Casualty favourites Charlie Fairhead (Derek Thompson) and Connie Beauchamp (Amanda Mealing) are to leave the environs of Holby A&E for an upcoming episode set in Romania.
Viewers will see the pair travel to Bucharest after learning that Charlie’s drug addict son Louis has been beaten up and is currently being treated in hospital. But both Charlie and Connie will be placed in danger as they try to discover the reasons for the attack on Louis.
“It was a dream to do,” says actor Derek Thompson, who plays show stalwart Charlie. “It’s a real action adventure and I’m massively pleased with the result. It’s a real rough diamond and it tells the story beautifully.”
For executive producer Oliver Kent, the decision to temporarily take the show away from its hub in Cardiff wasn’t one he took lightly. “We get a bit nervous about taking Casualty out of its precinct because it can look a bit odd to see really established characters away from their normal environment. But, in the case of this storyline, it does feel earned.”
For Thompson – who has played the role of Charlie since the show’s inception in 1986 – the story also gave him the opportunity to tap into something new. “I had a friend whose daughter was an addict. So I had the second-hand experience of him dealing with that. I knew what he went through, so it felt like a natural thing to address. And I have two sons of my own, so it was an easy place to go to.”
And after nearly three decades on the emergency ward, the actor’s passion for Casualty certainly remains undiminished. “Casualty is the kind of thing that I always wanted to do as an actor. Issue drama that’s not highbrow and which is for a working class audience. It’s immediate. It’s of today. And if you went back 30 years and asked me whether I’d do it all again, I’d definitely say yes.”