Chizzy Akudolu explains Holby exit: 'I love Mo but it was time to spread my wings a bit!'
Mo Effanga left Holby on Tuesday night with Mr T and their son, Hector, in tow. Chizzy Akudolu talks about her time on the show and what she'll be doing next, revealing why you won't see her on a remote island with Bear Grylls any time soon...
Chizzy Akudolu reveals why she's decided to hang up her stethoscope after five years as Holby's popular surgeon Mo Effanga…
Surgeon Mo Effanga recently ended her relationship with obstetrician Mr T, after he suspected she’d injured their baby son, Hector. In this week's episode, it's revealed Mo’s got a new job in London and she’s leaving Holby! How are things between Mo and Mr T? "It's all amicable between them now and, although Mr T is staying at Holby, Mo's reassured him that she's happy for him to come down to London or to have Hector whenever he wants."
For the entire episode, it looks like Mo and Mr T are definitely going their separate ways… until Mo seems to have a change of heart. What prompts that? "Mo realises just how much she cares about Mr T and that she can put all their recent differences aside. So she tells him she loves him and wants to be with him! When Mr T hears that, he gets in the car with her and they drive off into the night with Hector."
So, Mo finally gets her happy ever after? "She does… at last! Five years on…"
'You had me at Derwood' Mo tells Mr T she loves him... and he says he loves her right back!
Are you pleased with your exit storyline? "I think it's great for the Holby fans because I know they would want Mo and Mr T to be together. I would have loved something a bit more dramatic, perhaps, but then I'd also like to go back at some point, so if it'd been really dramatic there might not be an option for me to return."
So why did you decide it was time to say farewell to Mo after five years at Holby? "I love the show and I love Mo, but I felt it was time to spread my wings a bit. I guess I just felt the pull away from the show. There are other things being made and I didn't want to feel like I was missing out. Holby's a gorgeous place to work and is the sort of place you probably could stay forever – but you mustn't."
'It was time to spread my wings a bit': Chizzy on why the time was right to leave Holby
In your five years of playing her, what's been you favourite Mo moment? "Can I only pick one? OK, so Mo's first birth [in July 2012], I loved. That was something I'd never, ever done before, so that was an interesting one. It was knackering, but that's when I felt I really became Mo. And Jac being Mo’s birthing partner. Ha, ha! That was so funny."
We've loved all the stuff with Mo and Mr T. Will you miss working with Ben [Hull, who plays him]? "Ahh, Ben's so great to work with, he really is. He prepares and he's always willing to play with it. He's a consummate actor. I adore him."
So was it hard saying goodbye to Mo? "It was very hard. When it came to filming the last episode, I think I cried four times. We do a thing called the 'crew' show, when we show the crew how a scene is going to play out, so they can work out angles and everything... FOUR times they had to use somebody else to play me because I was off crying! I didn't think I'd get as emotional as I did and then I started to think: 'Oh my gosh, am I doing the right thing'? But I know in my heart I am."
Chizzy reveals she cried buckets while filming her emotional final scenes as Mo
So what are you up to next? “Well, I've just filmed a pilot. I'm not allowed to say who with, but she's just the loveliest actress I've ever met. There's also a film, which we're waiting for a date for and then I'm hopefully gonna go to America in the summer and see what's happening there. I haven't got a manager yet, but that's definitely in the pipeline. Basically, I'm open to new adventures…"
Adventures, eh? "Yeah, I actually went up for a meeting for The Island with Bear Grylls, but I thought: 'This is so not me'. They said I should go away and think about it and I actually did think at one point: 'Maybe I could do this' because it's something totally out of my comfort zone. But, no, I don’t think I could. It would be too much. I don't particularly like bugs or sleeping outside. They reckon as long as you can catch the food you're fine, but if you can't catch the food you're in trouble. So that's when I thought: 'Nah!'"
So have you got a big long list of roles you want to tick off now? "Yes, I really want to get into film and I really want to work in the States. But I'd also love to do a really gritty, 9pm drama like Line of Duty. There's literally loads of things. Hopefully, being in Holby has pushed my name a bit further up the casting list, ha, ha!"
But you definitely plan on coming back to Holby one day? "As long as they'll have me, which they've said they will, then I'd love to come back at some point – this definitely isn't the last we've seen of Ms Effanga!"
Holby City continues on Tuesdays at 8pm on BBC1.
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With over 20 years’ experience writing about TV and film, Vicky currently writes features for What’s on TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite Week magazines plus news and watching guides for WhatToWatch.com, a job which involves chatting to a whole host of famous faces. Our Vicky LOVES light entertainment, with Strictly Come Dancing, Britain’s Got Talent and The Voice UK among her fave shows. Basically, if it’s got a shiny floor, she’s all over it! When she’s not watching TV, you might find Vicky in therapy… retail therapy that is!