Niamh McGrady left HOLBY CITY tonight with Jules Knight in a storyline fit for Mary-Claire and Harry fans. She talks to holby.tv about her exit…
Fans saw you leave this week, after six years on the show. Why did you decide the time was right to move on?
I was ready. Over the years I had seen the character grow from semi reg to reg and go from strength to strength and I wanted to leave on a high, having done everything I could with the character.
With Jules Knight also announcing his departure, were your exits both timed so that Harry and Mary-Claire could leave happily together?
Yes. I was coming back to Holby after a break to go and film The Fall, so they waited and wanted us both to go together. I think it was a good decision. We had such good storylines in the run up and it was great to see their characters develop together.
Fans have really taken to their relationship, do you think they make a good match and what feedback have you got from viewers about their romance?
I’m so thrilled with how much fan support there is for the relationship. It’s been so much fun seeing all the tweets! I think they really balance each other out. They are very different and from different backgrounds, but opposites attract, and MC can definitely keep Harry grounded!
Mary-Claire must be a great character to have played, are you pleased at how her character has progressed over the years?
It’s been amazing. The character trajectory has surpassed all my expectations. Especially with the move to becoming a regular. Although I was waiting in the wings for quite a while! There is so much of me in Mary Claire, so many little things from my actual life creep in (like the My Little Ponies and SHUT THE FRONT DOOR) so it’s been SO MUCH FUN. I couldn’t have wished for a better way to leave the show. I’m so grateful to the writers and producers and for their support.
What storylines have been some of your highlights to play?
I loved working with Ed MacLiam and Laila Rouass back in the day! Being part of Ed’s leaving episode was very special. But I have loved all the stuff with Harry/MC. It’s fun to play out a relationship on screen. I’ve never done that before.
What will you miss most about working on Holby?
The cast and crew. A bloody amazing group of people!!!!
Who do you hope to keep in touch with from the cast now that you’ve left?
I hope I’ll keep in touch with everyone!! Unless they all hate me now 😉
What was your last day on Set like? Did you have a leaving party/get any nice leaving gifts?
Oh God.. My last day… The producers all came to set and thanked me and I just burst out crying. It was so embarrassing!! But I was very very emotional. It was like going through a break up!!
I had some wonderful gifts, I wasn’t expecting anything! But the prosthetics department cast a real life size heart in plaster and painted it gold. It’s INCREDIBLE. I was blown away. It’s being kept in a very safe place until I have somewhere lovely to show it off!
Have there ever been any funny/ pranks or embarrassing moments on set that you can share?
Every day there were funny pranks! Especially on AAU. That Joe McFadden is one to watch.. Esp on a Friday! And don’t even start me on Alex Walkinshaw! Such amazing craic.
What are your future plans now that you have left Holby?
I’m just enjoying the break and seeing what comes up next. I have another series of The Fall at the end of the year so I’m looking forward to being back in Belfast again.
What would be your dream acting role? Which actors do you personally admire?
Oooh, this is hard, there are so many! I’m so dying to do a period drama.. Something like Wolf Hall or Poldark.. And some Sci Fi too! Maybe Dr Who’s assistant… So long as I keep being diverse and stretched in my roles I’ll be very happy!
So many actors I love- Julie Walters, Shirley MacLaine, Olivia Coleman.. Jeff Goldblum!
Finally do you have a message for fans of holby.tv that have supported you through your time in Holby?
This experience on Holby has been incredible, and it’s taught me that without the fans, there is no show!
The support of all the fans has been overwhelming. THANK YOU ALL SO SO MUCH!!! Your tweets have kept me so entertained and encouraged over the years.
I’m also so touched that some fans find Mary Claire inspiring – I’m so proud of that. It’s so important to have positive role models and real people on our screens and that makes me feel like I’m doing a good job! Please don’t forget about me in the future! Lots and lots of love xxxxxxxx Niamh xxxxxxx