18/9/93 – 26/2/94
- S8 E1 (18 Sep 93) : Cat in Hell by Ginnie Hole
- S8 E2 (25 Sep 93) : Riders on the Storm by Susan Wilkins
- S8 E3 (2 Oct 93) : The Final Word by Peter Bowker
- S8 E4 (9 Oct 93) : No Place to Hide by Scott Cherry
- S8 E5 (16 Oct 93) : Sunday, Bloody Sunday by Andrew Holden
- S8 E6 (23 Oct 93) : Good Friends by Stephen Wyatt
- S8 E7 (30 Oct 93) : Kill or Cure by Greg Snow
- S8 E8 (6 Nov 93) : Born Losers (no writer credited
- S8 E9 (13 Nov 93) : High Rollers by Sam Snape
- S8 E10 (20 Nov 93) : Deceptions by Neil McKay
- S8 E11 (27 Nov 93) : Give Us This Day by David Richard-Fox
- S8 E12 (4 Dec 93) : Wild Card (no writer credited
- S8 E13 (11 Dec 93) : The Good Life by Susan Wilkins
- S8 E14 (18 Dec 93) : Out to Lunch by Sam Snape
- S8 E15 (26 Dec 93) : Comfort and Joy by Barbara Machin
- S8 E16 (1 Jan 94) : Family Ties by Neil McKay
- S8 E17 (8 Jan 94) : United We Fall by Andrew Holden
- S8 E18 (15 Jan 94) : Tippers by Nick McCarty
- S8 E19 (22 Jan 94) : Value for Money by Allan Swift
- S8 E20 (29 Jan 94) : Care in the Community by Andrew Holden
- S8 E21 (5 Feb 94) : Signed, Sealed, Delivered by David Richard-Fox
- S8 E22 (12 Feb 94) : Relations by Nick McCarty
- S8 E23 (19 Feb 94) : Grand Rational by Sam Snape
- S8 E24 (26 Feb 94) : Hidden Agendas by Andrew Holden
At the end of 1992, producer Geraint Morris, the father of Casualty, had said his farewells. Michael Ferguson, former producer of The Bill and Eastenders, stepped in. A long term champion of realistic popular drama, believing it allows people to face up to their faces in safe surroundings, he jumped at the chance of producing the show.
The double length 7th series had been a success in terms of both record numbers of viewers and the high levels of their appreciation of what they watched, borne out by the research. Every episode scored over 80% on the scale of enjoyable entertainment, something rare in television. It was not surprising, that another 24 episodes for Series 8 were commissioned.
Any notion that Casualty would be ‘toned down’ after the row over the ‘Boiling Point’ episode was soon dispelled when ‘Cat in Hell’, a spectacular episode written by Ginnie Hole was screened as the series opener in September 1993. In it, the team battled to treat victims of a train crash caused when a group of young boys, including one aged ten, stole a Cortina and, fleeing from police, allowed it to stall on a level crossing, the car was pushed a long the track and finally crushed at the mouth of a tunnel, while the train itself was derailed, part of it jack-knifing and causing deaths, appalling injuries and panic amongst trapped passengers. At one point a severed hand had to be scooped from the wreckage.
As the series continued it was clear that the team, though heroic as ever in action, were not without their quirks, rough edges and problems/ Ferguson decided that it was again time to employ a women junior doctor. Enter Karen Goodliffe, working class, chip on her shoulder, sometimes blunt to the point of rudeness, critical of paramedics but, for all that, a fast thinker. She didn’t fit in immediately and consultant Mike Barratt needed patience, but a mutual respect and friendship grew. The cameramen needed patient skill too because Suzanna Hamilton, soon found she was expecting a baby. In the script Karen became exhausted from trying to work and swot for exams, so Mike ordered her to take study leave. In her place at Christmas came Dave Masters.
To fill in the gap left by Sandra Nichol, sensible, cheerful Adele Beckford arrived. Adele, with Jamaican origins, was motherly and understanding. Also new to the nursing team was Ken Hodges, a former medical student. He happened to be gay, as Duffy and others quickly noted. Charlie, who liked him and met him socially was perhaps the slowest to twig. The new porter Frankie Drummer, a former factory hand, was by contrast quick with the ‘poofter’ cracks.
Ferguson and his script editors had planned that the relationship between Charlie and Ken developed. Ken wanted the friendship to deepen into an affair. Derek Thompson looks back wryly, ‘Charlie was set to have a genuine debate over three episodes about his sexuality, and whether he was attracted to Ken or not, but one day we received a fax with a new version of that section of the script. Everything was suddenly cut to a couple of lines between Charlie and Ash. And then Ken’s contract was terminated by the hospital management. Personally I think they got scared!’
Stories in Series 8 showed a continuing awareness of the effects of the recession and Holby Hospital trust was still counting its pounds. Slimy administrator Simon Eastman had suffered a sharp shove sideways. In his place came Surgical Manager Mark Calder, who was slick, suave and straight out of industry.
In 1993, Josh opted for yet more specialised training at first taking to fast-response motorbike work with relish. Jane made a bold decision to switch direction and join the management, much to Josh’s disgust. Her new status hardly brought her a quieter working life. She was late to discover that before the health authority was a plan to close Holby City or merge it with Queens. She became the butt of the staff’s inevitable feelings of resentment and insecurity over their future employment especially after Mark Calder jumped ship to join a tobacco company leaving her to deal with the mess.
Duffy had become Mrs Andrew Bower. She felt settled at last and with baby number two on the way she felt it was time to sacrifice the job she had done for twelve years. Her news was soon buzzing round the department, although Charlie was, unfortunately last to hear it. Charlie had recovered well from his breakdown at the end of last series. But Duffy’s contentment made him all the more aware that he had no life outside the department.
Longest serving female member, Duffy bid a fond farewell. Ash was promoted to Charge Nurse and Staff Nurse Rachel Longworth, a young woman with traditional – some would say reactionary – views also joined the team.
There were sombre notes in the scripts for this series. They included stories of economic hardship; a student reduced to testing new drugs for arthritis; a middle class woman resorting to a loan shark. Other stories featured mental patients discharged into the community, failing to survive; stressed men assaulting women and a stressed mother abusing her child. Andrew Holden’s story ‘Sunday, bloody Sunday’ tackled a rape, by a young burglar, of the mixed up, middle class woman who’d invited him to steal from her father’s house. The father took action, slashing the young man’s groin. A particularly poignant story, ‘The Final Word’ pointed up the resentment felt by a widow of a man whose fatal cancer may have been contracted as a result of bad working conditions.
Ash was witness to a vicious fight in a nightclub and menopausal Norma arrived in A&E as a patient with an injured leg after falling down steps. The series ended with a story of drug addiction and despair. It was Charlie’s 40th birthday; not one he’d mark down as a fun day. A suicidal man was brought in/ Once in a cubicle, he pulled a loaded gun from his pocket and pointed it at Charlie. Charlie had already had a head-on row with management, which made him want to resign. ‘I’d rather be an porter or a mortician, because those jobs don’t involve lying to the public about people who come in here sick and end up dead,’ he told Mike bitterly. He then talked the patient into taking his finger off the trigger of the gun and realised that perhaps he still had worthwhile skills that most porters or morticians could not offer.
- S8 E1 Mark Calder – Surgical Manager
- S8 E1 Karen Goodliffe – Senior House Officer
- S8 E1 Adele Beckford – Staff Nurse
- S8 E1 Ken Hodges – Clinical Nurse Specialist
- S8 E2 Helen Chatsworth – Project 2000 Nurse
- S8 E2 Mie Nishi-Kawa – Receptionist
- S8 E2 Frankie Drummer – Porter
- S8 E9 Brian Crawford – Paramedic
- S8 E10 Tom Harley – Locum Consultant
- S8 E12 Mary Skillett – Training Staff Nurse
- S8 E15 Dave Masters – Senior House Officer
- S8 E16 Rachel Longworth – Staff Nurse
- Mike Barratt – Consultant
- Charlie Fairhead – Charge Nurse
- Martin Ashford – Senior Staff Nurse
- Josh Griffiths – Paramedic
- S8 E6 Norma Sullivan – Receptionist
- S8 E7 Ken Hodges – Clinical Nurse Specialist
- S8 E10 Helen Chatsworth – Project 2000 Nurse
- S8 E13 Tom Harley – Consultant
- S8 E13 Duffy – Sister
- S8 E17 Karen Goodliffe – Senior House Officer
- S8 E18 Mark Calder – Surgical Manager
- S8 E19 Brian Crawford – Paramedic
- S8 E23 Mary Skillett – Staff Nurse
- S8 E24 Jane Scott – Paramedic/ Manager
- S8 E24 Dave Masters – Senior House Officer
- S8 E24 Adele Beckford – Staff Nurse
- S8 E24 Mie Nishi-Kawa – Receptionist
- S8 E24 Frankie Drummer – Porter
Notable Guest Stars
- S8 E2 Paul Barber – as Mungo
- S8 E5 Liza Walker – as Kathy Hart
- S8 E11 Helen Baxendale – as Emma
- S8 E13 Pete Postlethwaite – as Hank
- S8 E14 Leslie Schofield – as Ron
Casualty/ Holby City Guest Appearances
- S8 E1 Tony Marshall – as Roy Wellesley
- S8 E2 Adjoa Andoh – as Maggie
- S8 E5 Craig Kelly – as Ian Wheatley
- S8 E17 Rosie Marcel – as Stella
- S8 E24 Paterson Joseph – as Michael