6/9/97 – 28/2/98
It seems the idea for Casualty to go bi-weekly lurked again; however it was again decided to be shelved when it came to the same conclusion that it wasn’t what the viewers wanted. Instead another idea was put into the making; sister show Holby City was launched at the beginning of 1999 in the hope that it would become the weekly soap medical based in London that Casualty wasn’t able to achieve.
As for Casualty, there was an increase to 26 episodes and the first was a 75 minute special. ‘Give my Love to Esme’ featured a shopping centre explosion which Baz and baby Louis are nearly involved in.
‘There’s a hugely loyal audience, but you can’t take it for granted. I think Casualty has a responsibility to provoke people to think and talk. You do have to be a bit brave in a show like this but I do believe we come down on the moral side,’ Sally Haynes, new producer added. ‘Because we’re on series 12 you have to keep pushing it. No-one wants to see a sad, slabby show that’s soft. The tricky thing is getting the right balance.’
New recruits were brought in to compliment stalwarts, including nurse Tina Seabrook, manager Elliot Matthews, SHO George Woodman, nurse Mark Grace, receptionist Amy Howard, porter Sunny and sister Eve Montgomery hjoined mid-series. ‘Casualty is an ensemble cast, not a star vehicle. It has it’s own momentum. Casualty has had some brilliant artists who have gone on to do other things. And the show has always survived. We’ve got six new regular artists and that means new energy.’
Newcomer Tina Seabrook, played by actress Claire Goose produced one of the most memorable performances to date after her character is raped in the hospital toilets. ‘The rape storyline was massive,’ she said after the show was aired, and she received a vast number of letters afterwards from girls sharing their experiences, ‘It was really hard to film. I spent one whole day just crying, By the end of it I was exhausted, but I felt fantastic too – the way you do when you’ve had a good cry.’
The final episode – Casualty’s first two parter – was also set to be a classic Casualty; with the wedding of two of the most popular characters Charlie and Baz and the return of some faces of the past. Duffy, Mike, Ash and Megan all made an appearance to make the episode a memorable one. Haynes, whose idea it was, confesses she had to do a lot of nifty negotiating with their agents. Cathy Shipton said, ‘There was a lot of, ‘Well I will, if he will’ but it all worked out in the end.’ Brenda Fricker added ‘If Derek Thompson says you come, you come.’
Major Guest Characters
Notable Guest Stars
Casualty/ Holby City Guest Appearances