Earlier this year, the long-running hospital drama celebrated its 30th anniversary. When the show started back in 1986, I doubt many would have imagined it could last this long. Watching staff nurse, Charlie Fairhead drive through Bristol in his mini for a shift at Holby A+E, there is still a sense of nostalgia, with Derek Thompson still gracing the wards as the much loved character. Thompson has seen hundreds of cast members come and go, and a move from Bristol to Cardiff, but Charlie still seems invincible.
1004 episodes later, Casualty is preparing for its big, feature length episode, airing on Saturday 27th August. The last episode ended with a huge cliffhanger, seeing consultant Connie Beauchamp and her daughter being forced off the road and over the edge of a cliff. Their fates left hanging in the balance, this will clearly have a huge impact on the staff at the hospital on a day that should be one of celebration, celebrating Charlie’s 30th anniversary.
Of course, staff members at Holby always seem to be in peril, with many being killed off through major disasters and angry patients. Until recently, very few members of staff got away from the show with a happy ending. However, that was the joy in Casualty. You felt for the characters and their troubles, while trying to cope with long demanding shifts, and each major character death felt like a hammer blow.
Another major feature on Casualty was the famous cameos. Many actors and actresses have made appearances in Casualty before going on to big things. Kate Winslet, in particular, appeared on the show at the age of 17. Most recently, Star Wars star, Daisy Ridley was seen in a 2013 episode. Some actors have appeared as minor characters, to come back as main members of staff years later.
In 1999, the inevitable spinoff was created, Holby City. Set in the nursing wards upstairs in the hospital, we met a new group of characters in a very different situation. With the spinoff came big crossover episodes, where the two casts collide to work together through the latest emergency. When a lorry crashes into the hospital, the casts find themselves fighting to survive, while trying to get as many patients out as possible. Even after all of this, the hospital still stands, 30 years after it came onto our screen and members come and go through the revolving door.
Casualty stands as the longest running medical tv show in the world. Despite numerous changes to its scheduling, the show clearly still brings in an audience. The repercussions that are bound to come from the huge episode at the weekend have been said to set in motion storylines for the next two years. Clearly the writers are not letting up and intend to keep Casualty on our TV screens with hard-hitting, relevant storylines and relatable characters.
Creators: Jeremy Brock and Paul Unwin
Cast: Derek Thompson, Suzanne Parker, Ian Bleasdale, Jane Hazlegrove, Tony Marshall, Charles Dale, Sunetra Sarker and Matt Bardock
Number of Episodes: 1004