17/9/94 – 25/3/95
- S9 E1 (17 Sep 94) : Blood’s Thicker by Sam Snape
- S9 E2 (24 Sep 94) : First Impressions by Lisa Evans
- S9 E3 (1 Oct 94) : Keeping it in the Family by Keith Temple
- S9 E4 (8 Oct 94) : Chasing the Dragon by Rob Gittins
- S9 E5 (15 Oct 94) : Love and Affection by Billy Hamon
- S9 E6 (22 Oct 94) : Negative Equity by Andrew Holden
- S9 E7 (29 Oct 94) : A Breed Apart by David Joss Buckley
- S9 E8 (5 Nov 94) : In the Black by Peter Bowker
- S9 E9 (12 Nov 94) : Crossing the Line by Ashley Pharoah
- S9 E10 (19 Nov 94) : Only the Lonely by Ashley Pharoah
- S9 E11 (10 Dec 94) : The Facts of Life by Andrew Holden
- S9 E12 (17 Dec 94) : Under the Weather by Lisa Evans
- S9 E13 (24 Dec 94) : Talking Turkey by Lilie Ferrari
- S9 E14 (14 Jan 95) : End of the Road by Keith Temple
- S9 E15 (21 Jan 95) : Learning Curve by Tony McHale
- S9 E16 (28 Jan 95) : Stitching the Surface by Gillian Richmond
- S9 E17 (4 Feb 95) : Heartbreak Hotel by Rob Gittins
- S9 E18 (11 Feb 95) : Trial and Tribulations by Lilie Ferrari
- S9 E19 (18 Feb 95) : Out of Time by David Joss Buckley
- S9 E20 (25 Feb 95) : Branded by Billy Hamon
- S9 E21 (4 Mar 95) : Exiles by Tony McHale
- S9 E22 (11 Mar 95) : Nobody’s Perfect by Lisa Evans
- S9 E23 (18 Mar 95) : Not Waving but Drowning by Ashley Pharoah
- S9 E24 (25 Mar 95) : Duty of Care by Andrew Holden
Series 8 ended with the morale of Holby doctors and nurses at a low ebb. They had been through a worrying time, concerned over the future of their hospital. Many of the cast and crew of casualty were able to sympathise; they too, felt unusually insecure. The reason was that a new producer was being appointed and it was rumoured, she was coming to make drastic changes. During Michael Ferguson’s time the question of change had hung in the air. The powers at the BBC seemed determined to do something, but no one quite knew what.
At last it seemed someone did. She was Corinne Hollingworth, whose background was Eastenders and Eldorado; in other words, half-hourly soap opera. Alarm bells were ringing; it seemed the plan to turn the 50 minute series into a twice weekly year round continuing drama serial had risen again. And to all intents and purposes, the End Was Nigh. Cathy Shipton, who had played Duffy since the show began had quit partly (so the rumours ran) because she did not wish to be part of such a series. Clive Mantle let it be known that in his opinion changing the show’s format could wreck it. Producing two shows a week for 52 weeks would mean more of the production process would be moved to London, and Casualty’s strong link with Bristol, and the jobs it created for many local people, would be lost. On the other hand, Derek Thompson, who had discussed new possibilities both with Ferguson and Hollingworth, was in favour if a new format meant care and money devoted to scripts and the budget to make sure no one called the new series Eldorado II.
To many observers it looked as if someone at the BBC had decided to turn back the clock. Without Eldorado the BCB still needed a soap to hook audiences on the nights when rival ITV captured them with Coronation Street. Hollingworth talked to Casualty’s creators Jeremy Brock and Paul Unwin about relaunching and refocusing Casualty. Research showed that the audience had a quite special attitude to the series. They viewed it as an event that happened once a week and in which they wanted to wash over them at the end of the day. Casualty was pretty much a sacred cow.
‘It became clear that had we gone ahead and changed Casualty we would have been losing a unique phenomenon. There is no other 50 minute drama which has been so successful for so long. So it would have been foolish to allow it to mutate into something different. In the end everyone at the BBC agreed.’
Casualty cast and crew were relieved and with new 50 minute drama ‘Harry’ failing to set the ratings alive, Casualty was seen to be the saving of the BBC’s 1 Saturday night viewing. And with the addition of an extra weekly episode of Eastenders, it was clear that the idea of ‘Casualty : the Soap’ had finally been buried forever.
The 9th series would be less concerned with political feuding but more concerned with the fights against sickness. Yet by the time the first episode was screened in September 2004, Casualty was immediately controversial again – for it’s new visual style. It appeared to have changed from the familiar video look to the moving-focus look of a film. ‘I felt that the look of Casualty had become a little static. I wanted to maximize the grainy realism of the drama so I experimented with putting a film effect on the video.’
However, the BBC’s duty officers began recieivng calls from viewers, who all strongly disapproved of the look although ratings had not been unaffected. Hollingsworth defended criticism, however with the BBC pushing down their views, she was forced to revert Casualty back to it’s original look.
Hollingsworth did have other changes, one of which was to give staff members a bit more of a life. ‘The problem with our series is that the regular characters are often the supporting actors for the guests who play the patients and relatives. I could see that was quite restricting for them
Delving into Charlie’s past, they approached Julia Watson on returning to her role of his old flame Baz. Derek Thompson, for one, was delighted.
So Baz Samuels, now married and called Barbara Hayes, was on her way back to Holby from Birmingham. She arrives as a locum consultant, after Mike Barratt takes leave to work on his marriage. Baz was not expecting to find her former lover still at Holby after 9 years – who fled at the end of Series 1 after aborting Charlie’s baby. Her return made him uncomfortable at work and made him realise how lonely he was. But this time he set the agenda and he put her under pressure. To all intents and purposes she was happy. But ofcourse she soon saw that she wasn’t. And by the end of the series, an affair was under way.
Baz and Charlie weren’t the only couple about whom colleagues gossiped about in Series 9. The breakdown of Mike Barratt’s marriage affected him deeply for several months. Nurse Rachel was similarly distressed; in her case the cause was the verbal and sometimes physical attacks she sustained from patients. New Staff Nurse Kate Wilson found her sobbing and suggested counselling. By Christmas she felt strong enough to suggest to Mike that, as they were both on their own, he join her. But when Mike’s wife asked him for a reconciliation, Rachel put on a brave face to wish him well.
The series also saw journeys of self-discovery for Ash and Eddie Gordon, the new SHO. Both were on duty when a group of Neo-Nazi extremists came into the department after an affray at an anti-racist demo which had resulted in death and destruction. Ash was threatened by one thug Hitchens, and as he leaves work Hitchins corners him with a knife. Ash punches him to the ground in self-defence – an act which led to a charge of assault and suspension from the hospital. In the months which passed as he waited for his trial, issues of loyalty among his colleagues – particularly Eddie (who saw the incident but not the knife) and Matt Hawley (who overheard Ash being threatened by who is finding himself being blackmailed by Hitchins himself) – were raised.
Eddie also learnt in her time at Holby, that her job wasn’t always to ‘patch them up and pass them on.’ She discovered that there were times when she had to give more than a cool professional diagnosis.
Series 9 was not without its critics. In November 1994, Ray Rowden, director of the Institute of Health Service Managers, condemned the series for concentrating on ‘the gore and glamour of hospitals’.
A tense situation in the final episode once again; this time a patient with a grudge against Baz – and a bomb strapped to his back. He resented what he thought was the negligent treatment his mother received at Holby. After the department had been evacuated, and with police marksmen in place, it fell to nervous Baz to negotiate everyone’s safety. In the end the police decided to take no chances and they aimed and fired at the man. There was an explosion, his death, destruction, a sort of failure. No wonder Baz needed a hug from Charlie.
- S9 E1 Eddie Gordon – Senior House Officer
- S9 E1 Kate Wilson – Senior Staff Nurse
- S9 E1 Adam Cooke – Staff Nurse
- S9 E1 Matt Hawley – Receptionist
- S9 E2 Jude Korcanik – Staff Nurse
- S9 E10 Liz Harker – Paramedic
- S9 E20 Baz Hayes – Locum Consultant
- Mike Barratt – Consultant
- Charlie Fairhead – Charge Nurse
- Martin Ashford – Senior Staff Nurse
- Rachel Longworth – Staff Nurse
- Josh Griffiths – Paramedic
Major Guest Characters
- Emma Quinn (Colette Brown) – Adam’s ex-wife
Notable Guest Stars
- S9 E4 Louisa Millwood-Haigh – as Vicki Allen
- S9 E17 Ray Winstone – Terry Brennan
- S9 E23 Louise Jameson – as Janet Tolchard
Casualty/ Holby City Guest Appearances