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Interview: Holby City's Rosie Marcel

08:31 11 May 2010



As Holby's Jac Naylor, actress Rosie Marcel is not used to crying. But all that has changed as the latest twists have her character in tears

HOLBY City actress Rosie Marcel, who lives in St Albans with husband Scott and beloved dog Ainu, plays the relentless Jac Naylor in the BBC soap. She gives Louise McEvoy the inside scoop on an epic storyline, including a highly emotional standalone episode. The 32-year-old also talks about her participation in a gruelling charity trek to raise money for a Romanian bear sanctuary, and tells of her love of St Albans.

I understand there is an epic storyline coming up in Holby City and Jac takes a central role.
Yes. No one knows about Jacs history or family, and this woman is admitted and Jac has to treat her, but what nobody knows is its her mother, who abandoned Jac when she was 12.

She has serious kidney problems and is going to die without a transplant. Jac thinks shes come back because she wants her kidney, and its Joseph (Luke Roberts) who convinces her to see if they are compatible.

You see Jac cry a lot, which is very unusual, and it turns out she is compatible. Her mums whole reason for coming back is because of the kidney, and its heart-breaking, but Jac goes ahead with the transplant
to get her out of her life.

Theres a standalone episode episode 30 which is unmissable. They have some kind of reconciliation, but it all goes horribly wrong and gets to the point where people are very close to death, but I cant say any more. Were hoping episode 30 is going to be our contender for the BAFTAs this year.

What else is new for Holby City?
This year we have some new cast joining, and some new producers bringing freshness to the show.

We have a few cast members leaving, but I cant say who.

I think the show is getting better each year. Our average viewing figures are six million the second most popular soap, behind EastEnders.

What do you find is the most challenging aspect of acting?
I used to find crying really, really difficult, but I cry at the Andrex adverts now!

For episode 30 I spent a week crying, and over-thought it a bit
too much.
I had a headache every day and was really trying to keep my emotions low. My poor husband!

I found episode 30 the hardest thing I have ever had to do because of the raw emotion and pain.

The hardest bit generally has to be the theatre scenes. We are bundled up and hunched over a rubber body, and you cant afford to ruin a prosthetic. You have to say the right thing at the right time.

Will Jac be staying on our screens?
My contract comes up in October and I would love to stay. Everybody wants Jac and Joseph to get back together and I feel I cant leave until they do. I would love to see them end up together.

If Holby doesnt want me I will look forward to auditioning again, and I would love to do some period drama. However, if I could be in any show it would be Greys Anatomy.

Are there any similarities between yourself and Jac?
I dont like to mince words its best to be honest and clear with people in as nice a way as possible.

I do love playing Jac because she doesnt give two hoots about what people think about her, and shes very driven and really good at her job.
Shes the character people love to hate and I get great storylines.

You took part in a 50km trek across Romania in September with the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA), to raise money for the charitys bear sanctuary. How did it go?
On the first day I thought what have I got myself into? We walked for nine hours and it was all uphill. I burst into tears I just found it so hard.

When we got to the bear sanctuary it was incredible, and they are the most incredible animals. We raised about 47,000, which has been put towards a third enclosure.

I have been working with WSPA for 10 to 12 years and do whatever
I can. Animals cannot speak for themselves and I find working with animals rewarding.

How did you come to live in St Albans?
I lived in Richmond most of my life and moved here to be with my husband, Scott.

I was very sick for a while with Behets disease and couldnt walk.
He cared for me, and his family, who live in Watford, helped us.

It is an inflammatory disease and basically your body attacks itself. I had raised red lumps on my legs and couldnt really stand up because the blood rushed to my legs and was so painful. I got batches of 20 to 30 mouth ulcers, blisters and boils, and started to go blind and to lose my memory. I was like that for a year-and-a-half, until they put me on immunosuppressants which I have to take every day for life.

What do you like most about St Albans?
The architecture is wonderful, and not enough people look up at the amazing listed buildings. Its steeped in history and has wonderful shops.
I love the fact St Albans is small and promotes local farmers and produce.

Theres a hidden gem in St Albans an amazing antiques shop on George Street, behind the tapas bar, which is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Its called Treasure Trove and sells the most amazing jewellery you have never seen before.

Come to St Albans on a Saturday, visit the market and go to Treasure Trove, walk around the lake and go to the cathedral, before eating at The Waffle House. You have got everything you need here.

Rosie Marcels standalone episode is due to be shown on Tuesday, April 27, at 8pm on BBC1.

For more information about WSPA, visit
For more information about Behets disease, visit


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