Ruhma Carter (also Hanif) is a fictional character from the BBC soap opera Doctors, portrayed by Bharti Patel. Ruhma's storylines in the programme have included her relationship with, and dealing the subsequent death of Heston Carter (Owen Brenman), dealing with her partial deafness, supporting her children through issues with the police and being suspended from her job.
|Portrayed by||Bharti Patel|
|First appearance||"The Key" |
15 October 2015
|Introduced by||Mike Hobson|
|Other names||Ruhma Hanif|
The BBC described Ruhma as "a midwife who promises to 'deliver' a refreshing perspective on all things pregnancy related." In an interview with the BBC, Patel stated that Ruhma is "a woman's woman", and that Ruhma believes "a pregnant woman will and can have a very joyous and natural experience and that we should embrace the female body". Patel added that she "wants to promote more midwife-led home births, so watch out any doctors at The Mill who don’t agree - Ruhma will give a good fight." Ruhma is introduced as a former colleague of Emma Reid's (Dido Miles), where she acted as her sonographer. Upon her arrival at The Mill, she shared scenes with Valerie Pitman (Sarah Moyle) and Sid Vere (Ashley Rice), where she helps a pregnant patient.
On Ruhma, Patel stated that she is a "good person". She stated that Ruhma's job is important to her, describing it as "her rock", and that "when she was leaving her abusive marriage, raising her kids as a single mum, her husband Heston dying – her job was the one thing she could lose herself in". She also said that "there's a lot of joy in being a midwife, and it's everything to her". After the death of husband Heston, Patel stated that Ruhma is "lonely, and is still relatively young", and would "like the idea of finding love again, but she'd also be nervous". When Ruhma is suspended from her job, Patel noted the tough time that her character has gone through, describing it as "a terrible time". She commented: "She was trying to help someone, and it backfired, and now Carrie and Doug have blamed her for the traumatic birth of their son", and added that Ruhma is "at her lowest".
Upon being asked about Ruhma potentially having a love interest, Patel commented "Honestly, I doubt it; she's a very busy independent woman [...] If it were to happen I think it would be a bolt out the blue, Ruhma isn't looking and it's not on her radar at all." However, when Ruhma saves a pregnant patient of Heston Carter's (Owen Brenman), Ellen Markwardt of What's on TV stated "Ruhma has made a real impression on the GP." However, when Ruhma is introduced to Heston Carter (Owen Brenman), the pair initially dislike each other, resulting in an argument that ends in a kiss.
Ruhma is introduced as a sonographer for Emma Reid (Dido Miles) and Howard Bellamy (Ian Kelsey), and it is explained that her and Emma are former colleagues. Mrs Tembe (Lorna Laidlaw) calls her into The Mill, where Valerie Pitman (Sarah Moyle) insists that there is no record of her meeting. While she argues with Valerie, a pregnant patient of Sid Vere's (Ashley Rice) begins to feel ill, so she treats her. Valerie later calls her and apologises, and Ruhma is called in for another meeting. When Jimmi Clay (Adrian Lewis Morgan) and Heston Carter (Owen Brenman) hear of Ruhma's potential hiring, they disagree, insisting The Mill does not need a residential midwife. However, Mrs Tembe disagrees, and appoints Ruhma as a midwife. Ruhma and Heston attend the theatre together, after which Ruhma asks Karen Hollins (Jan Pearson) if Heston is single; he later takes her on a date to a restaurant. Heston asks Ruhma to his house for dinner, where she explains her housing difficulties. Heston offers to allow her to stay with him, and when he tries to kiss him, she backs away. Ruhma is evicted from her house, so Heston invites Ruhma and her children, Shak (Sunjay Midda) and Alia (Mandy Thandi), to live with him.
Ruhma plans to propose to Heston on her birthday, while Heston has the same idea. He proposes to Ruhma in a restaurant by arranging a Bollywood style dance routine, and she says yes. After the pair become engaged, Shak expresses his unhappiness with the wedding. When Ruhma asks him to give her away at the wedding, he initially refuses, but later agrees. Ruhma receives a tip-off that she could sell furniture from people's estates. She sells the furniture online to make money for the wedding. On their wedding day, the police arrive at the venue and take Ruhma in for questioning. They accuse her of stealing the items and selling them for a monetary gain, to which she refuses, and insists that she had no knowledge of the items being stolen. Heston defends her to the questioning officer, and they eventually believe Ruhma. Due to the ordeal, they are unable to sign the register, meaning they not married legally. They rush to the registry office when there is a cancellation, and sign it. Ruhma is initially unsure whether to use Heston's surname or Hanif, the surname of her ex-husband. She decides to use Khalil, her maiden name, but later decides that she wants to use Carter. When Ruhma mishears Ayesha Lee (Laura Rollins) and Al Haskey (Ian Midlane), she reveals that she is losing her hearing. Heston suggests seeking treatment from a private audiologist, and although she initially disagrees due to working for the NHS, she seeks help.
When Ruhma learns that a nude video of Alia (now Lisa Ambalavanar) and her boyfriend Tariq Amiri (Chaneil Kular) has been posted online, she is embarrassed and infuriated, but supports her. When Tariq is later ran over, the entire Carter family unit are suspected as culprits for the hit and run, but are later cleared by the police. In November 2018, Heston is killed when Al crashes the car. Although she attempts to remain positive for her children, she is devastated. She suggests that The Mill honour Heston's memory by buying a memorial bench for the outside area. When Heston's memorial bench is stolen, Ruhma finds it on a secondhand sale website. She tracks down the seller, Lee Harwood (Matthew Mellahieu), and forces him to reassemble the bench at The Mill, which she later has concreted into the ground. When the COVID-19 pandemic affects Letherbridge, Ruhma is admitted into hospital with symptoms of coronavirus, which she tests positive for. After being on life support, she survives.
While treating a heavily pregnant Carrie Wade (Sarah Ovens), Carrie's fiancé Doug Machin (Michael Hobbs) flirts with her on numerous occasions, but Ruhma declines his advances. While on a house visit, Doug kisses her and Ruhma backs away, while Carrie watches. Carrie assumes that Ruhma kissed Doug, and Doug lies by affirming her claims, leading to Carrie filing a report against Ruhma. She is suspended, and an investigation into Ruhma's competency takes place. Grahame McKenna (Paul Bazely), who leads the investigation, is unable to find a consensus, and leaves her suspended for months. While suspended, Ruhma allows one of her patients, Tanya Rees (Leila Mimmack), to stay at her house due to formerly being in an abusive relationship. Deborah Kovak is hired in Ruhma's place as a temporary midwife, who discovers that Ruhma has allowed Tanya to stay at her house. Deborah reports Ruhma so that she can take her job role permanently, but when Zara Carmichael (Elisabeth Dermot Walsh) discovers this, she asks Deborah to leave The Mill, and helps Ruhma to have her position reinstated.
- "Ruhma Hanif". BBC. Archived from the original on 4 November 2020. Retrieved 2 January 2020.
- "Bharti Patel interview". BBC. Archived from the original on 11 January 2020. Retrieved 11 January 2020.
- Markwardt, Ellen (6 October 2015). "Howard takes Emma to her first scan". What's on TV. Archived from the original on 12 January 2020. Retrieved 12 January 2020.
- "Ruhma helps a trouble patient". What's on TV. 15 October 2015. Archived from the original on 12 January 2020. Retrieved 12 January 2020.
- ""Is George Clooney free to play Ruhma's new man?" asks Doctors star Bharti Patel". Inside Soap. Archived from the original on 19 May 2020. Retrieved 31 July 2020.
- Markwardt, Ellen (6 October 2015). "Emma and Howard kiss!". What's on TV. Archived from the original on 12 January 2020. Retrieved 12 January 2020.
- "Heston and Ruhma kiss!". What's on TV. 27 October 2015. Archived from the original on 12 January 2020. Retrieved 12 January 2020.