Holby City's Catherine Russell lost her dad

Catherine Russell felt it was necessary to take a break from 'Holby City' because she didn't have time to grieve for her dad

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Catherine Russell as Serena

Catherine Russell as Serena

'Holby City's Catherine Russell needed to take a break to "recharge" following the death of her father.

The 51-year-old actress - who is known for portraying lesbian consultant Serena Campbell in the medical drama - will temporarily leave screens over the next few weeks in order to try her hand at theatre but has admitted the time away will also allow her to grieve for her beloved dad.

Speaking to Inside Soap magazine, she said: "The producers have been very sweet about giving me time off. I wanted to go and pretend to be somebody different after five years of playing Serena - and also my father died not so long ago, and I have his things to sort out. I needed time to do that, and to recharge my batteries ... Being on stage again is exciting and terrifying in equal measure. At the moment I don't miss Serena, as it hasn't been long since I stopped - but when the play finishes and I'm unemployed again, I dare say I'll miss the hospital desperately. There isn't a date to go back yet. As far as I'm aware, I have a nice bit of time off, but everyone knows I've not gone for good."

But viewers will be in for a treat when Catherine's departure scenes air on screen as she has teased that her alter-ego Serena will find herself on the brink of committing suicide.

Catherine explained to the publication: "She gets herself into a situation where it's untenable for her to stay. She accepts no help from anybody, including Bernie [her girlfriend], and then starts behaving in a very erratic and unsafe manner. We are also led to believe that she may be suicidal. Come the end of the episode, it's clear that she needs professional help."

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