HOLBY CITY says goodbye to another iconic figure on the wards this week, as actor Jimmy Akingbola, who plays surgeon Malick, hangs up his scrubs.
Jimmy talks to holby.tv about his exit and future plans…
Malick has been through a tough journey over the last few months. Being such a strong, confident character destined for Consultancy, how do you think he has coped and come to terms with his injury?
I think Malick has seriously struggled. He doesn’t feel like he’s the man he used to be, which has led to him having major doubts about his future as a Consultant. What’s so sad is that he’d only just achieved his lifelong dream of being a Consultant and for that to be taken away from him is just unfair and cruel.
Are you pleased with your character’s arc and how he has progressed
over the last three years?
I’m ecstatic about my character’s arc. I couldn’t have asked for more really, he came into the show with a bang and will be leaving with a bang. The Holby City producers, writers and team are amazing! We all loved Malick and believed in making him an iconic character – there has never been a character quite like Malick on UK TV before. And it’s nice to see how the viewers went from not liking him and/or being unsure about him to loving him. As they say on Twitter ‘you gotta love #TheMalick’!
Why have you decided now was the time to leave Holby City?
I felt I had learnt so much and had grown as a person and actor… Plus I needed to do something new. With Holby City it’s such a tight ship that it really is hard to fit in other acting work. Before I joined Holby I was used to doing Film, Theatre, TV and Radio and Voice Overs etc. Also I didn’t want to let Malick get predictable or his storylines to start getting repetitive. When I spoke to the producers I always said to them the moment Malick becomes a Consultant I have to leave show because that was his main objective. It’s a bit like Only Fools and Horses – once they became millionaires the series had to end because they got what their characters were fighting for.
What have been your most memorable storylines/ scenes playing Malick?
My most memorable storylines are my first ever episode when I joined the show; the storyline where I found out I was a dad; the Amanda Leyton storyline, and of course the storyline about my hand.
We recently saw a fascinating behind the scenes documentary on how Malick’s hand was created for scenes following the car crash, do you have a lot of admiration for the prosthetic designers on Holby?
The prosthetic team are all very talented, beautiful ladies that do amazing work on Holby. There have been times when people have been sick just by looking at their work – there were even times when people thought my hand was real… They deserve much more mentions and awards than they get. Holby would not be Holby without them.
What will you miss most from your time working on Holby?
I will miss the family and when I say family I mean everyone from producers to writers to crew to supporting artists to the cleaners and the security team on the gate and the bar staff! We are all one big happy Holby family and I’m not just saying this… I really mean it. Holby has been one of my best jobs ever…. and that has been down to all the lovely people working on the show.
What was your last day on Set like? Did you also have a leaving party/ get any nice leaving gifts?
The last day was emotional but a happy day. I had some fab scenes with Louis Payne who plays my son and I had a big leaving party with a DJ – Wil Johnson and I invited all the people that had been and gone while I had been on the show so we had a reunion/leaving party. And again it felt like I took the spirit of Malick with me and left with a bang! People are still talking about my party now. I got some beautiful gifts from the actors and producers – too many to name… I don’t want to make the other actors jealous!
There have been a number of high profile exits recently, do you think it’s a new era for the show and how do you think the show will cope with these changes?
Yes I think the show will cope – it always does. Myself and Guy Henry had to replace people like Amanda Mealing and Patsy Kensit so you can imagine how nervous we were but with a loyal fan base like you guys and with the great Holby team the show always bounces back and brings new and brilliant characters to the show.
This month, you’ve been appearing in a sold-out production of ‘The Island’ at the Young Vic, what attracted you to this play?
Again doing Holby meant I couldn’t do any theatre for three whole years so being offered a part in The Island was a dream come true. It’s an amazing iconic play that has a lot of history and importance. So that appealed to me very much. I always knew if I was going to do theatre it would have to be gold! It couldn’t be any old play it had to be something that really pushed me as an actor and that I loved. Plus I saw the original production at the National Theatre and it blew me away so to have the chance to follow in the footsteps of two amazing actors, John Kani and Winston Nsthona and the playwright Athol Fugard, is just a dream.
You’re also still very busy working with Tri-Force Promotions, how is this all going?
My company is growing every day! This year we have been to LA twice taking actors out there to meet and perform in front of agents and managers. We have sold out Theatre Royal Stratford East five times this year and now we are getting ready for our second TriForce Short Film Festival at BAFTA on Sunday Dec 8th. Do come join me if you can guys… see link here
What are your future work ambitions?
I’m trying to get some personal TV projects off the ground with the BBC…. a lot of people say they like my work and they would like to see me have my own series or show so I’m having meetings and trying to make that happen. Maybe a spin-off called #TheMalick! Also I’m currently filming season three of the BBC Two Comedy Rev with Tom Hollander and Olivia Coleman, and I’m also going to spend some time in LA next year – so watch this space.
Finally do you have a message for all your Malickites who have supported you through your time on Holby?
To all my Malickites thank you all for the constant support and love. It has meant so much to me and helped me gain confidence in the character and what I wanted to do with him. I think it also shows the BBC that we could do with more great characters like Malick so fingers crossed that when Malick leaves they keep the door open for other different and exciting characters… If they are great characters the Malickites will say so because they don’t lie! 🙂