Holby City star Joe McFadden has said it was hard to keep his exit from the show a secret.
McFadden’s character, Raffaello “Raf” di Lucca, died in Thursday night’s shock episode, but the actor had to keep it under wraps as bosses wanted fans to be surprised by his death.
However, his prominence as one of the stars of Strictly Come Dancing meant it was difficult to do so.
He said: “We filmed it a couple of months back… It has been hard especially because I’ve been doing lots of interviews and people have been asking me about Holby, and I hope you don’t think I’ve been dishonest but I wasn’t allowed to talk about it.”
On Thursday McFadden’s character died after being shot.
This weekend the star will perform in the semi-final of Strictly along with professional partner Katya Jones, with the show providing a welcome distraction from leaving the BBC drama series.
He said: “I always sort of dreaded the day when I would leave, so having to concentrate on something else, something so completely different and something so all consuming, has been brilliant because I haven’t actually had that time of sitting and grieving for it.
“I’ve been so busy it almost hasn’t really sunk in yet and I don’t think it really will do until I finish on Strictly.”
McFadden, called a “dark horse” by Strictly judge Shirley Ballas, was one of the late favourites to emerge from the line-up of stars.
But his sparkling performances are a long way from his initial rehearsals round the Holby hospital bed.
“It worked out really well actually,” he said.
“My last couple of episodes of Holby were really quite light, I wasn’t really doing that much.
“She (Jones) came on to the set a couple of days and we were rehearsing… around the hospital bed and we were grabbing 10 to 15 minutes here and there and I think she enjoyed it because she wanted to visit the set and have a look around the hospital.”
McFadden, who played his character for four years, said his aim now is to do more live entertainment and shows.
He said: “It’s been four years since I’ve done a play or been on stage. Strictly has certainly given me a hunger.
“It’s great the way it’s all worked out – it certainly feels like the stars have all aligned and it feels like the right time to go.”