Casualty ‘The Stag, The Dog and The Sheep’ ~ Episode Review

Going to the (hospital) chapel and we’re gonna get married, that’s the unofficial title of this week’s episode, as chosen by me! We all know what will dominate my highlights of this instalment so let’s get on with it!

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 31/01/2017 - Programme Name: Casualty 30 - Series 31 - TX: 04/02/2017 - Episode: Casualty 30 21 (No. 22) - Picture Shows: Lisa Duffin (CATHY SHIPTON) - (C) BBC - Photographer: Alistair Heap
Picture Shows: Lisa Duffin (CATHY SHIPTON) – (C) BBC – Photographer: Alistair Heap

Stag Do! ~ So the spontaneous trip to Barry for Charlie’s (Derek Thompson) stag do resulted in a missing groom, the reappearance of Josh (Ian Bleasdale) as best man, Noel (Tony Marshall) being led to believe that his name is Leslie, Ethan (George Rainsford) getting a tattoo that reads ‘Be More Cal’. Should I go on? There’s a sheep in the B&B room, Cal (Richard Winsor) is showing his hurt and anger following cufflink-gate and not only has Dylan (Will Beck) driven the mini bus, but his dog, Dervla went with them too! Before going AWOL, Charlie almost has a lap dance… yes, he declines (because Duffy (Cath Shipton) would kill him), and instead takes away a nugget for his vows from the lap dancer in question. Not a stag do to be forgotten in a hurry, especially with it being one that resulted in Charlie eventually being fetched from prison having given Dylan’s name.

Duffy’s Distressed ~ Charlie’s lack of communication is palpable for poor Duffy, and she not only has the jitters, she convinces herself that Charlie has changed his mind. Which is so sad when we get to see the groom to be and he is professing his love for his fiancée and has a photo of her as his phone wallpaper! Duffy’s hen do is a bit of a poor show in comparison to Charlie’s drunken shenanigans, a few Quavers in a bowl just doesn’t say last moment of freedom to me. Still, with David (Jason Durr) having put his foot in it and asked if this is a way of keeping Duffy distracted, within her earshot… the crisps on the work top are soon forgotten.

Elle vs Connie ~ So, it seems that Connie (Amanda Mealing) is still hell bent on forcing Elle (Jaye Griffiths) out of the ED. A second complaint against the wilful doctor has come to light and threatens Elle’s entire career. Jacob (Charles Venn) is on hand to kick his old mucker up the backside, but there’s little he can do other than lend support. Connie is planning to buy a leaving card for her colleague, so determined is she that this will be the end for Elle. I doubt that Connie buys greetings cards as a matter of course, she doesn’t seem the sort, does she? In short, as Connie goes out of her way to intimidate her target, it doesn’t bode well for Elle.

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 31/01/2017 - Programme Name: Casualty 30 - Series 31 - TX: 04/02/2017 - Episode: Casualty 30 21 (No. 22) - Picture Shows: Josh Griffiths (IAN BLEASDALE) - (C) BBC - Photographer: Alistair Heap
Picture Shows: Josh Griffiths (IAN BLEASDALE) – (C) BBC – Photographer: Alistair Heap

Wedding of the Year ~ Tradition is well and truly left at the hospital doors at this wedding, Duffy is waiting nervously for her fiancé to arrive, and he walks down the aisle to meet her. Not on Josh’s arm, I might add, but that would have been funny… Duffy looks stunning, Charlie boy, I think we can safely say, is a very lucky lad. Their vows are beautiful, poignant and tearful, it’s an unforgettable moment and completely done justice to two original characters. I loved the deliberation over whether Duffy should be called Lisa or Duffy, and the decision was the right one, too. The reception was equally perfect, splendid bit of dancing from David, in his white suit… moving on… Cal is still out to seek his revenge with the knowledge that Alicia (Chelsea Halfpenny) has cheated with his brother, eating away at him. Focusing attentions back on the bride and groom, the first dance happens, properly and of course to ‘Have I Told You Lately’. All is blissful in Chuffy land, there’s just the small matter of that tattoo that Charlie has had – but I’m sure that can be lasered off. If it had only been Duffy’s name across that heart on his arm I’d have urged Charlie boy to keep it.

Cathy ~ I want to take this final point to pay tribute to my colleague and friend, Cath Shipton. I am honoured and privileged to call her both of those things and if it hadn’t have been for her encouragement (together with Carol Royle’s support), this website would not be taking off in all of the exciting directions it’s going in. I have watched Casualty since episode one, series one. Duffy was my favourite from there on in. Cath didn’t inspire me to want to become a nurse, but I was inspired to do something in the arts either as an actress or something else. I took the ‘something else’ route and I’ve got Cath’s support with that, so I can’t ask for more, really. I think she’s an incredible actress and an amazing person. Duffy was the catalyst for my career ideas, I’m beyond delighted that she’s back and thank heavens she finally made an honest man of Charlie boy!

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Casualty ‘What Lurks In The Heart’ ~ Episode Review

Twerking to Beyoncé at Charlie (Derek Thompson) and Duffy’s (Cath Shipton) wedding and as the first dance? Sounds like a winner to me, although the bride-to-be isn’t all that keen! With Cal’s (Richard Winsor) assistance in the planning of the wedding of the year having been sought by Charlie, it could well be on the cards. Watch this space….!

The title of the episode is hugely apt as we discover that an affair has started between Ethan (George Rainsford) and Alicia (Chelsea Halfpenny) – naughty, and injected a lot of humour into the opening of the episode. Their relationship has the capacity to be fun, but a more loving kind of fun than Alicia has with game-playing Cal (Richard Winsor). Duffy’s interruption of a near-kiss for the pair in a cubicle paved the way beautifully for the bride-to-be to impart advice to her younger colleague, which was a fantastically crafted scene.

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 03/01/2017 - Programme Name: Casualty 30 - Series 31 - TX: 07/01/2017 - Episode: Casualty 30 17 (No. 18) - Picture Shows:  Charlie Fairhead (DEREK THOMPSON), Lisa Duffin (CATHY SHIPTON), Caleb Knight (RICHARD WINSOR) - (C) BBC - Photographer: Alistair Heap
Picture Shows: Charlie Fairhead (DEREK THOMPSON), Lisa Duffin (CATHY SHIPTON), Caleb Knight (RICHARD WINSOR) – (C) BBC – Photographer: Alistair Heap

Then Lily (Crystal Yu) realises that she has made an idiot of herself with Archie Grayling (James Wilby), although it leaves the way clear for Iain (Michael Stevenson). It’s obvious the cheeky Paramedic is developing feelings for his friend and I think they’d make a great mis-matched match. I was also mightily impressed that Sebastian (Rik Makarem) found it in his heart to tell the truth about his encounter with Dylan (Will Beck) as indeed Dylan had afforded him the favour of talking him though a procedure he was all set to bottle. I find myself quite delighted that not only has Sebastian come to his senses, but that also the relationship between the junior doctor and his mentor, Dylan seems to be pretty solid after all that. I think it certainly went some way to show that Dylan is the bigger man.

There was an appearance from Amy Robbins (who had played a semi-regular character in the 90’s) as a COPD sufferer who was secretly in love with the man she was marrying to help him out with a VISA acceptance. Amy’s performance was a highlight of the episode for me, her natural connection with the character was quite something. I was pleased to see her storyline give a much needed nudge to Alicia to pick Ethan, but telling Cal doesn’t look like it will be so easy. I was willing them to break it to him but it looks as though a pesky cufflink has provided the link to the affair and it will be quite interesting to watch this play out.

Adding to this week’s dramatic slice of one of the best dramas on television (in my humble opinion) was Connie (Amanda Mealing) laying the blame at Elle’s (Jaye Griffiths) door, she has been on a quest to find a culprit for Grace’s (Emily Carey) delayed recovery. Looks like the proverbial has hit the fan.

Don’t forget you can vote for Casualty in the Drama category at the National Television Awards! http://www.nationaltvawards.com/

 

 

 

Casualty ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ ~ Episode Review

It’s Christmas party time and Charlie (Derek Thompson) is getting a name for himself as a swinger! Yes, Charlie! This reputation is ‘out there’ courtesy of Duffy (Cath Shipton), who is well and truly ensconced in a full blown relationship with Charlie boy and they’re not doing a great job of hiding it. A quick kiss stolen in full view of Jez (Lloyd Everitt), who else belly laughed at the look on Jez’s face?

While the festive spirit has gotten into Mr Fairhead, Connie (Amanda Mealing) is not quite so keen to embrace the spreading of joy. Especially when a young boy with a life threatening condition is in the ED desperately awaiting a heart and lung transplant which looks unlikely to happen. Noel (Tony Marshall) has to do away with his Christmas decorations as Connie goes off on a rampage of cleanliness. Peter Barnes (Brenock O’Connor) is the unfortunate young boy in the ED awaiting new organs, and his estranged mother, Annie (Claire Price) has been called in to see him. I jumped for joy at the casting of Annie, Claire Price is a fine actress, in my humble opinion and she tugged at the heart strings with this role. It was wonderful to see a miracle come to fruition at the last minute and for mother and son to be so happily reunited in the face of a tragic accident from the past.

Programme Name: Casualty 30 - Series 31 - TX: 03/12/2016 - Episode: Casualty 30 14 (No. 14) - Picture Shows:  Annie (CLAIRE PRICE), Sean (SAM TROUGHTON), Robyn Miller (AMANDA HENDERSON) - (C) BBC - Photographer: Alistair Heap
Casualty 30 – Series 31 –  BBC – Photographer: Alistair Heap Claire Price is pictured as Annie with Amanda Henderson as Robyn.

Love is most definitely the over-riding theme of the show, this week, Alicia (Chelsea Halfpenny) has been trying to play match maker for Ethan (George Rainsford) and poor Ethan has been trying to ignore the hanky panky going on between Alicia and his brother, Cal (Richard Winsor). Hanky panky is the phrase of the episode, with Charlie exclaiming to Duffy that his activities in that area are being discussed among the staff (and not activities such as gardening, Duffy! so many jokes….).

The Christmas party sees a drunken Duffy dancing around with tinsel on her head and hanging mistletoe over as may pairs of revellers as she can find. Alicia and Cal are merrily karaoke-ing and much surprise is being shown that Robyn (Amanda Henderson) is not drinking alcohol. Her pregnancy news which inevitably is broken to those colleagues who are not in the know, already, is met with much joy. Lily (Crystal Yu) is still enjoying the attentions of Archie Grayling (James Wilby), much to the dismay of Iain (Michael Stevenson). Plus, Duffy and Charlie’s news is also broken, in an inebriated stupor  – met with the phrase “Ma and Pa are in love!”. It looks set to be a romantic finish to the evening for ‘Chuffy’ with a park bench and bottle of cider in the offing – swish, Charlie boy! However, there’s always been the question of Ryan (Russell Boulter), Duffy’s husband hanging over proceedings. Guess who was baaaack?

Meanwhile, a snapshot into Connie’s home life reveals frustration as she tries her hardest to take charge of Grace’s (Emily Carey) rehabilitation and Jacob (Charles Venn) is already annoying her with his well-meaning.

Finishing on an Alicia/Ethan cliff-hanger was wholly expected, but what will come next? We shall see! Love triangle ahoy!

 

 

Casualty ‘Night Of The Loving Dead’ ~ Episode Review

A particularly special episode as it was directed by Casualty’s very own Amanda Mealing, and she dedicated her spectacular effort to her late father.

The continuation of Robyn’s (Amanda Henderson) misery leads her to send David (Jason Durr) and Max (Jamie Davis) on a mission to find Glen (Owain Arthur) via a tracking device. The hapless pair are on but yards away from Glen’s mobile device and with Dylan (Will Beck) also taking an active role in the hunt, it becomes rather comical. Until it turns out that the man they are tracking is not Glen. Although the story unfolding to reveal that Paulo (Gabriel Lo Guidice) actually has Glen’s phone and met him through the common denominator of Cancer. The fact that a male mastectomy was covered in this episode made for fantastic viewing and should be put into the public eye more so.

While Glen remains somewhat untraceable, Robyn considers an abortion. I absolutely adored the way the relationship between Robyn and Dylan continued to develop throughout, kudos to both actors for making it work so brilliantly. Will Beck delivers some very witty lines which are enhanced by his performance.

casualty-robyn
Will Robyn ever be reunited with the father of her child?

In the meantime we revisit the ongoing saga between Cal (Richard Winsor) and Ethan (George Rainsford) as Cal is still wounded by Alicia’s (Chelsea Halfpenny) score of his sexual prowess. Ethan has the upper hand when Elle (Jaye Griffiths) offers a pair of tickets to a Trust function and not so subtly suggests that he invites Alicia. Alicia clearly sees this as her opportunity to try and get closer to Ethan, and is somewhat perturbed to find Cal in his place when the taxi arrives.

I admit that although the storyline based around the zombie event which provided the base for the traditional ‘accident’ and gave a pre-Halloween flavour to the episode, I was far more drawn into the comings, going, ins and outs of the regular characters’ business.

It was an emotional finish, too, seeing Robyn’s reaction to the potential loss of her baby and the wonderment on her face when she heard its heartbeat? Best part of the episode!

Huge congratulations to Amanda Mealing on a job extremely well done!

Photo Credits: BBC

 

Casualty ‘Party Pooper’ ~ Episode Review

I guess this episode couldn’t be more aptly titled, it’s Alicia’s (Chelsea Halfpenny) birthday and her party is taking place that evening. She’s already given herself a birthday present in the form of setting up drunken Max (Jamie Davis) and Jez (Lloyd Everitt) to be positioned draped over one another, and naked! A few well placed comments about the noises she heard coming from Jez’s bedroom are enough to seal that element of doubt as to what went on the night before, and worry the unwitting pair. Their bet as to who could kiss her first being the catalyst for Alicia’s cunning.

Gaynor (Frances Grey) who appeared in a recent episode, returned and unfortunately, was diagnosed with the onset of Dementia. This was following signs of memory loss which resulted in her re-admission to the ED. A harrowing experience for all concerned, including Ethan (George Rainsford) who instigates the tests to confirm the sad truth. Ethan’s own condition was most certainly at the forefront of his mind in this episode as he continued to give mixed signals to Alicia. He upset her when he and Cal (Richard Winsor) concocted an excuse for him not to come to her party.

richard-winsor
Cal is up to his old tricks again!

Alicia’s party caused more disconcertion when Lily (Crystal Yu) showed some disappointment at not having been invited and an exchange with Alicia ensued. I like the interactions between these two, it’s almost like the battle of the ice queens, but always that bit more obvious that Alicia would be the first to melt. Of course, it’s revealed later that it’s the anniversary of Lily’s father’s death and Iain (Michael Stevenson) with whom the stand-offish doctor has formed a bond, comforts her when she makes a fool of herself. Although, turning up to a party in fancy dress might not have been Lily’s finest hour, in her opinion, she looked fantastic! I enjoyed the way that the anniversary of the loss of her father linked in with the story of the pole dancer. Lily had assisted her in building bridges with her father whom she had stabbed in the torso with one of her killer heels.

The writers have given another chink in brotherly love from Cal and Ethan as their recent bonding looks set to unravel, it seems that Cal has taken Ethan’s ‘disinterest’ in Alicia as a green light for him to have some fun with the young doctor. Oh dear…..

 

 

 

Photo Credits: BBC

Casualty ‘Pride Comes Before A Fall’ ~ Episode Review

Rather a teasing episode if ever there was one, if you ask me! Ethan (George Rainsford) and Alicia (Chelsea Halfpenny) are thrown together in yet another hazardous situation when a medical academic is trapped. The interesting element of the interaction with this particular ‘patient’ is that her medical research currently involves investigations which look into Huntington’s among other conditions. Therefore it was ironic that it should be Ethan who was in charge of her case in this instalment. Not entirely coincidental, I’d wager!

Ethan has to be the strong and calm presence for Alicia as the de ja vu of their ‘underground adventure’ is almost too much for her. Their close proximity in a risky setting is the catalyst for their potential post-shift tryst, it’s just a pity that Alicia has had one too many Tequilas, topped up with French red wine!

Meanwhile, Connie (Amanda Mealing) and Jacob (Charles Venn) are still struggling to find an even keel while Grace’s (Emily Carey) fate is still rather dicey. Jacob is determined to be there for Connie and tries to help her to settle in back at home, but this is not going to be an easy feat and it looks like their rocky road is not set to improve any time soon. Amanda Mealing is still giving this storyline 110% and every scene is award-worthy at the moment.

To complete the carrot dangling on the relationship front? Charlie (Derek Thompson) has been invited to a school reunion which he is extremely reluctant to attend, but Duffy (Cath Shipton) is close at hand to give him a much needed ego boost. Just get together, already, you two! Flirting from Duffy and a broad smile from Charlie indicates that this story line is only just getting going.

louise
Louise is on a mission to make a better relative’s room

Then there’s Louise (Azuka Oforka) who is determined to do her best with the relative’s room which she made her mark on in last week’s episode. Enlisting help from her colleagues, she’s setting about improving the facility. Louise is also continuing to collect small tokens of praise here and there which are designed to show her that she is a good nurse as well. It’s a positive turn for the easily demotivated character.

The verdict? I am enjoying the back-seat that the guest stars are taking right now, because it’s giving an opportunity for the main cast themselves to demonstrate what a talented ensemble they are. More of the same, please!

Casualty ‘Fall On Me’ ~ Episode Review

The aftermath of the 30th anniversary episode was predictably harrowing, luckily Duffy (Cath Shipton) was still on hand to soothe the situation, and by the time the episode reached its finale, it looks like Charlie (Derek Thompson) has won £20!

A pitifully bruised and battered Connie (Amanda Mealing) is keeping an anxious vigil at Grace’s (Emily Carey) bedside, while Jacob (Charles Venn) is struggling to hold it together as his ‘world’ is crashing around him. One thing’s for sure, he’s in desperate need of the likes of Duffy to support the department while his mind is elsewhere. Similarly, Louise (Azuka Oforka) is not entirely of sound mind and required Nurse Duffin’s input when she kicks a sizeable hole in the relative’s room wall. Young Grace’s horrific accident has affected Louise deeply, although she’s reluctant to admit it.

Cath
Cath Shipton has made a welcome return as Duffy.

The two main storylines are excellently portrayed, first there’s Alicia (Chelsea Halfpenny) who is wrongly pointing the finger at her mother for adultery and makes the subsequent decision to have fun. Poor Ethan’s (George Rainsford) heart seems to be breaking a little bit, as the girl who saw him through the helicopter trauma seems hell-bent on debauchery.

Then there’s another diagnostic triumph for Dylan (Will Beck) when a mum-to-be is experiencing loud noises in her head and fears that she is suffering for Schizophrenia. It’s fortunate that Louise is not willing to accept the possibility of a mental health related diagnosis before ruling out physical health. Elle (Jaye Griffith) is rather too rash to judge, again and finds herself in the wake of Dylan’s expertise.

I found the episode was as beautifully shot as the first episode of the series and it lends an air of empathy and comfort to the overall ambience of the scenes. I have high hopes that this series is to be one of Casualty’s best.

Photo credits: BBC

 

Spotlight On… Carol Royle

Carol Royle is well known for acting on stage and on screen, she’s been in television shows such as Life Without George, Heartbeat and Doctors. At the moment she can be found portraying Huntington’s Disease sufferer, Emilie in BBC’s Casualty. As the estranged mother of Cal and Ethan she’s created quite a stir as fans of the series are so bowled over by her performance, they’re asking if she truly suffers from the condition. I caught up with Carol to ask her about this challenging role among other things.

Hi Carol, thank you for talking to Break A Leg Review, you’ve made a huge impact with your role as Emilie in Casualty, what level of research did you carry out in advance of filming the part and what was your initial reaction to taking on this challenge?

I was incredibly flattered to be offered the role, it’s quite a responsibility. I’m fond of research, and then I like to “jump off the diving board into the dark sea”. I used Google and Youtube to research, I came to know some of the people on Youtube and that was heart breaking. I had a meeting with the BBC ‘gang’ to Skype a Huntington’s advisor in Liverpool to find a level as everyone with the condition is different. We went to a Care Home and met with a Nurse, Michael Wooldridge who introduced us to people who suffer with Huntington’s. While on set at the BBC there was a Huntington’s Advisor present who helped with movement, for example a through movement.

Does portraying the character of Emilie affect you after filming is finished?

Yes, I find it exhausting, I understand how people with Huntington’s need 6000 calories a day. Playing the part is like patting head and rubbing your tummy at the same time. I don’t do method acting, however I drenched myself in this, prior to filming as well as during. I find I have to consciously stop myself from doing the movements of the character.

What has your overall experience of Casualty been like? 

I’ve done a couple of other episodes over the past 30 years and yes, it’s a show I’d like to work on permanently as they are such lovely people to work with. It has been such a good experience and I miss my boys (George Rainsford and Richard Winsor). The storyline has struck a chord because of the people I’ve met and how involved I was with the research. I feel it was an important and enlightening part.

You’ve enjoyed a long and varied career, do you have a preference between acting on stage and acting on screen?

They’re different, what they both have in common is the truth and integrity. I love both, I love theatre due to the live element and I love television due to the smallness and the subtlety.

In 2014 you were cast as Linda in the tour of Last of the Duty Free, what was it like to step into Joanna Van Gyseghem’s shoes as the only replacement member of the original foursome?

I went into it very naively, but once rehearsals started I sensed fear from those around me as I wasn’t ‘their Joanna’. However, soon I became ‘their Carol’. It was a shame the tour was cancelled, but I made great friends who I keep in touch with.

In your career so far, who have you most enjoyed working with and why?

That’s difficult because in everything I do, I make friends, apart from in one or two jobs. I worked with Dennis Potter on Black Eyes, he wrote, directed and edited it, and it was a fantastic experience. Having the Writer and Director as the same person was good. The working process was one of the best.

When you first started acting, what ambitions did you have and do you feel you’ve achieved them?

I wanted to have a go at everything and I’ve managed to do a lot of theatre and telly. I’ve also managed to keep working while raising two children. I may have compromised my working life as I wouldn’t go away from home for a job, but staying at home was important to me. I haven’t done any films and I fear it’s too late. My ambition now is to keep working and to play interesting roles.

Have you any advice for individuals wishing to go into an acting career?

If you’ve got to do it, you’ll do it and nobody will talk you out of it. It would be wise to go to drama school and also remember to keep strong in the face of adversity. If you get rebuffed, retain your confidence, don’t allow anyone to put you down, retain your self-esteem.

Favourite things (give me your first reaction to these questions):

Favourite way to relax?

Watching a film with my daughter.

Favourite theatre?

Theatre Royal, Bath.

Favourite film?

Old film – Bringing Up Baby.

Modern Film – The Matrix.

Favourite food?

Spaghetti bolognaise made with beans and lentils (I’m a vegetarian) and gluten free pasta.

Favourite hobby?

Reading, interior design is a close second!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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