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Olga Fedori (Frieda Petrenko, 'Holby City')

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Frieda Petrenko from Holby City

© BBC

Ukrainian-born actress Olga Fedori has proved to be one of the most memorable new additions to Holby City in the past year, quickly establishing herself as a fan favourite in the role of straight-talking nurse Frieda Petrenko. After eight months on screen, the star is now in the running for the 'Best Newcomer' prize at this year's National Television Awards, which take place in London on Wednesday evening. Olga recently chatted to DS about the recognition and what's ahead for Frieda.

How does it feel to be in the running for 'Best Newcomer'?
"To be honest, I had no idea that I was in the running for a while! I was on a break and I'd been learning how to surf in Cornwall, so when I got back somebody just gave me a hug in the corridor and I didn't know why. They said to me, 'You're nominated for this award' and I was like, 'What award?' I had no clue! But it was fun and really exciting - especially it being such a surprise."

How would it feel to win the award?
"I have no idea - we'll find out if it happens in London! (Laughs) I'd have a lot of people to thank, so I hope I wouldn't forget anybody. As it's a public vote, to win would mean that you'd have a lot of support that you're not really aware of. You do the job, but I have a difficult time imagining how many people are watching and how many people it affects. It's only when you get fan mail, comments on fansites or other communication from fans that you realise what your work actually does. So I suppose winning the award would just show how many people you reach. It's a great honour that people give up an hour per week to watch you, as it's an hour of their lives."

If you had to give a plea for why people should vote for you, what would you say?
"The only reason they should vote is if they watch the show, enjoy the performance and enjoy what I do with the character. I'd love to have their vote, but that's the only reason why they should vote. I don't know the statistics, but it seems that people vote a lot more for things in the entertainment industry than they do in politics now. From what I can gather, people are voting a lot for Strictly Come Dancing and X Factor - maybe because it touches people a lot more in a lot of ways. So I guess if people care, they will vote! I'll keep my fingers crossed."

Are there any particular scenes of yours that you'd like people to bear in mind as they decide who to vote for?
"Yeah, there's quite a few of those. I think the first would be from an episode called 'Transgressions', where Frieda deals with a racist guy in a very creative way by sticking a sunflower up his ass! So I really liked that one! (Laughs) I think that had a really subtle and human lesson in it. I love all of the human interactions in the role, and I always remember the guest artists that I work with most. I think the episode where we find out that Frieda is a trained doctor is another one that I quite like. And I think one of the last ones would be where she gets fired and she decides to go for the F1 position. So those are the episodes that I remember most out of the ones that have already come out."

Will the NTAs be the first time that you've attended a big awards ceremony?
"Yeah, in terms of a really big event, I've never been to anything like that before. I think it'll be pretty exciting. I'm taking my mum and a friend, so we'll hold hands and we'll be alright!"

As an actress, how important do you think it is to win awards?
"Well, I've won awards before but never really attended a big awards ceremony. It's definitely pleasant to win an award - I've just got a big board that says 'Best Actress' from a festival in Brazil, so my mum's happy with that! So it's nice and it could help your profile. But I'm really not a veteran in this circle - I've only been acting since I graduated, which is five years ago now, so I'm quite a newbie."

Why do you think Frieda has become so popular among the Holby fans?
"From what I gather and from the fan mail that I've received, people seem to find inspiration and support from her being able to follow who she is and the way she doesn't get tangled up or affected by other people's reactions to her. I think it's her ability to stay who she is no matter what, even though sometimes she does get annoyed. She's quite settled with herself and happy with who she is, and quite clueless, and courageous in some ways, to just do exactly what she wants! Another thing that I get from people is that they like the way she has no filter in her head at all when it comes to hierarchy - she would talk to anybody the exact same way, be it a queen, a janitor, or anybody! She doesn't make any adjustments. So those are the two things that I've gathered the most."

How would you sum up your experience at Holby so far?
"It's been quite thrilling when I've not been too exhausted from work hours! I've really enjoyed it and it's been a hell of a learning curve trying to keep creative subtleties in the performance when you're working on that kind of schedule and that amount of scripts. I've never worked on a long-running show before, so the main challenge is to make sure that you don't compromise when it comes to the details, refreshing yourself and remembering what your character stands for. It's hard, but I try my best!"

What can we expect from Frieda this year?
"I think it's going to be quite different this year. She's going to be stepping into a different role, as she's decided to be a doctor, so we'll see her tackling a very different position. She won't be able to hide behind being a nurse and someone else having the rest of the responsibility, because it's at the doctor where the buck stops. So now she's going to have most of the responsibility for her patients. But don't expect her to be toned down in any way! I think we'll also be fleshing out more of Frieda's character. I'd love to see more of her life outside of the hospital - to explore what she does in her spare time, because she definitely has a very rich life outside of the hospital, as far as I'm concerned!"

> Click here to read more from Olga Fedori in Soap Scoop

Cast your votes for the National Television Awards by clicking here. Olga is nominated in the 'Best Newcomer' category alongside Coronation Street's Paula Lane, EastEnders' Ricky Norwood and Emmerdale's Marc Silcock. Get the Inside Soap magazine on your iPhone or iPad

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