Pete : Welcome to this afternoon’s Live Chat with Cathy Shipton. We are very grateful to Cathy as she joins us live here in Chatroom Number 1.
LouLou : Which one of Duffy’s love interests over the year’s would you say suited her the most?
CathyS : Everyone pales over the years. It must be her current love interest of Ryan, she’s met him recently, and even though there are a couple of character traits she wasn’t aware of, they seem to be doing fine.
Alanna : If you were Duffy, what one thing in her life would you have done differently?
CathyS : As Duffy, I would have recognised there was more in her relationship with Charlie, and would have woken up to that a bit earlier.
Dave-meister : What do you think of Charlie?
CathyS : He’s everything you’d look for in a colleague, and probably in a partner too, if you look at him in the right way. Duffy thinks he’s great, and I think she missed the boat not realising what there was between them. But I look on Derek as a brother, we’re really good friends.
Stacey : As we are well aware Duffy has had plenty of experience with bringing up children. Did any of her past story lines help you in preperation for becoming a mother yourself?
CathyS : Duffy was a working single parent, and that opened my eyes to the difficulties. Fortunately I have the great support of a loving partner, so I didn’t have the trouble she had. But you have to stretch yourself into a million pieces, and that’s what Duffy’s always been doing. When it happened to me I realised just how hard it was!
Pete : Keep firing your questions, Cathy is only with us until 4.30pm and we are getting through as many as we can!
Saz : What are your plans for the future? And would you ever consider doing theatre?
CathyS : I’ve had offers from theatre daily at the moment, but nothing’s taken my fancy yet. There is a possible at the end of the year. What I’m offered is pretty much in the same vein, as competent characters like Duffy, but I’m interested in darker, more complex characters with more problems. I’m also spending some very important time with my family, and it would take an exciting project to pull me away from them.
Becks : Hello Cathy! In Duffy’s current position, she is going to go back to Ryan. What would you do if it was to happen to you?
CathyS : I had to think a lot about this, because I had to make it believable for Duffy. I believe Duffy never fell out of love with Ryan, even though he hurt her and her family. I think she’s counting on her feelings that he is sincere. She does leave with him in the final episode, but she does insure herself financially against him ever hurting her. I’m a bit of a soft romantic in that respect, so I would probably do what Duffy does!
LouLou : If you could have played any other CASUALTY character which one would it have been and why?
CathyS : We’ve had a few drunks coming in and out – for example Leona, who named her baby after Charlie and was fairly good fun. I’d love to play something off the wall like that!
NovemberRose : After being away for a few years Duffy returned during series 13. What made you want to return?
CathyS : I was surprised that they still showed interest in Duffy, and found her a life in the series. How they described her possible future was interesting, and I’d been out of the show for five years and felt as though I was coming fresh, so it wasn’t a different decision to make. I did test the waters by coming back for Charlie’s wedding, and it just felt like coming home!
Saz : Do you ever look at CASUALTY websites like ours to see what the fans think?
CathyS : I’m a bit computer-illiterate, so I have to prod Chris to do that, and he’s normally busy doing something else, or it just goes out of my mind and I forget. However I am planning on having a look quite soon.
Stacey : Duffy became like a role-model to me when growing up and choosing a career. Who was your role-model and did this influence how you portrayed Duffy?
CathyS : I don’t really have a role model in terms of choosing a career, but I remember when I was primary school I had a teacher, called Miss Glover, and her whole attitude to life was one of respect and determination, she had real integrity. As a person, she inspired me incredibly. She encouraged a lot of reading and inspired my imagination, which as an actress I use as a tool.
Suzi : If there was a major event (wedding, or death, or something) would you want to be invited back to attend?
CathyS : If that was how the producers were planning to write such a key event, and if it had a purpose, I’d love to come back. It felt completely right at Charlie’s wedding, and it’d be fine for a one-off.
Pete : We are certainly hoping you’ll come back and save CASUALTY from Simon and Harry!
Stacey : What’s the strangest fan mail you ever recieved during your time as Duffy?
CathyS : An air steward asked me to marry him. He was English and worked for Japan Airlines, and offered me a honeymoon in Japan. He asked me to meet him at Oxford Circus and gave a time and a date – I felt really awful not turning up!
Nichola : Hi Cathy, if Duffy could have had a romantic relationship with any CASUALTY guy, who would you have liked it to be and why?
CathyS : The obvious would be Charlie, except that would have ended up being a dead end. If you bring them together, where does it go? I thought the relationship’s strength was that it was never properly resolved – if they had got together, they would have ended up splitting up or one of them dying tragically.
Pete : To all of you who don’t like me slating Harry I’m sorry I’m not a fan! … Once again we are really thankful to Cathy, we understand just how busy she is at the moment!
NovemberRose : If you had had the chance to change one of Duffy’s storylines, which one would it have been and how would you have changed it?
CathyS : Nothing, really. All of her storylines have been quite difficult, particularly her personal life, which has been a bit of a mess, and as an actress it was very good material. I did question her Max affair – I wasn’t sure if people found it believeable. That did feel a little bit forced, but I got on with it.
Pete Yes I wonder if Harry and her would have ever….. Everyone keeps saying Chuffy forever!
Becks : On our CASUALTY boards many members are either divided between Holly and Lara in Patrick’s heart. From your time at CASUALTY with the both characters, who did you think was better suited?
CathyS : Holly and Lara are very different women, but I personally would go for Holly. They had a lot of unfinished business, and were just on the verge of maturing into a grownup relationship, but they never had the chance. However, I thought Lara and Patrick’s relationship was very believable, and Christine and Ian had great on-screen chemistry. Christine’s portrayal of the relationship breaking down, her losing Patrick, was crucial to the character.
CatherineD : Do you think, like all of us, that the show has turned into bit too much of a soap and has lost the drama?
CathyS : In a word, yes! The whole new cast is younger, and the show is aiming for a younger audience, and I have always felt that soaping it up too much may lose the core viewers who have been with CASUALTY since the early years, who enjoy it as a medical drama. I myself have tried to keep my character fairly dramatic and adult. It is a thin line the production team are treading.
Pete If you have joined us late you’re live in Chatroom 1 for the Casualty Files live chat with Duffy who leaves tomorrow….. she’s with us for 5 mins more!! … You are asking amazing questions…..”Do you think Lara and that Brick?” and something about some dogfood … “chuffy?”
Stacey : What was your funniest moment on set ever? Surely there must have been plenty of times it just went pear-shaped!?
CathyS : Too many to remember! It’s terrible to actually call one to mind. But the working atmosphere on the set is hilarious, and the only way dealing with all the blood and guts is to have a laugh. Racing down the corridors on drip stands, doing wheelies on wheelchairs…it’s such a lovely working atmosphere.
Pete : Thanks for all your questions everyone – moderation team have done a great job again. .. I’m sorry if I bore everyone when I talk…. I’m the entertainment.. Cathy has little time left
Suzi : CASUALTY has often been used to promote serious issues, has there been any particular story you’ve been proud to tackle?
CathyS : Very early on, Duffy was raped by a stranger on her way to work, and there have been many repercussions throughout the years. I know firsthand from people who have written to me that they’ve found Duffy’s storyline powerful and helpful, and I feel her courage in putting her life back together was amazing. It was very hard to act as it’s the worst thing any woman can imagine, and putting your feet in the shoes of that person…it disturbed me for a long time, and I hope I did the storyline justice. I’ve been honoured to play the role of Duffy, and I hope she’s shone some light on people’s lives. I’ve had people writing to me saying they’re doctors and nurses because of me, and I’m proud to be part of a team that can do that.
Pete Thank you to Cathy Shipton, we all have very grateful for the last 17 years and wish you well in your future plans.
CathyS : Bye Bye, much love and thanks xxx