BBC1 medical drama Casualty is to mark its 30th anniversary by crashing a helicopter into the emergency department.
Lives will put at risk in the aftermath of the disaster, which will be caused by a drone hitting an air ambulance that is ferrying patients back from a road traffic accident.
Show bosses are keeping tight-lipped about the fate of such Casualty favourites as Connie, her daughter Grace, Jacob and Charlie, although all will be revealed in the feature-length special set to air on Saturday 27 August.
Producer Erika Hossington said of the upcoming drama: “We’ve been working with the Association of Air Ambulances for about seven months on the storyline because we knew dramatically what we wanted to do, but we felt a huge responsibility.
“Every accident we feature in the show has always happened for real – so we have to apply huge sensitivity to that. They came in to meet with us and we had various ideas about how the helicopter could crash and the drone suggestion came from them.
“It’s not happened in the UK before but it has happened elsewhere, and it is something the service is incredibly worried about.”
The helicopter disaster will hit Holby just as show stalwart Charlie Fairhead (Derek Thompson) is celebrating his own 30th anniversary as a nurse in the ED. But current staff plus old favourites Josh and Duffy will end up pulling together in the face of adversity.
Executive producer Oliver Kent commented: “It’s like a massive shop window opportunity for us to say – this is what we do at Casualty. Because we do stunts. It’s not wildly out of the ballpark of what we normally do, it’s just much more concentrated. It’s for 110 minutes and it’s got a score.
“And I think that if people watch it and then watch the next episode, they’re not going to be disappointed.”