cast as Michele Connor in Corrie in 2006, a role she kept for 13 years.

Looking back on the experience, she said: "Holby taught me so much and I met two of my best friends, Lisa Faulkner and Nicola Stephenson."

Marsh is set to join the cast of Waterloo Road for the new series which airs later this year.

Read more: Kym Marsh 'thrilled to bits' as she lands 'Waterloo Road' role

Letitia Wright

Letitia Wright attending the premiere of Steve McQueen's 'Mangrove' in October 2020 in London. (Getty Images)
Letitia Wright starred in Steve McQueen's Mangrove. (Getty Images)

Another Emmy-award winner who started out on the set of Holby City Hospital is actress Letitia Wright.

Aged just 16 at the time, she starred in two episodes of series 13 of the drama in 2011, where she played teenage patient Ellie Maynard.

Letitia Wright was just 16 when she appeared on Holby for the first time. (BBC)
Letitia Wright was just 16 when she appeared on Holby for the first time. (BBC)

After getting her foot in the door, she starred in a Doctor Who episode with Peter Capaldi in 2015.

Two years later, she won Outstanding Supporting Actress at the Emmys for her role in the Black Mirror episode 'Black Museum'. She was also one of the main characters in the Marvel film Blank Panther which came out in 2018 and Steve McQueen's film Mangrove in 2020.

Charlotte Riley

Charlotte Riley has starred in Peaky Blinders, Wuthering Heights, London Has Fallen and more. Getty Images)
Charlotte Riley has starred in Peaky Blinders, Wuthering Heights, London Has Fallen and more. Getty Images)

English actress Charlotte Riley is best known for her roles in the rom com Easy Virtue, ITV drama Wuthering Heights and, more recently, the role of May Carleton in Peaky Blinders.

But, she once played patient Tanya Cusan in series 10 of Holby City which aired in 2007.

Charlotte Riley as patient Tanya Cusan in the TV series Holby City episode called ‘Someone to Watch Over Me’. (BBC)
Charlotte Riley as patient Tanya Cusan in the Holby City episode ‘Someone to Watch Over Me’. (BBC)

Riley is married to her fellow Peaky Blinders star Tom Hardy. The pair wed in 2014 after they began dating in 2009.

Sheridan Smith

 Sheridan Smith at The BRIT Awards 2021 in London. (Getty Images)
Sheridan Smith had an early role in the medical drama. (Getty Images)

Sheridan Smith gained popularity for her role in Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, where she played Janet from 2001 to 2009.

A few months before this, however, she featured in six episodes of Holby as Miranda Locke, a character who was dealing with serious mental health issues.

She's landed a number of roles in popular British shows since, including Gavin and Stacey, Jonathan Creek, Cilla and Mrs Biggs.

Earlier this year, she was barely off TV with lead roles in No Return, The Teacher and Four Lives, and is currently serving as a judge on ITV talent show Starstruck.

Alex Lawther

Alex Lawther attending 'The French Dispatch' UK Premiere during the 65th BFI London Film Festival in October 2021 in London. (Getty/WireImage)
Alex Lawther is best known for The End of the F***ing World. (Getty/WireImage)

Last but not least in our list is Alex Lawther, star of dark comedy The End of the F***ing World.

Before he achieved mainstream success, Lawther made his television debut in series 16 of Holby, where he played a character called Fred Bamber in the series' first episode.

Alex Lawther appeared on Holby before his performance as Kenny in Black Mirror had everyone talking. (BBC)
Alex Lawther appeared on Holby before his performance as Kenny in Black Mirror had everyone talking. (BBC)

He gained popularity on social media for his performance in the Black Mirror episode 'Shut Up and Dance', where he took the lead role of Kenny.

Fans of Lawther's acting in The End of the F***ing World are hoping that the show will be renewed for a third season.

Holby City's last ever episode airs on Tuesday at 7.50pm on BBC One.

Watch: 'Holby City' axed after 23 years

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