HOLBY CITY & CASUALTY CROSSOVER ANNOUNCED FOR MARCH 0 312

For the first time since 2005, the cast of Holby City and Casualty will join forces for a two-part crossover special on BBC One as the staff of the emergency department and the wards come together when Holby City Hospital is plunged into chaos.

Characters from both series will interact as their storylines are intertwined across the two dramatic, action-packed episodes.

A major cyber-attack plunges Holby into blackout and disables most of the hospital’s automated monitoring equipment. At the same time Sacha (Bob Barrett) is in a car crash which injures his daughter Bekka (Francesca Barrett) and Ric’s (Hugh Quarshie) granddaughter Darla (Naomi Katiyo), one of whom might be pregnant. Fighting a different battle amongst the chaos, Connie (Amanda Mealing) is left to save the life of a member of her own team with surgery. As Sasha’s injuries become apparent Jac (Rosie Marcel) comes to his rescue and is ready to operate but with only one theatre available in the blackout, Connie and Jac have to make the impossible decision of which of their friends to try and save first.

Simon Harper, Executive Producer of Holby City and Casualty, says: “We’ve known for some time there’s been major audience appetite for a mega crossover between these sister shows, so that’s exactly what we are serving up! You’ll see both the Casualty and Holby teams striving heroically against the odds in two episodes of pure, nail-biting, taut, emotional medical drama. I’m quite literally in awe of Michelle Lipton’s writing achievement and Steve Brett’s direction in pulling off this double, and so proud of both the Cardiff Casualty and Elstree Holby crews and casts in making the mind boggling logistics work, quite aside from their creative wizardry. There’s so much to relish in the cross-show character interactions: an especially poignant thematic resonance between two regulars, Connie and Jac in delicious conflict, and perhaps most vitally, who from Casualty has been secretly carrying on with whom from Holby!”

The crossover will begin during Casualty on Saturday 2 March and will conclude during Holby City on Tuesday 5 March on BBC One.

Throughout 2019, Holby City is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a host of guest appearances from previous Holby characters and fan favourites across the year. Amanda Mealing will be the latest returner in the crossover, coming back to her old stomping ground in Holby as Connie Beauchamp.

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STRICTLY 2019: CHRISTMAS STARS REVEALED 0 73

Six of the most-loved Strictly contestants from previous series are returning to the dance floor for an all-star Christmas extravaganza special, coming to BBC One on Christmas Day.

This year the ladies set to sprinkle some Christmas magic on the dancefloor are Chizzy Akudolu, Debbie McGee and Gemma Atkinson.

Chizzy says: “I am so excited to be coming back to Strictly this year, and being able to get back on the dancefloor once again! I’m still the biggest fan of Strictly so it’s wonderful to be back with old friends, in front of and behind the camera, and hopefully some new ones for Christmas. Bring on the sparkle, and maybe an odd 10 – it is Christmas after all…!”

Debbie says: “I thought all my dreams came true two years ago when I was asked to do the series, but to be one of the rare people to be invited back to do the Christmas Special is the icing on the cake. I can’t wait to be back dancing with my Strictly family”.

Gemma says: “I had the absolute best time on Strictly and it completely changed my life so I am absolutely overjoyed to be returning to the dancefloor this Christmas with a new challenge, and of course to be back with the gang!”

The gentlemen set to rock the dancefloor are Joe Sugg, Mark Wright, and Richard Arnold.

Joe says: “I’m really excited to have a go on the strictly ballroom floor again this Christmas. Strictly feels like a home away from home for me so I will be giving it my best shot and ending the year on a high.”

Mark says: “It’s been a while since I was on the dancefloor but I’m very much looking to forward to dusting off the dance shoes for Christmas! I can’t wait to be back – let’s get going!”

Richard says: “I can’t wait to get back out on the dance floor and throw shapes beneath the glitter ball once again. I just can’t promise you’ll recognise them or that they’ll be in any particular order. What I can promise is that one of us will be a professional.”

Each of the six couples will perform a Christmas inspired routine in a bid to be crowned Christmas champions 2019.

Hosted by Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman, the show wouldn’t be complete without the festive foursome on the judging panel: Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse, Bruno Tonioli and Head Judge Shirley Ballas.

The judges will be on hand to score each couple and spread some cheerful joy, yet it will be down to the studio audience to vote for which dancing duo will win the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special 2019 and lift the famous Silver Star trophy.

The professional dancers and pairings will be revealed in due course.

WILL BAYLEY LEAVES STRICTLY AFTER INJURY 0 91

Sadly, due to the injury sustained last week, Will Bayley is leaving Strictly Come Dancing.

Executive Producer Sarah James said: “We are so sad that Will is unable to continue on the show. He is an incredible and talented person who has brought us some unforgettable moments this series – in particular his powerful and moving Couple’s Choice routine. He will be greatly missed and we wish him a speedy recovery.”

Will Bayley said: “I’m gutted my Strictly journey has had to come to an end. I’ve loved being part of the show, and am so grateful for the phenomenal support we have received. I want to say a special thank you to Janette for believing in me and giving me the confidence to believe in myself. The things we achieved, from our Couple’s Choice dance through to the lifts in our Salsa, will stay with me forever. I’ve had the time of my life.”

Janette Manrara said: “Absolutely devastated that Will and I will not be able to continue dancing. We made some incredible memories that I will never forget, and I am pleased to have shared them with such an inspirational person, whom I can now call a friend for life.”

Will and Janette will be on It Takes Two tonight from 6.30pm on BBC Two.