While last series saw in an influx of new characters and the tone of the series reflected in it’s opening episodes which focused on newcomer Toby de Silva and old stalwart Charlie Fairhead, Series 23 starts with us a lot more comfortable and secure within our knowledge of the staff.
The double episode has succeeded in it’s aim to be realistic and bang up to date with accurate portrayals of our regular characters dropped into a topical story which is already of much debate and concern in the media today.
In this episode a film crew are filming the staff at work in the ED department, interviewing and observing them at work. As the storyline plays out during the episode, it regularly cuts into the video interviews some of the staff have done. The realistic portrayal of the regulars is noticed more because of these inserts and work extremely well, enabling us to develop even more of a bond with them during the incidents that follow which will prove to have dramatic consequences to some of them.
Stalwart fans who could say the ‘film crew’ episode has been done before, will have any fears of repetition firmly dispelled. The episode is unique and at times often felt like it’s own mini-film dramatic thriller.
The film crew follow the team as some of them air their concerns over the local Farmead Estate which Ruth says accounts for a large percentage of their ED arrivals, as they speak a teenager from the Estate sets off fireworks in a block of flats causing a host of injuries and leads to an explosion in which the paramedics and Adam end up being trapped in the building.
Their ensuing mission to escape from the building, as well as a later riot on the estate was reminent of the controversial Series 7 episode ‘Boiling Point’. The witnessed violence however seemed a lot more chilling and perhaps appeared closer to home due to it’s topical nature. If it’s aim was to highlight the increasing dangers of such communities, it certainly worked.
Special effects were also put to good use this episode, a number of times I was left open mouthed or hiding behind a pillow. Notably look out for the excellent effects used in the fireworks explosion, the ambulance collision and in particular Tess’ horrific accident, which will leave you squirming.
CASUALTY manages to pull off a thrilling episode but also add touches of humour in just the right dose. Big Mac, particularly, must be noted for the comic value but Toby and Ruth’s interaction together is also hilarious.
Sometimes you see only see a few characters being fully used during an episode, but this one used a number of them and to good and realistic use. From seeing dedicated Charlie, with his ever passion towards the NHS through to also seeing a heartwarming other side to Zoe during her treatment of a terminally ill girl.
An action packed and exciting start to the new series. Definitely not worth a miss.