Holby City: All the feels

morven digby holby(Series 18, ep. 35) If you had dry eyes at the end of that episode, you’re a stronger person than I am. Was that a brilliant hour of television, or what?

Arthur Digby’s last episode was always going to be emotional, no matter which way it went (miracle cure, or slow decline with last few months spent travelling and off-screen demise, or… not). He’s a very well-loved character, not just loved by fans but by so many other characters in the hospital. He’s worked on several wards and come into contact with so many people who love and respect him for his sweet, gentle nature and earnest commitment to his job. So young, just at the start of what promised to be a glittering career. And just married to his soulmate. Whatever happened to him was going to impact on everybody. 

holby city danceThe episode, beautifully written by Andy Bayliss, balanced carefully along the line between hope and despair for much of the time. That the half way mark included one of the most joyous and funny moments ever in Holby – the dance routine with even Ric Griffin and (hilariously) Hanssen joining in – and ended with the sadness of Digby quietly dying, surrounded by his friends, was extraordinary.

digby dominic zosia chantelle holbyI loved the way Malick, Chantelle and Ethan were involved in the episode, to remind us that Digby has an importance that extends outside of the present story confines. I especially loved the hallucinatory sequences, which were strange, beautiful and tender. Most of all, I loved Morven’s parting speech to Digby. Ellie Fanyinka was incredible, delivering so much emotion and conveying all of Morven’s love for Arthur. Her line that he gave so much to so many people but kept a little bit back just for her was beautiful.

zosia jac holbyI’d expected Dominic to be the one to make me cry the most, but his reaction at the bedside was restrained, shrugging off Ric’s comforting hand and leaving the room. For once, Dominic didn’t want to do his emoting in public (though he had some lovely scenes with Digby and Sacha earlier in the episode, and nobody can be in any doubt that losing his best friend will have hit him hard). Zosia breaking down and Jac running to hug her was an intense moment of pure grief that will have finished off anyone who wasn’t crying already. The detail that had me in a messy heap was the close-up on Arthur squeezing Morven’s hand and her saying, “I know.”

hanssen holbyRob Ostlere didn’t physically have much to do in the final moments except lie still, but in the earlier scene where he collapsed in Hanssen’s office he was heartbreaking. One moment he was filled with optimism and a sense of freedom, but you could see him deteriorate second by second. When Hanssen promised him everything would be alright, you knew that he knew which way things were going to go. Hanssen almost lost his trademark composure during this scene. His lip actually wobbled at one point.

digby morven holby citySo it’s farewell to Arthur Digby, who’s given us plenty to smile about and plenty to worry about during his Holby career. I’m going to miss him and his rucksack with the horses on it,  his love of a good pen, the banter with Dominic, the way he finds courage when he needs it most. Above all, I’m going to miss the most beautiful smile in the NHS.

55 Comments

Filed under Holby City

55 responses to “Holby City: All the feels

  1. fredpipes

    I’m crying again, just reading this! 😦

  2. Sharon

    I just shed a few more tears reading this. It was an incredibly well acted and moving episode.

  3. Oh goodness I didn’t think I had any more tears left after last night’s episode but am joining your other reviewers in shedding more now. Ouch my heart 😥

  4. Such an emotional episode. I can’t think of any actor that has touched the hearts of so many people in the way that he has done. I was a blubbering wreck, and like everyone else, was hoping for a miracle. That episode, and whole storyline, must rank as THE very best on British television, and hopefully, at some stage, will be recognised as such. Absolutely brilliant.

    • Rosemary McGuire

      I absolutely agree with you. It gave insight into the process of dying that no one dares to mention. Imagine telling your love one that you enjoy the feeling of being free because you will shed your earthly constraints. That was the best I’ve seen for years.

  5. Denise Brookstein

    If this episode does not win award something is wrong, well written excellent acting with full support from the crew.

  6. Cheryl J Biddlecombe

    Brilliant episode of Holby, so moving in so many ways, from laughing one minute, to crying the next, well done to all the actors, love this programme x

  7. Sarah

    Saying goodbye to Arthur was heartbreaking even though he wasn’t always a favourite of mine. Holby does death so well that even if you aren’t particularly bothered about the character you’re still gripped by the sadness.

    It felt a bit like two different episodes and I thought the dance routine was thrown in just for cheap laughs which for me deminished the the episode a little though the last 15 minutes made up for it.

    I hope we get to see Rob Ostlere on our screens again before too long – he’s a wonderful talent.

  8. me too , thought i was all cried out , going to miss you Diggers you were one of the best

  9. A warm episode filled with friendship and love. Sarah missed the point of the dance routine entirely. It was a surprise for Diggers showing how loved he was by all his colleagues and it was touching and funny. Rob played a blinder and I’ll miss Arthur a lot

    • Sarah

      I didn’t miss the point at all, it was obvious what they were trying to do but in my (and others) opinion it was cheesy and another one of those cheap ‘let’s have Hanssen do something funny’ ideas that gets randomly thrown into stories these days. I realise though as usual it’s your opinion or wrong!

  10. Carol howes

    I agree with this review yes i was sobbing i think the part tht made me worse was when zosia had tht fone call she immediately dropped to the floor an considerin how hard jac is she was there to pick zosia off the floor to say tht was the worst bit was a understatement jst made me little worst an most probably wen arthur was fadin surrounded by his friends so incredibly sad will miss arthur rely well written epsiode well done to all the cast xx

  11. Sue Vincent

    I’m crying reading this It was such an emotional episode Well wrote And beautifully acted by everyone I’m really going to miss Diggers Bye Arthur RIP XX

  12. Nel Dilligaf-Kellett

    Last night’s episode is well worthy of a BAFTA.

  13. MvOC

    Yes it was heartbreaking but am I the only one who thought it was far from being one of the greates episodes in terms of the writing?

    I agree with Sarah the dance scene was like something from a hurriedly written piece of fan fiction and there was a disjointed feel to the episode – some might argue that was deliberate but it could also just have been rushed script!

    It was a good episode but award winning? Holby has done much better. I would like to see Rob getting a nomination though (if Alex Walkenshaw was nominated for basically doing nothing!)

  14. Judith Horabin

    I was really choked at this episode, everyone played an excellent part, I was in hysterics at the dancing part and a heap by the end of it, I will miss Diggers alot

  15. James Gilgannon

    Beautifully written.

  16. Julie Ashall

    A superb piece of drama , it’s surprising that Holby is overlooked for awards.
    Digby was a wonderful flawed human being . A credit to Rob Ostleres acting abilities and Holbys writers.

    • Joyce Taylor

      Rob Ostlere certainly deserves an award,he’s been brilliant in Holby from the beginning! I hope above all, that we don’t lose him from the tv screen for too long, he deserves some great parts , I will be watching hopefully for more!Good luck to Rob Ostlere

  17. This was a superb episode…fantastic acting (I am not always so fulsome) the emotion was wrung out of the audience. Superb….couldnt have improved on the show. Thankyou for a superb episode. Enjoyed every minute.

  18. Chizzy Akudolu

    Incredible Episode. Incredible review. Rob is missed around Elstree way!!

    • Thank you! Rob is going to be missed by Holby fans too.

      • Joyce Taylor

        Rob mentioned in one of his interviews, that he would like to keep returning as a flashback! He could always return later as a long lost brother?Albert? we know very little about his family! If not, I’ll happily accept that this was only a bad dream!!!

  19. Thunderchild

    I’ve never understood all the love for Diggers, I don’t dislike the character but IMHO he (along with Zosia and Dom) has dominated the storylines far too much over the past few years so I have to say I won’t really miss him.

    Too be honest I’m not sure what I thought of the episode – the dance number reminded me of one of thoseap awful Children in Need sketches. However having said that the final fifteen minutes were sheer brilliance and the actress who plays Morven (another character I haven’t really warmed too) did an amazing job. The standout moment was Jac rushing to Zosia at the end – things must be bad when the Ice Queen starts to thaw!

    • Ginny

      Reading this I have to wonder why you bother watching Holby at all !

      • Thunderchild

        Haha! I do enjoy the show, but as I said I’ve never been the biggest fan of Digby so an episode devoted to how wonderful he is was probably never going to do it for me. Now if they ever killed Jac off it would be a different matter entirely…..:-)

  20. holbybunners

    Just watched it now and still blubbing … Review made me blub again and yes I agree with all the praise. I loved every minute of it for it all rang so true to me .
    HB

  21. Margaret hill

    Every episode I’ve enjoyed but this one was the best we will all miss diggers but I feel for morven think now how will she cope without her soul mate I couldn’t but thank you holby city long may you all reign

  22. Susan Screen

    That was one of the most emotional and brilliantly acted episode of Holby I’ve seen to date, and I’ve watched the programne for many years.
    Congratulations to the whole cast for bringing us such a wonderful programne to our screens. Arthur Digby will certainly be missed.

  23. Rosie

    It was an emotional episode and I enjoyed it but for the most part it was hardly a stand out. It was redeemed by the final 15 minutes and the beautiful performances given by the actors in those scenes but I felt like the rest was average at best and the dance scene was just silly. Also – Malick and Dom chatting like they’re BFFs? I’d have thought it more likely that Hanssen would be the one telling Malick.

  24. Jemma howard

    This was the episode that I had anticipated but dreaded. Diggers was a slow burner for me, but I came to adore the romance between him and Dom. I’m sure the writers will have him suffering greatly in the loss of his bedtime. Last night’s episode had me with a wobbly chin within the first few mins, and literally sobbing in the end. Reading this review today had me blubbering over again. Yes it was one of Holbys finest, yes I liked the dancing, I know why they did it. Holly has been my never miss programme for years, it never lets me down. Like someone else already said they do death well, my all time favourite was when Elliott’s wife died.. keep up the good work.

  25. What a beautiful episode. Well written and superbly acted. Great stuff.

  26. Vaudelin

    Oh dear, I wasn’t prepared, I wasn’t prepared at all! Even if I was I don’t think I would have used less tissues. What an incredible episode. I have to admit I didn’t used to be a big fan of Diggers but he has really grown on me over time. I so hope this episode is recognised by someone or other for an award of some sort. I loved the dance scene and really laughed out loud. I have watched Holby from the start and this was without doubt one of the best episodes I have ever seen. Such powerful television. Everyone involved should be very proud. And thanks for the brilliant review Sue, I was welling up again reading it!

  27. Eilis

    Finally got to watch it. Loved it. I’ve always had a soft spot for Digby. He never seems to have had much luck over his years on Holby with one disaster after another eg the car crash, the drug dependence and now the cancer.

    I know I’m in the minority but I’m sick, sore and tired of Zosia. Everything ends up being about her. How many times have we had the “I know best” scenario? Indeed I’ve started warming to Ollie since he’s started standing up to her.

    I see some people on Digital Spy are bemuse about the Zosia/Guy/Jac triangle. Watching the episode it occurred to me that Selfie didn’t seem to interact with anybody else. I might be wrong about that, would need to watch that again. I’m probably reading too much into this but his he really there or just in Zosia’s head? (Just me thinking out loud, I suppose!)

  28. fredpipes, Sharon, amyfbl, Claire Morgan, Sue Vincent, holbybunners, Jemma Howard, Vaudelin
    Sorry to make you cry again! It’s a sign of how good the episode was that it can still make you cry just by thinking about it, isn’t it?

  29. Jenny Baker-Griffiths, Denise Brookstein, Nel Dilligaf-Kellett, James Gilgannon, Julie Ashall, Joyce Taylor
    If this had been an episode of EastEnders or Corrie, it would have won awards. It seems unfair that it gets categorised as a soap for awards purposes. I agree that Rob Ostlere has been brilliant throughout his time on Holby and I’m looking forward to seeing what he does next.

  30. Cheryl J Biddlecombe, Judith Horabin, Carol Norwell, Margaret Hill, Susan Screen, Gerry Cunningham
    I agree – it had everything, didn’t it?

  31. Sarah, MvOC, Thunderchild, Rosie
    I didn’t feel that the dance routine was thrown in for cheap laughs. It was planned to be a funny thing to do as a send-off for Digby leaving the hospital and going on his travels and to show how much he was loved. That helped him make his mind up that his Holby family was where he wanted to be. Also I thought it balanced the ending really beautifully.

  32. Totally emotionally ruined by this episode. My mum-in-law phoned me straight after and we blubbed down the line to each other, it’s the only show we bond over.

    RIP Arthur Algernon Digby. You beautiful character you.

  33. A beautiful episode and a very emotional review, thank you. I was sort of dreading it as you knew it was going to be curtains for poor old Diggers but the script was so well written. I know it sounds ridiculous but it was almost like loosing a dear friend, I too lost my father a few years ago and you easily tap into that emotion. I can’t believe that the story line isn’t due recognition of some sort, left Enders and other such programs standing. Well done to everyone involved, a truly lovely episode

  34. Dreamer

    I’d put off watching the past few episodes cos of this and I wish I had stuck with it. Oh, my God. My heart. My poor baby Digby (and Morven). How dare they do this??? And then to end the episode in silence?! My heart is broken, torn and shredded to pieces. Damn the writer who wrote the episode and all the actors for acting their hearts out. It’s not fair! My heart, my feels, oh God.

    (The only plus is that it’s a cis white male character that died and not a CoC/LGBTQIA character.) Nope, fuck it, that’s a lie. It always hurts when it’s a fave. I’m off to cry some more. 😥

  35. wiggles

    Thought the episode was SUPERB (and hasn’t Holby been on a brilliant roll recently – there’s barely been an episode I’ve been even slightly disappointed with for well over a year) and is well deserving of all the praise it has earned!!! I’ll miss Arthur – always did like him and he grew on me more and more. The only teensy question I have is why no-one thought to tell Zosia that things had got so bad,so quickly? Cos I’m sure even Jac wouldn’t have denied her a five minute break to sit with one of her best friends whilst he died!!

    • Emma John

      I think jac wanted zosia to be with Arthur which is why she was so angry with her for putting career first. Possibly.

  36. A Fantastic episode which I was worrying about watching! I kept putting it off as secretly hoping he wouldn’t die and there would be some amazing cure! Even up to the end really where he had survived the collapse… I didn’t want him to die… So as usual I was entranced by Holby, the outstanding acting, the scriptwriters, everything! Always emotional when I watch an episode of this fantastic series and I challenge anyone not to shed a tear watching this. This episode was the epitome of superb . Well done to everyone involved.

  37. HolbyNut

    Farewell Diggers. Adorable character. Total blub-fest!

  38. Andrew P

    What an episode; the first TV to make me cry in quite some time. I did wonder if Digby and Morven might just leave, and that would be it, but as soon as he started leaving that answerphone message for Morven, I knew the end was coming. I’m sure when we see her receive that message it’ll set us all off again.

    Thought I’d got it together before the end, but then when I heard Chantelle talking to Digby in his out-of-body experience, that somehow got me again! What a lovely ending, and yes, to finish in silence, without music – nice touch. Not looking forward to seeing how everyone reacts to this over the next few weeks.

  39. holbybunners

    Its on tonight folks so dont miss it!
    HB

  40. For some strange reason this review didn’t come to my inbox.
    Anyway, I wonder if people watched Hayley Cropper die in Corrie? I would put the two side by side for brilliant scripts and acting.

  41. Joyce Taylor

    For brilliant scripts and acting,I think that they were similar,But Holby was more sad, because Haley wanted to die at that stage,Arthur didn’t!

  42. Denise Hillier

    This episode was so so sad. I had tears in my eyes all the way through but finally the ears spilled over when Jac rushed to comfort Zosia. Best episode of any “soap” ever. Well done to all the actors and writers.

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