BBC iPlayer is celebrating 30 years of Casualty with an exclusive Back to Ours special.
BBC One’s long-running medical drama first aired way back in 1986. Three decades later, two cast members who were there at the beginning – Cathy Shipton (Duffy) and Derek Thompson (Charlie) – hop on the medical beds for an episode of iPlayer’s Gogglebox-style series, which sees the actors relive the stunts, explosions, emotional storylines and Hollywood guest stars from Casualty’s archives. The show sees them revisit their Casualty filming days, from Bristol to Cardiff and Lapland to Cambodia.
Chatting to Cathy as they take a trip down memory lane, Derek Thompson recalls memories from the first series: “Do you remember the wonderful speech that Geraint Morris made after the first read-through – he said ‘right, the audition is over, it’s yours now. It’s up to you, take it, have it’. What a feller, happy days.”
“I don’t know what my agent was trying to tell me, but just about every show I did for three years I got shot in. They keep trying to shoot me; it’s the only way they’ll get me out of the show. They keep trying to kill me off, genuinely,” he adds.
Shipton, who re-joined the show in June this year as a regular cast member, comments: “It did feel like it was going to be a thorn in someone’s side at the start. It caused ructions in the House of Commons. Edwina Currie stood up, there were questions in the House, and it was on the front of the Observer. Our show was pro NHS and public service, and you were the union leader.”
Derek also remembers when Kate Winslet played a guest role in series seven of Casualty: “She was very young, she was exceptional. She worked like hell, and when she was in front of the camera she was so relaxed, so to the point that actually you’d find that those who had a great deal more experience, she’d brought their game up. I’m so pleased she’s so successful.”
Previous episodes of the Back to Ours series have received 4.6 million views on BBC iPlayer to date. This episode is available on BBC iPlayer now, until Friday 19th September.