Casualty ‘Too Old For This Shift’ ~ Episode Review

#Casualty30 arrived on screen with a bang, last night, everything I hoped it would be and more, and as Amanda Henderson who plays Robyn, said in her interview with me – an ensemble piece. An ensemble piece de force is the phrase that immediately sprung to mind for me. The continuation from the Connie/Grace (Amanda Mealing/Emily Carey) cliff-hanger that we were left in limbo for three weeks, was exceptional. Both actresses gave performances worthy of awards, and the ensuing disaster that struck once Grace was finally airlifted to hospital, has ensured that viewers were, again, left with a cliff-hanger as the young girl was taken or neuro-surgery. Also putting in an outstanding performance was Charles Venn as Jacob. Jacob was instrumental in locating Connie and Grace, now he’s left with the heart wrenching decision over whether to tell his lover of her daughter’s fate following the second accident.

Derek Thompson as Charlie Fairhead – celebrating 30 years at Holby City Hospital

It was like watching the stuff that movies are made of when the helicopter crashed down into the hospital grounds, easily one of the biggest and best spectacles pulled off to date. My heart was in my mouth and the fall-out  made for stunning visuals, the precision was superb.

Poor Charlie (Derek Thompson) had already abandoned his own 30th birthday celebration, where there were so many fantastic blasts from the past in one video sending well wishes. News of Connie and Grace’s accident sent the gathered party back to work. The story of Charlie’s life, trauma and work over-taking any form of celebration for the beleaguered Nurse. He had already dealt with a petulant agency worker, Amira (Poppy Jhakra, she was brilliant!). Then there was Sally Hodges (played by the resplendent Pam St Clement) who was brought in with a fractured neck of femur and finished with a rare diagnosis. Pam’s performance was a delight and so natural, what a pity she was only a guest star!

I particularly enjoyed the camera-work as we watched the department from Charlie’s perspective and saw how genuinely happy he is in his work. That was a beautiful touch and if there was ever an opportunity for Thompson to show what a second skin Charlie has become, this was it.

Pam St Clement as Sally Hodges

Visual effects, make-up and great continuation of storylines aside, Duffy (Cath Shipton) and Josh (Ian Bleasdale) returning and standing by Charlie, that’s what remains my over-riding memory of an episode to be proud of. There is still obvious chemistry between Charlie and Duffy, which I hope will be explored, and Josh adds the icing to the celebratory cake. As the 31st series gets off the ground, this could be the strongest cast, yet. Well done, Casualty!

Photo credits: BBC

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