To mark CASUALTY’s 20th Anniversary this month, Series 21 starts with a two-part special set in Cambodia.
Fans are also delighted to see the welcome return of Duffy, who has made appearances in 15 of the 21 series. The ex-Holby nurse has now set up a clinic in the Southeast Asian country and calls upon her old friend Charlie, who flies over with Comfort, Abs and Guppy to lead the team. They find themselves battling to save lives without the aid of the hi-tech equipment they’re accustomed to back home. We take a look at what’s in store during the first two episodes…
Charlie & Duffy
Viewers will see Duffy with a new partner, Mike, and working in a Cambodian clinic, which she has joined since splitting with Security Guard Ryan whom she started a new life in New Zealand with. She is delighted to see Charlie, with whom she is still close to but Charlie is wary to make sure Mike is the right man for her, since Ryan let her down and makes Duffy also question who she should be with. And with the spark between Charlie and Duffy still alive, fans will have to wait and see what happens. ‘There is a spark between her and Charlie, but I don’t want to say too much,’ reveals Cathy. ‘When we did our first scenes, everybody went quiet. I thought ‘oh no what is wrong?’ But it turned out they were really moved. They said that something happens on screen between our characters as there is such empathy and friendship’. Cathy was delighted at the chance to return to the show, ‘You could have knocked me down with a feather when I got that call!’ she continued. ‘It was mad, I couldn’t believe it. The idea did excite me though and I thought it would be really adventurous. I loved the thought of reuniting with Derek for it. That was fantastic. We have kept in touch ever since I left and we are great friends. But it was great to work together again. And playing Duffy again was also brilliant, especially in such a different environment.’ She also hasn’t ruled out returning to the show in future, ‘I’d think about doing another big storyline in Casualty or being a semi regular – but I don’t think I would move lock, stock and barrel back to Bristol, where Casualty is filmed’. Derek Thompson also enjoyed filming in Cambodia concluding ‘If the excellence of a country is measured by the people who live there, Cambodia would top the list. We didn’t just make an episode out there, we made many new friends’.
Comfort and Abs are sent to the house of a woman in labour and although they deliver the baby safely, the mother doesn’t make it. After the emotional birth of the baby, Comfort becomes attached to the newborn and wants to look after the child herself. But when the baby’s family insist they’ll take care of the new arrival, Comfort faces a tearful goodbye. Actress Martina Laird was delighted when she heard she would be filming in Cambodia, ‘I had to try really hard to stop myself from gloating infront of the cast members who weren’t asked to go to Cambodia,’ she laughs. ‘I’ve always wanted to travel to that part of the world so I was thrilled to be going.’ Martina continued, ‘That said, the environment was often difficult to work in – the producers wanted us to film against a backdrop of the beautiful Cambodia landscape, and that meant long days out in the sunshine with no cover at all. The temperature was in the high 30’s which made it tough. And ofcourse, the storylines we had to tackle were very typical of CASUALTY and proved a real challenge for everyone.’
Abs & Guppy
Guppy and Abs waste no time in checking out the area. But Guppy gets more than he bargains for when he goes for a massage! Later when a young boy, Chan, falls out of a tree while trying to impress the English visitors, Guppy is called upon to perform life-saving surgery. But without the medical tools usually available to him, the medic has to phone his boss Harry Harper back in Holby to be talked through the tricky procedure. James Redmond added that he felt privileged to have taken part in the Cambodian episodes. ‘I’m really honoured, we spent two and a half weeks in Cambodia. It was the most fantastic experience as the people, the wildlife and the scenery took my breath away. It was humbling as they have nothing by our standards yet they seem so happy.’
Whilst back at Holby…
Maggie and Harry are learning to work with a Cambodian doctor, Somnang who is shadowing the staff in an exchange. Maggie is not amused when Harry palms the doctor onto her but in the second episode their relationship takes an unexpected turn. Meanwhile the ward later become chaos following an accident resulting in a bus full of school children crashing.