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Holby's Kaye Wragg: Essie takes control of a tense situation, then Sacha charges in

Kaye Wragg plays Essie Harrison in Holby City

Holby nurse Essie Harrison helps a drug addict in Tuesday's episode... but events take a dramatic turn when he holds her hostage! Kaye Wragg reveals more...

Kind nurse Essie Harrison helps a needy drug addict in Tuesday's Holby City on BBC1. But it’s a decision that has serious consequences for her and him, as Kaye Wragg reveals…

Essie's surprised when Ivor, a drug addict admitted to AAU last week, returns to Holby suffering withdrawal symptoms. Many people would see someone like Ivor as trouble, but not Essie. Why is that? "Essie likes to champion the underdog and those that other people would wash their hands of. Essie often sees the inner turmoil that these characters are going through and she wants to fight their corner because she knows they've probably had a lot of people turn their back on them, so she immediately keeps the doorway open for them to talk.”

And what is it that draws her towards Ivor on a personal level? "Ivor's a very charismatic character; he’s quite comedic and she finds that really charming. Despite his appearance, there's a personality there that Essie connects with and she finds him really endearing. But, mainly, she just sees a really vulnerable person, who needs care and attention."

Essie's fellow medic – and other half – Sacha (Bob Barrett) thinks Ivor's just trying to manipulate Essie to get a fix and it's not long before Ivor does a runner. Why is Essie so keen to find him? "Essie's desperate to find Ivor because she felt she was getting somewhere with him. She’s like a dog with a bone – she really doesn't want to let it go. It doesn't sit easy with her to let somebody go when they need so much help."

Essie finds Ivor in the hospital pharmacy, holding pharmacist Mel hostage… "Ivor's got Mel in a vulnerable position where you can tell he's beginning to lose the plot. Ivor needs a fix, so he’s just desperate now and becomes very aggressive. Mel’s not in control of the situation and Essie can see that things are spiralling, so she enters the room and then becomes quite in control, really."

Is Essie not at all frightened of Ivor? "I think she’s frightened of the situation and how it can escalate and what might happen to the pharmacist, but she's not frightened of Ivor – she just wants to get him back on track."

How does Essie try to reason with Ivor? "Well, Ivor thinks she’s talking from a nurse's perspective, so Essie ends up having to divulge details of her personal life to him. We know Essie was a bit wild in her younger years, but it's revealed she had drug problems; not to the same level as Ivor, but she certainly understands addiction. But where Essie had support, Ivor's got nobody. So she wants to be the person that helps him."

Essie successfully manages to calm Ivor down… but then Sacha turns up and tragedy strikes! What happens? "Sacha charges into the pharmacy like a knight in shining armour and pushes Ivor onto the floor that’s covered in broken glass, causing his abscess to rupture and bleed severely. Sacha’s just done what anybody else would do in that situation, so he’s not in the wrong, it’s just REALLY bad timing."

What was it like working with Plebs star Ryan Sampson, who played Ivor? "Oh, he was absolutely amazing. As Ivor, Ryan went from being this charming, charismatic druggie to really quite frightening and terrifying. And what was lovely is that Ryan is SO not like that; he’s so charming and funny and such a gentle soul; then they’d say “action” and he’d turn into this real ragged monster! It just happened in front of your eyes, I was like: ‘Wow!'"

So, going forward, does this incident cause friction between Essie and Sacha? “It does. Essie can't blame Sacha for trying to save her, but she was in control of the situation and she now feels that he’s taken that away from her. This incident wakes Essie up to a lot of home truths."

Holby City continues Tuesdays at 8pm on BBC1.


Victoria Wilson
Victoria Wilson

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, 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!