Holby is a fictional city in the United Kingdom, the setting for the BBC medical dramas Casualty and Holby City, and the police drama HolbyBlue. It is based on the real city of Bristol, where Casualty was formerly filmed, and is notionally located in the fictional county of Wyvern in South West England, not far from the border with Wales.[1] While Casualty has been filmed in Cardiff since 2011, Holby City is filmed in Elstree, Hertfordshire. Both shows are set in the same fictional Holby City Hospital. Holby has an airport called Holby International.[2]

Holby City HospitalEdit

Holby City Hospital
Holby City Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
LocationHolby, Wyvern, England
Care systemNHS
FundingPublic hospital
Hospital typeMajor Acute / Teaching
Emergency departmentYes
ListsHospitals in England

Holby City Hospital is the fictional hospital within the city in which Casualty and Holby City are set. It is based on the Bristol Royal Infirmary which the original script writers spent time observing in the 1980s in order to garner ideas for Casualty.[3] Although both shows are set in the same hospital, Casualty is primarily filmed in Cardiff, whilst Holby City is filmed in Hertfordshire at BBC Elstree Centre.[4] The indoor shots for the first series of Casualty were filmed at BBC Television Centre in London.[5] The exterior shots of the hospital used in Casualty were formerly filmed at the City of Bristol College; location filming later moved to an industrial estate at 51°27′33″N 2°34′01″W / 51.459094°N 2.567030°W / 51.459094; -2.567030, close to the interior set of the hospital.[6] It was announced on 15 October 2008 that the BBC was considering moving the filming of Casualty to studios in Cardiff. On 26 March 2009, the BBC confirmed the move.[7] Since late 2011, Casualty has been filmed on a purpose built studio and backlot set at the BBC Roath Lock Studios in Cardiff Bay 51°27′46″N 3°09′23″W / 51.4627°N 3.1565°W / 51.4627; -3.1565.[8] The hospital became a NHS Foundation Trust in 2016.

Wards and departmentsEdit

As of 2002, four main wards have formed the focus of storylines within the hospital. In Casualty, the primary location is the hospital's Emergency Department (formerly referred to as Accident and Emergency), which has its own adjoining Clinical Decisions Unit, introduced in series 25. Holby City is set between the hospital's Acute Assessment Unit (ground floor), and Keller (third floor) and Darwin (sixth floor) wards, providing General and Cardiothoracic surgical care respectively. Holby expanded by adding "HolbyCare", a private healthcare ward led by Michael Spence adjacent to the existing Intensive Care Unit on the fifth floor. Former storylines have also focused around the hospital's Otter ward, providing pediatric care, as well as its maternity ward. Otter ward has not featured in the show since series 4, whilst the maternity ward ceased usage as a primary location in series 8. Obs & Gynae, Maternity and pediatrics are quite regularly mentioned. In 2004, Nightingale, a mothballed wing of the hospital, is used to perform a major heart transplant on a small girl by Connie Beauchamp and Harry Harper while the hospital burns.

In 2011, Downton and Perry are shown to be psychiatric wards at the hospital. (Series 25, Episode 23 "Place of Safety") Other wards of the hospital to be referenced in the series include Berkley, Clifton, Curie (disused), Florence, Geraint Morris, Hitchcock (psychiatric), Linnaeus, Swift and St Clares as well as the paediatric, neonatal, burns and neuro ICUs.

List of wards/departmentsEdit

  • Sunny-Care Ward, Paediatric ICU
  • Miracle Ward, Neonatal ICU
  • Neurosurgery Centre, Neurosurgery
  • Newton Ward, Fracture Clinic
  • Einstein Ward, Day Care Unit
  • Ear, Nose and Throat Care
  • Genitourinary Medicine
  • Pharmacy
  • Rheumatology Department
  • Wards 1-8, Post-Operative Care
  • Franklin Ward, Maternity Unit
  • Spock Ward, Children's Centre
  • X-ray Department
  • CT Scanning Department
  • MRI Scanning Department
  • Rainsbury Ward, Breast Clinic
  • Priessnitz Ward, Physiotherapy & Hydrotherapy
  • Coronary Care Unit (CCU)
  • Geriatrics Department
  • Gastroenterology Department
  • Haematology Department
  • Dialysis and Renal Care
  • Urology Department
  • Ophthalmology Department

Holby Ambulance ServiceEdit

Holby Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust
Region servedWyvern, England
TypeNHS Foundation Trust

Holby Ambulance Service is the fictional ambulance service which serves Holby City Hospital - also appearing in the two hospital dramas Casualty and Holby City. The vehicles and uniforms used on the shows derive from Great Western Ambulance Service, which serves Bristol where Casualty was filmed. Paramedic advisers working on the show are often from Great Western Ambulance Service.[9] Although the ambulance service is only seen in Holby City very rarely, Casualty has featured paramedic characters as a key part of the cast since the show's 1986 conception.[10]

Holby SouthEdit

Holby South is the fictional police station in which HolbyBlue was based in its two series run.

St James' HospitalEdit

St James is another hospital located on the other side of Holby, and although not shown is referred to regularly.[citation needed] Other hospitals located in Holby which were referenced in the past include Queen's, St Luke's, St Francis', St Austin's and St Thomas'.[citation needed]


Another fictional Holby is the setting for the Danish TV soap Ugeavisen ("The Weekly Paper"), made by the Danish Broadcasting Corporation (DR) and first shown in 52 weekly episodes in 1990-91. DR described this Holby as a "medium-sized provincial town, a good hour's drive from Copenhagen".[11]


  1. ^ "Casualty - Fast Facts". BBC Online. Retrieved 17 November 2007.
  2. ^ "A History of Violence". 27. 6 July 2013.
  3. ^ Hilary Kingsley(1995) Casualty The Inside Story, Penguin Books, ISBN 0-14-024902-8
  4. ^ Juliette Garside (21 October 2007). "EastEnders evicted in latest BBC cost cut". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 17 November 2007.
  5. ^ Rachel Silver(1998) Casualty, Behind The Scenes, BBC Books, ISBN 0-563-38467-0
  6. ^ "Casualty Filming Locations, IMDB". URL last accessed 22 April 2008
  7. ^ "Press Office - BBC confirms Casualty move from Bristol to Cardiff area". BBC. Retrieved 26 March 2009.
  8. ^ "Roath Lock Studios - Casualty". BBC Wales. Archived from the original on 11 September 2011. Retrieved 12 September 2011.
  9. ^ "Clive Haddrell Paramedic Advisor, Great Western Ambulance Service, IMDB". URL last accessed 22 April 2008
  10. ^ "Casualty Characters". URL last accessed 21 April 2008
  11. ^ Ugeavisen on the DR archive site Bonanza Archived 22 July 2015 at the Wayback Machine