Casualty returns for it’s 22nd series this week and far from looking old, the show has had an extreme makeover which is certain to go down well with fans, who are hoping for a return to form.
And with passionate Barbara Machin (who has written a number of classic episodes from Charlie & Baz’s wedding to the more recent BAFTA winning episodes last Christmas) at the helm as Series Consultant along with Series Producer Oliver Kent, Casualty has been rejuvenated whilst also staying true to it’s roots.
‘Casualty is 21 years old and it was time for reassessment,’ Barbara Machin said. ‘In the early days, the show made it’s name with gritty, realistic, politically charged stories. That’s what we loved about it, so we’re going back to that.’
As well as a new camera definition, the hospital has also had a facelift and the staff wearing bolder, more flattering scrubs. And it’s not just the department that’s new; an influx of new characters will be joining the show over upcoming months (that include former Corrie actress Georgia Taylor who plays new F2 Ruth, Matthew Needham who plays the very amiable F2 Toby and new Consultant Adam played by Tristan Gemmill whose good looks are certain to attract admirers) as well as a pleasing cast return of one former character. But with additions, also comes departures with a number of exiting cast members that include long-serving Ian Bleasdale, Joanne King and Elyes Gabel.
In the thrilling double episode which will be shown over the weekend (8th/9th), the opening episodes highlight the work of the medical profession in extreme circumstances, as the staff of Holby ED have to deal with a major incident, caused my animal rights extremists. As ever the department operates at a busy and frenetic pace, with the medical team pushed to it’s limits.
The story is told from two viewpoints; that of newcomer Toby who struggles on his first shift whilst in the thick of a major incident and then stalwart Charlie who has mixed feelings about celebrating his 35 years in nursing. Whilst a guest appearance from Holby City’s Connie Beauchamp in the second episode adds touch. There’s drama, humour and plenty of blood and gore which aren’t for the faint hearted.
About the development of Casualty through the years Barbara concluded ‘In the late 80’s, it was easy to identify the goodies and the baddies in the NHS. These days, it’s a lot less black and white. Maybe that’s why the character stories started to take over’.
But she is excited about the realistic storylines that lie ahead this series ‘There will be stories about alcoholism, teenage mums, mental health.. and we will be pointing the fingers at bureaucracy’
‘By definition Casualty needs to be a political show. That’s it’s heartbeat’.