Sacha Levy’s Unorthodox Kindness: Holby City’s Medicine and Pedagogy

Carolann North, Frank Ferguson

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Holby City is a stalwart of British television media. Since its conception in 1999, the show has continued to attract contemporary audiences who tune in to passively, and passionately, experience turbulent battles between life and death. However, the locus of interest is not on the patients within Holby’s wings, but rather the staff themselves; it is their emotional, psychological and pedagogical development which spurs the plot forward and grips viewer attentions. Through the use of medical pedagogy, Holby City becomes a drama of perpetual bildungsromane, where relationships between peers, mentors, and mentees are under consistent pressure. Furthermore, this pedagogy does not merely ensure Holby City’s series continuation but becomes a site of transformation, challenging preconceived ideologies of toxic masculinity. This is never more apparent than in the character of Sacha Levy (Bob Barrett), whose emotional availability, vulnerability, and religious spirituality directly challenge concepts of the self-destructive ‘burnt-out’ male medic.
This article explores the character of Sacha Levy in Holby City, demonstrating how the show’s writers engage actively in research to directly confront stereotypes of toxic masculinity and Jewish underrepresentation in the contemporary medical drama.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-278
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Popular Television
Issue number2
Early online date1 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Jun 2021


  • Pedagogy
  • masculinity
  • Holby City
  • Judaism
  • mental health
  • medical drama
  • television
  • BBC


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