After a turbulent few weeks, Holby City's Ben 'Lofty' Chiltern makes a big decision about his future, and it's one that sees actor Lee Mead bid a fond farewell to the show...
Having only been married a year, the past 12 months haven't been the easiest for Holby City's Ben 'Lofty' Chiltern and Dominic Copeland. And, next week in Holby City, Lofty makes a big decision about his future...
To describe Dom (David Ames) and Lofty's relationship as 'rocky' would be an understatement. There was turmoil for Dom early in the year when he discovered that new general surgeon Ange Godard (Dawn Steele) was his biological mother and that he'd been adopted by the woman he'd always called 'mum', Carole (Julia Deakin).
While all this had been going on, Lofty had been off on his travels. And Dom was soon dealt another blow when Lofty admitted he'd cheated while he'd been away. Unable to process yet more shock news, Dom hit the self-destruct button and contacted his abusive ex Isaac Mayfield (Marc Elliott), who made a swift return to Holby after spending 18 months in prison for brutally attacking Dom.
Isaac insisted he was a 'new' man - but a leopard rarely changes its spots, as Isaac proved when he viciously attacked Lofty, leaving him at death's door.
Fortunately, Lofty survived the ordeal. But as Dom and Lofty tried to get their relationship back on track, there was more trouble just around the corner when Lofty's holiday fling, Helen (Verity Marshall) turned up... pregnant with Lofty's child!
Just recently, as Lofty, Dominic and Helen were coming round to the idea of being parents, they were all given the devastating news that - at 28 weeks' - the baby boy had died and Helen had to deliver their son.
After an emotional few weeks, following the death of baby William, Lofty and Dom have decided to reaffirm their relationship by renewing their marriage vows.
The peace garden is beautifully decked out for the ceremony – but when Dom (David Ames) suggests looking into adoption, Lofty (Lee Mead) declares he no longer want kids and wonders if they’re truly compatible.
What doesn’t help matters is that Max - Lofty's old friend from the ED (played by Jamie Davis) - is on AAU having treatment, after Lofty ran him over on his bike!
Lofty can't help but notice the twinkle in Max's eye as he talks about how great his life is in America with wife Zoe. Lofty fears his own life doesn't seem nearly as wonderful in comparison.
Later, as friends and family gather at the peace garden for Dom and Lofty's vow renewal, Lofty suddenly shocks Dom by announcing he thinks they should break-up... and reveals he's leaving him, his job AND Holby for a fresh start. Is this really the end for 'Dofty'?
"This is not just about the stillbirth, it's about all the problems that have occurred in Dom and Lofty's relationship up to now. What happens is really sad," says Lee Mead, who's leaving Holby City after two and half years as Lofty, the role he started playing in Casualty in 2014.
"I always thought Lofty was a bit two-dimensional in Casualty but the producers definitely listened to me and were supportive in developing Lofty's character and who he is. So it's been really nice these past few years in Holby to play that. I've been really lucky."
Holby City continues Tuesdays at 8pm on BBC1.
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!
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