Casualty spoilers: Jeff Collier is killed off in shock twist as actor Matt Bardock exits the series

"The funeral is really emotional and Dixie isn’t sure if she can face going," a show insider tells RadioTimes.com

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Paramedic Jeff Collier (Matt Bardock) has lost his life during surprise scenes just broadcast in tonight’s Casualty.

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Jeff, who has been a staple on the series for seven years, was seen attending the scene of a car crash that had put the lives of several regular characters in jeopardy, only to die in the closing minutes as the vehicle exploded. Just to add extra poignancy to an already tragic situation, Jeff was planning to propose to fellow paramedic Tamzin Bayle (Gemma Atkinson) at the time of his death.

The high-stakes episode had seen Connie (Amanda Mealing) and her staff members involved in a serious road traffic collision. Jeff and Dixie (Jane Hazlegrove) rushed to the scene and managed to get the likes of Ash (Patrick Robinson) and Lily (Crystal Yu) to safety before Jeff was caught in the blast.

In the wake of Jeff’s death, his surviving colleagues will be left reeling during scenes to be shown next week.

“Jeff’s death has a huge impact on the team at the ED – they can’t believe he’s gone,” a show insider told RadioTimes.com. “They all struggle with their grief differently and some with guilt, while Connie tries to hold everyone together. The funeral is really emotional and Dixie isn’t sure if she can face going…”

Jeff – who was first seen on screen in February 2007 – has had an eventful time on the series, having married colleague Dixie in order to keep her dying dad happy, suffered with PTSD after attending the massacre at Holby College and was recently trapped behind bars during the Holby prison riots.

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Executive producer Oliver Kent said Jeff’s exit: “Matt Bardock has given us one of Casualty’s all-time favourite characters and we are sad to see him go. Jeff Collier has been an iconic action hero for seven years and we have been so lucky to have had him on our team for so long. We wish him all the very best for the future.”