Joseph Byrne (Luke Roberts) came back to Holby City under dramatic circumstances in this week’s episode. The biggest storm in Holby since records began closed the hospital where his partner Faye (Patsy Kensit) was due to have a heart transplant, and instead brought her to Holby. But as soon as Joseph and Jac Naylor (Rosie Marcel) set eyes on each other, all the other drama was fairly secondary. This was a story about two people who’d never stopped loving each other, but who know they can never be together.
The rapport between Rosie Marcel and Luke Roberts is incredible. They’ve remained friends since they joined Holby City at the same time and they work together brilliantly. They showed us the history of Jac and Joseph – the passion and the pain alike – in their facial expressions, the yearning in their eyes as they looked at each other.
At the same time, we were also in no doubt that Joseph also loved Faye very much – though there was a strong element of duty in it and he said more than once that he loved her as the mother of his child. This was a different kind of love to the ‘flying too close to the sun’ of being in love with Jac. Joseph seems to have made peace with the idea that he and Jac will never be good for each other.
Jac held everything together, for the most part. We saw her hands shaking after she operated on Faye and we saw her anguished glances at Joseph. It wasn’t until almost the end when she finally let her feelings really show when she told Joseph to have a nice life and he replied, ‘You too.’ ‘Without you, how?’ she said and the tears started to flow as she kissed him. We saw her walk away at the end, absolutely broken. Joseph went to look for her, but she’d gone.
It wasn’t by any means a two-person show. Faye and Fletch (Alex Walkinshaw) were both equally brilliant as each of them witnessed someone they love clearly being in love with somebody else. ‘Is he the reason I never stood a chance with you?’ Fletch asked Jac sadly. Faye seemed to be having a lot of fun exchanging insults with her old sparring partner Jac, but in a subtle and detailed performance Patsy Kensit made sure we understood how fragile Faye was in her need to hold on to her life with Joseph even though she’ll never be the love of his life – because Jac already has, and always will have, that place in Joseph’s heart.
Sue Haasler is the author of the official Holby City book, which you can read about here. Her latest novel, Half A World Away, is out now.
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