Casualty star Cathy Shipton on the 30th anniversary – I’m surprised that it’s lasted so long

The actress - who will be on screen tonight as nurse Duffy - also teases the big birthday episode shocks

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Casualty actress Cathy Shipton has been speaking of her shock at seeing the BBC1 medical drama celebrate its 30th anniversary.

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The series star – who is in action as nurse Duffy during tonight’s feature-length special – said: “I’m flabbergasted that the show is still here after 30 years. As an actor, usually you start a job and then you’re just off to the next one.

“Whether they call this continuing drama now, or a soap drama, Casualty is a serious piece of dramatic endeavour. So I’m quite surprised that it’s lasted so long, but wonderfully so.

“We did have a hiccup after the second series because it was all axed for being a bit too political, but then it was reinstated.”

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This evening’s episode will see a helicopter crash into the hospital just as Holby stalwart Charlie Fairhead (Derek Thompson) is marking his own three-decade stint in the ED.

In the face of huge adversity, Charlie will be seen joining forces with the likes of Duffy and returnee paramedic Josh (Ian Bleasdale) to save the injured.

On the topic of what viewers can expect to see, Shipton added:  “The focus of the episode, forgetting the dramatic turn of events, is that it’s to celebrate Charlie’s 30 years in nursing. That’s what Duffy has turned up to do.

“Throughout the episode, people from Charlie’s past are either coming up in person or in video messages to wish him well. So it is the happiest day and the darkest hour, because there’s a spin in it. It doesn’t work out as they all planned.”

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You can watch the trailer for tonight’s Casualty below. The 30th anniversary episode will air on BBC1 at 8pm.