Julia Parsons

Julia Parsons (also McGuire) is a fictional character from the BBC soap opera Doctors, portrayed by Diane Keen. She made her first appearance on 13 January 2003,[1] and departed the show on 18 May 2012, after nine years of appearing in the series.[2] On 21 November 2019, it was announced that Keen would be reprising her role as Julia in March 2020 for the 20th anniversary of Doctors.[3] She returned from 25 to 27 March 2020.

Julia Parsons
Julia Parsons 2020.jpg
Doctors character
Portrayed byDiane Keen
Duration2003–2012, 2020
First appearance"A Dignified Exit"
13 January 2003 (2003-01-13)
Last appearance"Back to the Future"
27 March 2020 (2020-03-27)
Introduced byMal Young
ClassificationFormer; regular
  • Receptionist
  • Practice manager


Julia begins working on reception at the Riverside Practice (later renamed to The Mill) in January 2003, alongside ex-husband Mac McGuire (Christopher Timothy). The two begin their relationship again, which leads to Mac proposing to Julia, which subsequently leads them to get married for a second time. Julia catches Mac kissing his ex-wife Kate McGuire (Maggie Cronin), and forces them to leave with their son to Ireland. Julia, now divorced in 2007, buys Mac's share of The Mill, and becomes the Practice Manager. In May 2007, Julia reluctantly dismisses her friend Donna Parmar (Martha Howe-Douglas) due to a breach of patient confidentiality. Donna is replaced with another of Julia's friends, Vivien March (Anita Carey). In May 2009, Julia persuades mentally ill colleague Ruth Pearce (Selina Chilton) to move in with her due to her instability, where Julia cares for her until Ruth returns to work. In 2010, Julia supports nurse Michelle Corrigan (Donnaleigh Bailey) when she chose to work as an army nurse in Afghanistan. Michelle's mother, Vera Corrigan (Doña Croll), was angry with Julia as Vera blames Julia for Michelle's enlisting. Months later, Julia falls ill with symptoms of delusions and confusion; later diagnosed as Lyme disease. Whilst at home recovering from the disease, she becomes the victim of sexual assault by colleague Charlie Bradfield (Philip McGough), who is later reported and dismissed from The Mill for misconduct.

In 2012, Julia meets garage owner Martin Millar (Miles Anderson). After parking her car in the way of his garage and therefore meeting, the two begin dating. After the couple begin not to trust each other through various acts, the two break up. They later get back together, but when Julia googles Martin and finds out that he was accused of arson, they end their relationship. Martin later reveals that he has had five wives, and that he had a daughter with his third, Sarah. Julia is stunned by this, and rejects Martin. She meets up with Martin again, but when Martin says that he wants to retire and move to Wales, she once again rejects him, as she does not want this. They keep arguing about this, and whilst they are, their car crashes with another vehicle, and they are both knocked unconscious. Martin and Julia survive, and the two embrace. Julia's son Patrick (Alan McKenna) arrives, wanting to take her to his house, so she can recover.[4] However, after thinking about whether or not she wants a future with Martin, she decides she does, and goes to live with him in Wales.



It's about the biggest stunt we’ve done on Doctors. It’s really quite horrendous and it’s the ultimate cliffhanger. So it was great to be involved in that. It was filmed on one of the worst stormy days. So that made things a bit difficult. But it also made it look better, so much more dramatic. So it’s not looking good for Julia and Martin. Julia has been fighting him off because she doesn’t want to get hurt again. But Martin has a secret weapon – he makes her laugh. Anyone who can make Julia laugh is quids in.

— Diane Keen on her Doctors departure storyline and relationship with Martin.[5]

After Keen made the decision to leave the soap after nine years, Miles Anderson was cast, playing Martin, to coincide with the departure of Julia.[2] Digital Spy said of her departure storyline; "Fans should also keep an eye out for a possible new love interest for Julia when she gets to know garage owner Martin Millar in a few weeks' time. It sounds like there's lots on the way for Julia in the next few weeks".[6] Keen said of Martin's and Julia's relationship; "She's fighting it all the way, because she's had so many disastrous relationships in her life, so now she tends to take the negative point of view towards how something will turn out. Martin's really great because he won't take any nonsense and he's not taking no for an answer. He's forcing Julia to really give it a shot, and she needs that. She's obviously very attracted to him, too, so they could be very good together".[2] Of the car stunt she said that it was filmed "on a mad, stormy, windy, rainy day". She called the stunt "phenomenal" and "amazing" saying, "In the end the scenes looked incredible because of that. It was very exciting for everybody, as we don't often get to do stunts like that on Doctors".[2]


In November 2019, Doctors began filming for the 20th anniversary, and it was announce that as part of the celebrations for the milestone, Keen would return in March 2020.[7]

When I was asked to come back to Doctors, it was a no-brainer, I almost said yes before the sentence was finished! It was very exciting to be a part of the anniversary episode, and I was delighted to do it. It's been heaven! It was surreal stepping back on to the set again this time, Julia walks into The Mill looking around and seeing all these changes, and it was the same for me. But I walked in as Diane, and the next thing I knew, Julia was taking over. It's kind of like muscle memory – after playing her for nearly 10 years, you slip right back into it.

— Diane Keen on her return to Doctors.[8]

Julia is reintroduced when a documentary is being made about The Mill, to film a segment.[9] She also supports Jimmi Clay (Adrian Lewis Morgan) with adjusting to normal life after his release from prison.[9]


For her portrayal of Julia, Keen was nominated in the category of "Best Actress" at the 2005 and 2011 British Soap Awards.[10] The character was selected as one of the "top 100 British soap characters" by industry experts for a poll to be run by What's on TV, with readers able to vote for their favourite character to discover "Who is Soap's greatest Legend?"[11] Julia's car crash was nominated for the "Spectacular Scene of the Year" award at The British Soap Awards 2013.


  1. ^ "Julia Parsons". Doctors. BBC Online. Archived from the original on 20 February 2019. Retrieved 22 December 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d Kilkelly, Daniel (9 May 2012). "'Doctors' Diane Keen talks Julia Parsons exit - interview". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines UK. Archived from the original on 18 August 2012. Retrieved 6 September 2012.
  3. ^ Doctors [@BBCDoctors] (21 November 2019). "We started filming on our 20th anniversary episode today, and we're so excited to welcome Diane Keen (@thisisdianekeen) aka Julia Parsons back to Doctors!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  4. ^ "Julia's torn between Martin and Patrick". What's on TV. IPC Media. 15 May 2012. Archived from the original on 5 May 2013. Retrieved 6 September 2012.
  5. ^ "Goodbye Julia! Diane Keen leaves Doctors". What's on TV. IPC Media. 4 May 2012. Archived from the original on 29 May 2012. Retrieved 28 October 2012.
  6. ^ Kilkelly, Daniel (12 March 2012). "'Emmerdale' fire, 'Hollyoaks' Joel, Corrie reveal - Soap Scoop Q&A". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines UK. Archived from the original on 16 May 2012. Retrieved 6 September 2012.
  7. ^ @BBCDoctors (21 November 2019). "We started filming on our 20th anniversary episode today, and we're so excited to welcome Diane Keen (@thisisdianekeen) aka Julia Parsons back to Doctors!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  8. ^ ""Coming back has been heaven!" says Diane Keen as Julia returns to Doctors". Inside Soap. Archived from the original on 17 March 2020. Retrieved 19 March 2020.
  9. ^ a b Writer: Toby Walton; Director: Niall Fraser; Producer: Dawn Coulson-Beckett (26 March 2020). "A Day in the Life...". Doctors. BBC. BBC One. Archived from the original on 19 March 2020. Retrieved 19 March 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. ^ Berrett, Caroline (8 May 2005). "Soap baubles; Corrie beauty Nikki sparkles in pounds 100k gems". The People. (Trinity Mirror). Archived from the original on 5 December 2012. Retrieved 18 August 2011.
  11. ^ "Who is Soaps' Greatest Legend?". What's on TV. IPC Media. Archived from the original on 5 December 2012. Retrieved 8 July 2012.

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