2004 has been another dramatic year for the staff in the ED department, which ended in the recent Christmas crossover with HOLBY CITY. An oil tanker crashed into the Nightingale Wing which left a number of characters battling to escape the inferno.
As usual there were a number of departures this year; Simon Kaminski, Fin Newton, Jim Brodie and Baz all left us in a coffin, while Tally and Nikki both had near-deaths before eventually quitting the series.
CASUALTY also notched up it’s highest number of weddings this year but not all went to plan; Nikki dumped Jim at the altar in January, Lara dumped Simon on her wedding day after finding out about his infidelity and Ellen blackmailed Abs into marriage so she could stay in the country. Only Fin and Comfort managed a magical wedding, however their happiness was to be shortlived.
We take a look at some of the highs and lows in CASUALTY of 2004…
BEST 10 STORYLINES OF 2004
1. Lara/ Simon love story – the relationship between the pair has always been rocky. Infact when they were first introduced, they couldn’t stand eachother. But with love and hate closely linked, their bond became closer after a near-death experience in underground caves. They started to date, however the cave accident left Simon with scars needing drugs to overcome his anxiety. At first hiding the news from Lara, when she found out she agreed to support him. But it was his infidelity on his stag night due to the pressures he was facing that led to their demise. Lara dumped him as he flew over by helicopter to their wedding day venue. Jim lost control of the plane and Simon died after being caught in the explosion. Christopher Colquhoun said of Simon’s behaviour, ‘In a way I feel it’s a shame Simon leaves this CASUALTY earth still painted the bad guy. There are times when I’ve understood why he has behaved like an idiot, and tried to defend his errant behaviour, but even I was at a loss to comprehend why he was unfaithful to Lara before their wedding.’
2. Abs/ Ellen wedding sham – With Abs caring and naive nature, it could only have been him that would fall for Ellen’s manipulative schemes. After telling him she was desperate to stay in the country as she didn’t want to return home to the Ukraine to her father’s abuse – Abs put pay to his relationship with her step-sister Nina by supporting Ellen. Things got worse when Ellen asked Abs to marry her and when he makes a mistake with patient, she blackmails him into going through with the wedding. Georgina Bouzova says of her character, ‘Ellen is manipulative, stubborn and selfish. She can be very charming and uses this to get what she wants. She is a little minx!’
3. Fin’s murder – When Kwame decided to quit CASUALTY to pursue other projects, he told the producers he didn’t mind if they killed off Fin, as long as he didn’t have an on-screen death. That led to the story of Fin going missing and his body was eventually found – having been murdered by Karl Ackerman. Karl blamed Fin for the death of his wife, when he refused to help him as he was needed at a fire elsewhere. The biggest shock came when a woman, Ruth turned up claiming to be his wife – is this the Fin we knew and wanted to remember?
4. Baz – return & death – Fans were delighted to hear that Charlie’s ex-wife Baz was to be making a return to Holby, however it was soon to be shortlived when it was revealed that she was to be killed off in a car crash. But it was pleasing to see she did reunite with Charlie under the Northern Lights of Lapland before her tragic end. ‘Charlie has always known that Baz is the love of his life,’ added Derek Thompson.
5. Roxy/ surrogacy – Single Mum and poorly paid nurse Roxanne went to desperate measures for money. Deciding to become a surrogate mother for couple Adam and Julie. Of Roxy’s past, Loo Brealey said, ‘She was very young for her age and had a big problem with authority. She hid the fact that she had a baby from the rest of the staff and was in denial about being a mother. But, after hitting rock bottom and abandoning Nicole in a baby-changing facility overnight, she began to face up to her responsibilities and get her life straightened out.’ But things didn’t go to plan with her second pregnancy, when she went into labour early and gave birth to baby William. At first the parents rejected William when his disabilities were discovered, leaving Roxy forced into bonding with the baby she was to give away. But when they decided to keep William, Roxy was able to say her goodbyes.
6. Tally/ downfall – When Harry’s daughter joined the department at the beginning of Series 18 it wasn’t long before she had her eyes on Simon Kaminski – but she picked the wrong guy to fall in love with. After he dumped her and started dating Lara – a fragile Tally, who had only recently lost her mother, began a bitter attack on Simon and Lara. Her downfall led to a suicide attempt. Holly Davidson said ‘Tally truly believes he loves her and wants to be with her and, when it begins to affect her relationship with her father, she rebels further’
7. Kidnap/ Nikki exit – In one of the most popular episodes of Series 18 ‘World Gone Wrong’ – Lara and Nikki find themselves kidnapped after a robbery. Things get worse when Nikki is pushed off a carpark roof. ‘It’s all too much for poor Nikki. She’s a strong girl but, with everything she’s been through, she’s on the verge of cracking up. She’s already been stabbed answering a call-out before and ofcourse she was kidnapped on her wedding day, so it’s like history repeating itself,’ says Kelly Harrison. Her injuries mean she is unable to work as a paramedic, distraught she leaves Holby to go traveling.
8. Comfort’s PTS – Paramedic Comfort has had a tougher year than most and after the horrific train crash ordeal, she went into a downward spiral which led to her suffering post-traumatic stress. Her relationship with Fin became rocky and she started drinking heavily to cope. She eventually regains her faith and marries Fin. Martina Laird was pleased with how the storyline unfolded after the train crash, ‘I’m glad CASUALTY dealt with the aftermath so well. I don’t think it would be responsible to take advantage of a disaster like that without carrying it through and showing the repercussions.’
9. Nikki/Jim wedding – Fans thought it was too soon for Nikki to be falling for another man – namely Jim Brodie – so soon after her fiance Jack’s death. She left herself in confusion and mess after then sleeping with Jim’s son Andy which led to her jilting Jim at the altar. ‘She’s still grieving for Jack. He was blown up on their wedding day. She allows herself to be drawn in by Jim. Then Andy comes along and she’s left wondering what she’s got herself into,’ said Kelly of the storyline. To make matters worse, Nikki then found out she was pregnant, not knowing who the father was she felt she had not alternative but to have an abortion.
10. Cave Accident – Two-part special ‘Emotional Rescue’ had viewers at the edge of their seats, after Harry, Simon and Lara get trapped under underground caves. It led to a bonding session and an eventual relationship between Simon and Lara. Simon suffered physical and mental injuries however, which eventually led to his demise.
BEST 5 PERFORMANCES OF 2004
1. Martina Laird (PTS/ Fins murder) – Martina Laird has had some tough storylines this year – poor Comfort has had a seriously bad year. She started off the year suffering with PTS after the train crash ordeal. After managing to salvage her relationship with Fin, they eventually wed in July. However more was in store, after finding out she was pregnant, Fin went missing and was eventually found murdered. Comfort then discovered, Fin had a wife already and ends the year homeless and suffering a miscarriage. ‘I think it’s amazing she’s survived at all,’ says Martina. ‘I would love to see her regain some of her independence, confidence and humour’
2. Loo Brealey (surrogacy) – In the biggest storyline of Loo’s CASUALTY career, Roxy found herself pregnant in a bid to be a surrogate mother for a childless couple. ‘Roxy thought having a baby for a childless couple was a good way to help someone and solve her financial crisis at the same time. But because William came early, she had a chance to bond with him so she’s now on rocky ground. In real life I think you have to be a certain sort of woman to be a surrogate. I’m definitely not up to it. But then I’m not ready to have kids at all just now,’ she said at the time of her storyline.
3. Christine Stephen-Daly (kidnap/Simon) – As one of the most popular characters in CASUALTY’s history, fans were devastated to learn 2004 was her final year in the show. But she certainly had some fantastic storylines which included her rocky relationship with Simon and a kidnap ordeal. On leaving CASUALTY, Christine said, ‘Three years is a long time to play one character – to keep it fresh and interesting, and I feel at this point in my career I need to move on and challenge myself.’
4. Holly Davidson (suicide) – Holly replaced Ashlie Walker as Harry’s wayward daughter at the beginning of Series 18 and she was in for a tough ride. She became obsessed with Simon and launched a bitter attack on Lara when she discovered she was dating him. It led to a suicide attempt. ‘The whole thing is a cry for help,’ said Holly. ‘Her Mum’s death in a car crash when she was driving is the root of all her problems. She has never got over it and deep down, she’s in real pain.’
5. Christopher Colquhoun (drug problem) – Chris also made his exit this year after drug addict Simon was killed in a plane crash on his wedding day. ‘It’s time to put an end to Simon,’ said Chris on his departure. ‘I really needed to lay the character to rest because it had become more and more exhausting playing him. Simon’s behaviour in the series was affecting my own life. He was a guy constantly rattling other people’s cages and being on the end of their anger, frustration and bitterness.’
BEST 5 ROMANCES OF 2004
1. Comfort & Fin – Fans were delighted to see the couple wed earlier this year. ‘They’ve had some awful times recently as Comfort struggled with post traumatic stress following the train disaster. But Fin’s stuck by her throughout and this feels like the ending they deserve,’ said Martina at the time, unbeknown to the tragedy that was to follow shortly afterwards when Fin was murdered and claims that he was a bigamist.
2. Lara & Simon – Christopher Colquhoun said he believed Lara was the only true woman for Simon. ‘With Lara, it’s different – she’s clever, she’s his equal and he knows he can’t mess her around and get away with it.’ And he didn’t. Although he loved her, he was unable to stand the pressure when his drug problem took hold and ended up sleeping with another woman. Lara dumped him on their wedding day, and fled to Australia unknowing Simon had been killed in a plane crash.
3. Baz & Charlie – The path of true love has never run smoothly, but the on-off relationship between Baz and Charlie was certainly watchable. Returning again in Series 18, she was newly married but it didn’t stop the pair from rekindling their romance. But in a cruel twist of fate, Baz was then killed in a car crash. Derek Thompson describes Baz as ‘the woman who can unlock his frozen emotions’.
4. Nina & Abs – Fans have been desperate to see this couple get together properly however Nina’s manipulative step-sister seems to always be getting in the way, even going to extremes and blackmailing Abs into marriage. ‘Nina’s frustrated with Abs because he can’t see that her sister is manipulating him,’ says James Redmond.
5. Bex & Luke – Although divorced, it’s clear there is still history between the pair. After speed dating, Bex realized her true feelings for Luke, however he was more coy and ended up kissing Claire instead. But they’ve always been very supportive of eachother. ‘Eventhough he keeps pushing her away. Bex is still determined to get her ex-husband back,’ says Sarah Manners. And after the events at Christmas – the pair were concerned for eachother’s safety – Luke was devastated when he thought Bex had been killed – could it only be a matter of time before they rekindle their romance?