Harry Harper is a consultant in emergency medicine and the former Clinical Lead of Holby City Hospital's emergency department. He joined the department in 2002 as Clinical Lead and held the role until he left six years later.
Charismatic, authoritative and chivalrous, Harry was a father figure to the ED team, despite his own troubled personal life. On Harry's first day at Holby he ran into his old flame Selena. Delighted to see her he invited her to dinner that evening, cancelling a driving lesson with his teenage daughter, Tally. Tally persuaded her mother to take her instead but they were involved in an accident and her mum died. Harry took his sadness out on Tally and developed a problem with anti-depressants, forging prescriptions to obtain them.
Time in the emergency department (2002-08)
Harry begins working at Holby City Hospital in June 2002. He is pleased when his old flame Selena Donovan arrives to carry out a drugs trial in the department, and invites her to dinner. He cancels a driving lesson with his teenage daughter Tally, who asks her mother Beth to take her instead. They crash, and Beth is fatally injured. Harry blames Tally for the accident and develops an anti-depressant dependency, forging senior house officer Lara Stone's signature to prescribe himself drugs.
Harry clashes with registrar Simon Kaminski over his temperament, suspending him from work. In revenge, Simon begins sleeping with Tally. He learns that Harry has been self-prescribing and attempts to blackmail him. Lara notices the strained atmosphere between them, and Harry confides in her that he needs help, accepting her support. He misinterprets Lara's kindness, however, and tells her he is in love with her. His feelings go un-reciprocated, and Harry is angry when Lara sleeps with paramedic Luke Warren. On an outdoor pursuit day for management training, Harry leaves the marked route and becomes trapped in a cave. Simon rescues him, incurring a spinal injury in the process.
Several weeks later, Harry discovers that Lara has begun a relationship with Simon. Tally takes the news badly and behaves erratically, leaving Harry no choice but to suspend her on the anniversary of Beth's death. When Simon mocks her, Tally attempts suicide by taking an overdose. She recovers, but Harry realises he has been neglecting her and takes her on holiday. Lara and Simon become engaged, but Harry discovers he has been cheating on her, taking Lara away from the venue on her wedding day. Simon dies in a plane crash en route to the wedding, and Lara disappoints Harry by moving to Australia.
Selena returns to the department in 2004, having married since her last meeting with Harry. When she is stabbed in the hospital car park, Harry realises he still has feelings for her, but Selena cuts him off as he tries to tell her. Harry begins a relationship with nurse Ellen Zitek, who becomes pregnant. Harry proposes, believing it is the right thing to do, but Ellen turns him down. It transpires that Ellen had a cancerous molar pregnancy. She is later hit by a motorbike and dies, leaving Harry distraught. He decides to go into politics when the department is threatened with closure, winning the local by-election. Following his last shift at the hospital, Harry and Selena sleep together. Jealous corporate director Nathan Spencer deletes text messages Harry sends to Selena, leading her to believe their night together was a mistake.
After several months in Westminster, Harry returns to the department having arranged for the Secretary of State for Health to visit. Harry and Selena are held at gunpoint by a patient's wife, and Selena declares her love for Harry before taking a bullet for him and dying. Following a bomb scare in the hospital, junior doctor Guppy convinces Harry to return, taking a job as consultant manager. When F2 doctor Ruth Winters attempts suicide, Harry makes her diary—reflecting how the NHS has failed her—public, and is forced to resign.
Behind the scenes
Simon MacCorkindale played Harry Harper in Casualty from 2002 until 2008.