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Holby's John Michie on Guy Self's exit: 'He had to walk away and rethink his life'

Holby City Guy Self
(Image credit: BBC/Kieron McCarron)

Guy Self resigned from Holby on Tuesday night after the day from hell. Actor John Michie reveals the reason for Guy's departure - and what he'll be doing next...

It's the end of an era, as neurosurgeon Guy Self dramatically resigned from Holby after a challenging day, which saw Guy operating on chairman Tristan Wood – and him dying on the table! John Michie reveals whether Guy really did kill Tristan – and talks about life after Holby…

In tonight's exciting episode of Holby, we saw Guy threatening to kill Tristan for attacking his daughter – then Guy operated on Tristan and he died. The jury's out over what might have happened – but has Guy really got it in him to kill Tristan? "Well, the way I played it in my head to try and get some truth into it, is that Guy was shaky both physically and emotionally and, when you're a neurosurgeon, it really is a knife-edge situation – one slip can mean life or death. So a slip-up could have been made because of the physical state that he was in, but it was certainly not deliberate. When Zosia asks Guy in the episode if he killed Tristan, he says: 'No, categorically not.' But was he at the top of his game? No, he wasn't."

Guy operates on Tristan in Holby City


We loved that scene where Guy went berserk in his office and smashed the scale model of his beloved neuro centre, which Tristan was set to fund. Was that the moment Guy realised it was the beginning of the end for him at Holby? "Absolutely. The neuro centre had become the main thing in Guy’s life and, with every emotional problem that he's had, he’s buried it, striving to get this neuro centre built. It's incredibly important to him, so when he has a breakdown at the end of that episode, it's because he realises it's all over. In a way, though, it's quite cathartic because I think he then realises how he has to rebuild his life."

Guy loses it in Holby City


Is that why he feels the need to resign from Holby? "Yes. Guy's always gone about things in that arrogant way of striding forth and having things just bounce off him. But when everything comes crashing down around him, I think Guy realises he's got to change the way he lives his life."

It seems like he has a checklist of things he wants to do before he goes? "Well, he now knows the neuro centre's not going to happen and he wants to make amends with Jac Naylor because of the stent project that he stopped happening in Berlin. He wants to make everything good around him with Jac, with the hospital and, of course, with his daughter Zosia, so he basically wants to walk away, start again, and have a rethink about the person he is. I don't think he has the energy to continue anyway, so he has to walk away and rethink his life."

Holby neurosurgeon Guy Self


We saw Guy going back into therapy at the end of the episode – will he be a changed man if and when he does come back? "Who knows!? Guy might come back and be nicer… or maybe even nastier! I think you might see a reformed Guy but it would probably almost be too good to be true. A leopard never changes its spots – I think people revert back to type and all it takes is for a little bit of arrogance to come back and he will be the same."

So, in real life, you’ve left Holby for the moment at least? "Yes, I've left – I was doing a play called Grain in the Blood up in Glasgow, which then moved to Edinburgh, which is where I'm from originally, so that was nice. I love Glasgow, it's my favourite city after London – I don't say that when I'm in Edinburgh though!"

In terms of your exit storyline, are you pleased with how things panned out? "Yeah, I really liked it. It was short but sharp and very intense. I think it was quite good that it was over three episodes and didn't go over too long a time. It was a real short, sharp shock, which I thought the audience would enjoy."

Guy Self goes ballistic at Tristan Wood


What was it like working with Jonathan McGuinness who played evil Tristan? "Ha, ha! We got on really well – he's actually going to come up and see the play that I'm in in Edinburgh. He's going to come up with Chris Gascoyne from Coronation Street as they're good pals. We got on really well."

So, he’s nice in real life then? “Yeah he is, he is. Like me!”

And what about Camilla Arfwedson, who plays your on-screen daughter Zosia? "Oh, yeah, we got on really well – she’s very easy to work with and such a good actress. I think the father-daughter relationship was written really well. I think the writers really got a hold of that and we certainly enjoyed playing it."

Guy Self and Zosia after he finds out what Tristan did


So, can you see yourself returning to Holby? “Yeah, absolutely – never say never! I had a great time on Holby, so it would be fun to go back at some point in the future. Why not?"

Holby City continues on 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!