Medical drama Holby City has finished after 23 years on screen with an emotional final episode which celebrated the spirit of the NHS.

A number of past characters appeared in Tuesday’s finale which saw the death of surgeon Jac Naylor, played by Rosie Marcel who has appeared in the show since 2005, following a long-running storyline about the effects of a brain tumour.

The episode showed the dedication of colleagues who tried to save her and also highlighted the lives that can be saved and enriched through organ donations.

It also featured the reappearance of past characters including Ric Griffin, played by Hugh Quarshie, and Mo Effanga, played by Chizzy Akudolu.

The drama was filmed at the BBC Elstree Centre in Borehamwood.

After the show aired, Akudolu tweeted: "This is actually breaking my heart. Holby meant so much to so many people, including me. I’m in bits. Didn’t think it would affect me like this…"

She added: "Thank you Holby City for changing my life."

Catherine Russell, who reprised her role as Serena Campbell, tweeted a series of photos from her time on the show, adding: "It really was like family."

While Dawn Steele, who plays Ange Godard, tweeted: "Thank you, what an amazing job it was. So sad. What a message though – thank you NHS."

Lucinda Dryzek, who played Jac Naylor’s sister Jasmine Burrows, posted: "To all the Holby family, you really were the best. And you will be truly missed. And I’m so grateful to have been a part of it."

Olivia Colman, Jodie Comer and Michael Fassbender have all appeared in past episodes of the medical drama.

The Casualty spin-off, which was created by Tony McHale and Mal Young, debuted in 1999.

The drama followed the lives of staff at the fictional Holby City Hospital, the same hospital as Casualty.

The BBC announced last year that it had made the "difficult decision" to bring the show to a close in order to "reshape the BBC’s drama slate to better reflect, represent and serve all parts of the country".

It stated that this was to help "make room for new opportunities" as part of the broadcaster’s "commitment to make more programmes across the UK".