Casualty ‘Binge Britain’ ~ Episode Review

It’s fiesta time in the staff room as Charlie (Derek Thompson) and Duffy (Cath Shipton) return from their honeymoon to a packed out ED. David (Jason Durr) is hell bent on helping Robyn (Amanda Henderson). Meanwhile Connie (Amanda Mealing) and Sam (Tom Chambers) are still keeping vigil over their daughter as she struggles to recover from her latest misfortune. Here’s the highlights:

Programme Name: Casualty 30 - Series 31 - TX: 18/02/2017 - Episode: Casualty 30 23 (No. 24) - Picture Shows:  Lisa Duffin (CATHY SHIPTON), David Hide (JASON DURR) - (C) BBC - Photographer: Alistair Heap
Lisa Duffin (CATHY SHIPTON), David Hide (JASON DURR) – (C) BBC – Photographer: Alistair Heap

Chuffy’s Cheer ~ Charlie and Duffy’s honeymoon is over, thanks to a delayed flight they are diligently back at Holby City and ready to go on duty rather than going home first – they must be mad! Dylan (Will Beck) certainly isn’t thanking them for taking up space in the waiting area! Not to be deterred by the luke-warm welcome, they set up camp in the staff room and recreate a festival that they enjoyed while they were away celebrating their long awaited marriage. Bumping, grinding and getting on down to the groove Ibiza-styley, it’s like Carry On Casualty in there (ooh Matron!) Even more so once David joins the party and pulls some moves of his own out of the bag, stealing away Mrs Fairhead for a demonstration that would not look out of place in Strictly Come Dancing. Charlie soon reclaims his wife with a public display of affection and there’s mention of Banana Liquor, which I’m sure is still in the systems of the newly weds after that display.

Grace’s Set-back ~ Progress was slow going for Grace (Emily Carey) prior to her latest trauma, but the set-back she has endured has switched her off again. Connie (Amanda Mealing) and Sam (Tom Chambers) can only look on as their darling girl stares into space and fails to squeeze her mum’s hand. How much more is going to be thrown at them? Will Grace ever recover from so much misfortune. I have to hand it to Amanda Mealing, Tom Chambers and Emily Carey for each putting in stellar performances, though. It’s gripping television and no mistake.

Family Ties ~ Iain (Michael Stevenson) has been forced to deal with his past and his family in recent weeks. His troublesome sister, Gemma (Rebecca Ryan) has been released back home following her latest misdemeanours, but missed a meet up with her brother and Lily (Crystal Yu). Lily has been playing a part in the reconciliation of Iain’s family situation and I think we can all see the brewing romance which has been there since the first episode of this series. Introducing Sian Reeves as their mother was an inspired move as the three members of the Dean family looked very alike, I thought – they made a very believable family. It was trauma, as ever, that brought Mummy Dean into Ian’s path, as she fell from a great height whilst on the run from the heavies. Her encounter with such men being down to the debt she has run up as a result of alcohol addiction and the reliance on the ‘pop’ having put her in a life threatening place, health-wise. With harrowing scenes and heart to hearts, it really seemed to be crunch time. What next? It remains to be seen, but Lily is definitely still on the scene with this on-going family drama and Iain even asks her for a coffee…. smooth, Iain!

You’ve got a friend… or three ~ Robyn (Amanda Henderson) has been reading baby ‘manuals’ and working herself up about her potential to be a good mother, so kind-hearted David decides it’s time to bring in the big guns to help. The guns being Charlie and Duffy! Good plan, say I, I reckon I’d want them on my side if I was expecting a baby with my ex-fiancé who has done a bunk whilst suffering from a terminal brain tumour. Who else would you want telling you everything will be alright and fore-going another conversation about their fabulous honeymoon (and fortunately, resisting the urge to start another scene from Ibiza Uncovered) than this pair of old hats. It was a heart-warming scene when Robyn realised that she truly isn’t on her own and that the Fairheads are on hand to give advice and possibly write baby books as a side-line!

Programme Name: Casualty 30 - Series 31 - TX: 18/02/2017 - Episode: Casualty 30 23 (No. 24) - Picture Shows:  Robyn Miller (AMANDA HENDERSON), Lisa Duffin (CATHY SHIPTON), Charlie Fairhead (DEREK THOMPSON) - (C) BBC - Photographer: Alistair Heap
Robyn Miller (AMANDA HENDERSON), Lisa Duffin (CATHY SHIPTON), Charlie Fairhead (DEREK THOMPSON) – (C) BBC – Photographer: Alistair Heap

Dylan ~ If I had to choose my overall favourite character, the prize goes to Dylan. His dry and unwitting humour steals scenes for me in every episode that he appears in. This week’s gems were his reaction to the drunken lad who’s face was painted like a lion, just a flick of his eyebrow showed his personal opinion on the situation. Then there was the disregard for the return of Chuffy. Followed by the sheer satisfaction he enjoyed when he removed an arrow from a patient’s arm. Will Beck is playing a character whom I have happened upon many times in my experience with the NHS, and an episode without a sarcastic comment from Dylan is not half as much fun. Long may Dylan stride around the ED with his general disapproval and lack of self-awareness!

 

 

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!

Casualty ‘Back To School’ ~ Episode Review

Picking up from where we left off last week, I enjoyed the continuation – it almost felt as though it followed real time. Alicia (Chelsea Halfpenny) has yet to be confronted by Cal (Richard Winsor) about the discovery of the rogue cuff link in her bedroom, but his facial expressions and narrowed eyes are speaking volumes as his suspicions are well and truly roused. Charlie (Derek Thompson) has his ear bent by the Romeo of Holby and Ethan (George Rainsford) is staying out of his brother’s way as well as Alicia’s. This is set to get messier if you ask me!

Meanwhile Charlie is disappointed in the wedding invitations which have arrived and are not quite what he was expecting! Good job Duffy (Cath Shipton) hasn’t seen them… especially given Cal’s opinion of them.

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 10/01/2017 - Programme Name: Casualty 30 - Series 31 - TX: 14/01/2017 - Episode: Casualty 30 18 (No. 19) - Picture Shows: PC Jessie Nichols (BRYONY AFFERSON), Sgt Ray Thompson (TERENCE MAYNARD)   - (C) BBC - Photographer: Alistair Heap
Picture Shows: PC Jessie Nichols (BRYONY AFFERSON), Sgt Ray Thompson (TERENCE MAYNARD) – (C) BBC – Photographer: Alistair Heap

Elle (Jaye Griffiths) is under considerable pressure following Connie’s (Amanda Mealing) reporting of her handling of Grace’s (Emily Carey) case, it puts Jacob (Charles Venn) in a difficult position between his lover and old friend. Unfortunately for fans of Jacob and Connie, it looks like their relationship has been the victim of Connie’s campaign against Elle. It was also a mentally taxing scenario for Jacob when it appeared that Sgt Ray Thompson (Terrence Maynard) had caused undue harm to a raver during a raid. Jacob was right to be suspicious and PC Jessie Nichols (Bryony Afferson) almost took a beating for having witnessed the despicable behaviour from Sgt Thompson.

Then there’s David (Jason Durr) who finds out by chance (due to the admission of his boy’s teacher to the ED) that his Son is appearing in a school play. With Robyn (Amanda Henderson) to accompany him, he gets to see the production. I get the impression that David is on a downward spiral, though. It’s always a delight to see the friendship between David and Robyn, it’s developed into a mutually beneficial relationship and I hope they’ll continue to be there for one another. Although this is Casualty and nothing is ever happy for long!

 

Casualty ‘Not In Holby Anymore’ ~ Episode Review

When you consider The Wizard Of Oz, do David (Jason Durr), Louise (Azuka Oforka) and Noel (Tony Marshall) immediately spring to mind as the Lion, the Tin Man and Scarecrow? No? Try watching this week’s episode of Casualty and you might change your mind. In an instalment filled with flashbacks, this truly trippy episode focuses on how the department are handling the rotten report handed dealt to them by Archie Grayling (James Wilby) AKA dad of Sebastian Grayling (Rik Makarem) and AKA Lily’s (Crystal Yu) ‘type’ and more…

Jacob (Charles Venn) is not taking the role of helping the team to make improvements to the kind of level that Charlie (Derek Thompson) feels he should be, so he and Duffy (Cath Shipton) set upon a Wizard of Oz style mission. What’s at stake? Breakfast of course, the sweetest breakfast Charlie’s ever had? I shouldn’t have thought so since this one would involve Jacob, but still, the challenge is on. More than one challenge it seems, which shows the lighter and comedy side of Charlie and Duffy. In fact I think the scenes that they are being given are going a long way to proving how well suited the pair of scamps are! David, Louise and Noel are left in bewildered bafflement for much of the episode, not to mention that Noel’s role is slightly redundant with the introduction of Elle’s (Jaye Griffith) Star Wars style self-service check-ins for patients.

Programme Name: Casualty 30 - Series 31 - TX: 26/11/2016 - Episode: Casualty 30 13 (No. 13) - Picture Shows: Charlie Fairhead (DEREK THOMPSON), Lisa Duffin (CATHY SHIPTON), Dorothy - (C) BBC - Photographer: Alistair Heap
Picture Shows: Charlie Fairhead (DEREK THOMPSON), Lisa Duffin (CATHY SHIPTON), Dorothy – (C) BBC – Photographer: Alistair Heap

On the emergency side, drugs and night club crushes are at the heart of the programme. Dodgy dealings, a protective brother and drug-fuelled carelessness lead to a near-loss and the requirement for Psychiatric input. All of which was portrayed extremely realistically and I admit my heart was in my mouth when David took it upon himself to jump from a great height to be the hero of the hour. It’s a pity nobody saw him do it. Although there were plenty of witnesses about when he roared like a lion for Charlie, back at Holby!

There’s also more disapproving looks and comments from Dylan (Will Beck) as Sebastian is still not up to scratch. Looking forward to seeing how this mentorship is going to continue to play out.

 

Casualty ‘Too Much Love Will Kill You’ ~ Episode Review

The clue is in the title of this episode, it appears that poor Robyn’s (Amanda Henderson) relationship with Glenn (Owain Arthur) is well and truly doomed. Their return from Paris sees the pair more loved up than ever before, and Robyn is planning a special surprise so that she can propose to the love of her life. However, Glenn has kept his latest appointment a secret from her, and the news isn’t good. I think that this storyline has brought Robyn into her own and given a chance for Amanda Henderson to show exactly what she’s capable of, she is by far the right actress to be given such a dramatic plot to play out.

Meanwhile, Jacob (Charles Venn) is facing his demons after Elle’s (Jaye Griffiths) taunting with his schoolboy nickname of Pudding becomes too much. Particularly when a morbidly obese mother is brought in and passes away. The fall-out, with her young daughter and husband was handled brilliantly and Jacob’s involvement was a very natural process, which gave another opportunity to see Jacob’s character traits emerging. I like the connections that the characters are having to the back-stories of the guest characters, it’s an inspired way of teasing out more of the regulars’ history. Which, if we’re honest, we’re always going to be nosey about, and if you’re anything like me, I analyse every interaction between main character and guest character, in case that’s something to watch out for in the future!

amanda
Poor Robyn!

The episode was lightened somewhat by the awkwardness between Cal (Richard Winsor) and Alicia (Chelsea Halfpenny) following their one night stand. They seemed to have a scoring system going on and I also wondered if they were gearing up for a re-match, all the while I’m feeling so sorry for Ethan (George Rainsford).

to add to the tension of the Robyn and Glenn situation, Dylan’s (Will Beck) skills are put to the test when he gets stuck in a broken down lift with Max (Jamie Davis), David (Jason Durr) and an unconscious Glenn. An emergency burr hole is the order of the day, but Dylan is not confident to go ahead with Robyn’s wishes which she is vocalising via the lift’s communication system! It’s a good job that David is on hand to encourage the reluctant Consultant to keep at it. Thank goodness it’s a successful mission and the lift does not reactivate until the procedure is completed.

Overall, an episode that certainly kept me on my toes and showed some of the best of what Casualty has to offer. This is definitely shaping up to being one of my favourite series so far and not just because we have Duffy (Cath Shipton) back!

Casualty ‘Schoolboy Crush’ ~ Episode Review

Where do I start with this week’s episode? The fact that Duffy (Cath Shipton) is obviously making a subtle play for Charlie (Derek Thompson) (only it’s not that subtle to us viewers!). Two of the fantastic guest actresses in the form of Sheila Reid of Benidorm fame, playing  a character called Sheila, with a cat called Sheila, as well as Liza Goddard as Gloria, an old crush of Charlie’s. Or the fact that David (Jason Durr) and his slightly estranged son stood atop Holby City Hospital and shouted “I have Bipolar!”. Spoiled for choice with what to gush about first with this instalment.

I’ll start with the tale of Sheila and the cat called Sheila, who arrive together in the ED and run Alicia (Chelsea Halfpenny) and Ethan (George Rainsford) ragged. It paved the way for an important health issue to be raised, Toxoplasmosis in this case, very likely caused by Sheila’s feline namesake. However, it also showed allowed for a particularly caring side of Alicia’s nature to shine through as she offers her help to the stricken patient, and thus Ethan is enamoured once again!

Programme Name: Casualty 30 - Series 31 - TX: n/a - Episode: Casualty 30 6 (No. 6) - Picture Shows:  Charlie (DEREK THOMPSON), Gloria (LISA GODDARD), Lisa Duffin (CATHY SHIPTON) - (C) BBC - Photographer: Alistair Heap

Then there’s Charlie and Duffy’s relationship development which takes place at Charlie’s school reunion. It seems clear that Duffy is treating this as a date of sorts, and the appearance of Charlie’s old school crush, Gloria, is not a welcome sight for the returned character. It’s not exactly welcome to Charlie that Gloria is married to his old school bully, Allan Francis (Terrence Hillyer). Unexpectedly perhaps, Charlie is soon embroiled in ‘fisty cuffs’ and gaining the respect of his fellow ex-classmates. There are so many missed moments between our favourite nurses during these scenes, it’s almost painful to watch, but it’s also a pleasure to see because I have to hand it to both actors for playing this relationship out so naturally. They are a class act individually and a force, together.

More twists and turns are in store when Allan arrives in the ED and promptly has a stroke. Following his rapid recovery, Gloria declares that they should divorce and puts her business card into Charlie’s hot little mitt…. “don’t take it, Charlie!” I shouted at the telly. How fortunate that he heard me and binned it later on, as Duffy looked on with a mixture of emotions on her face, well played, Cath!

So we come to David, who’s son thought that the answer to his mother’s reaction to his texting his father was a little extreme and therefore did what every under age youth would do, drove her car to the hospital to see his dad. While there he casually set fire to it, in a fashion and David was forced to leap to his rescue in another of Casualty’s spectacular scenes. However, the over-riding message from the episode was that there should be no shame in mental health, and David’s bond with his son was sealed beautifully with David’s heart-felt, public admission that he suffers from Bipolar, which his son has ‘inherited’. So, we know more about David, we can piece together his character traits and a strong message went out to viewers, a winning combination if you ask me!

Photo credits: BBC

 

 

Casualty ‘Strike Three’ ~ Episode Review

A great opportunity to cross over with Holby City was offered this week, with the arrival of self-confessed ice queen, Jac Naylor (Rosie Marcel) to operate on young Grace (Emily Carey). The poor kid still isn’t out of the woods yet and causing her mother, Connie (Amanda Mealing) to quite literally have nightmares about the tragic situation. Sam Strachen (Tom Chambers), who is Grace’s father, or sperm donor, depending on what sort of mood you catch Connie in, has also arrived to be at his daughter’s bedside. So all in all, it’s a bit of a Holby City reunion!

Connie is in a state of utter despair in this week’s episode, and Amanda Mealing must be congratulated on her continued top class performance during the 30th anniversary show itself and the ensuing fall-out. When she attempts to ‘work’ following the collapse of a patient’s spouse, outside the hospital, it becomes all the more clear that she is in no fit state and highly incapable in her current state of physical and mental health. Seeing Connie ‘broken’ is something that we as viewers as so unused to, that I feel it’s testament to the writers for bringing her down in the worst way possible and stripping the character bare.

Meanwhile, Charlie (Derek Thompson) is on his knees having had very little sleep and a shoulder for Connie to lean on. Luckily, Duffy (Cath Shipton) is close by, observing his exhaustion and there’s a touching scene when she catches him asleep, head on his desk and puts his coat over his shoulders. This mutually caring relationship is what has kept viewers on tenterhooks for decades, now – maybe we’ll watch it develop further this time? Or perhaps not, as Duffy’s wedding ring was clearly on show when all of the team de-camped to the pub to wait on news of Grace’s operation. I liked the way that Charlie and Duffy were portrayed as the ‘Mum’ and ‘Dad’ of the department during those scenes, the social hierarchy was explored, beautifully.

Crystal
Crystal Yu as Lily

I am enjoying the development of the ‘friendship’ between Lily (Crystal Yu) and Ian (Michael Stevenson), I had toyed with the idea of a potential romantic relationship blossoming in the future, between the two of them. That might not be what the writers have in store for them, but it has certainly lodged in my head!

I felt that despite its usual guest characters, this week’s instalment was all about the team, and given the timeline of the events post-30th anniversary, this seemed like the right way to take the direction of the episode in.

Casualty ‘Where The Truth Lies’ ~ Episode Review

It was all systems go in the ED for Dr Keogh (Will Beck) as his father caused yet more trauma in Saturday’s episode. Brian (Matthew Marsh) had sworn off the fags due to his ailing health, but a quick smoke in his flat turned into a torrid blaze, risking the lives of his baby daughter, and his partner, Hazel (Vicky Hall). Jez (Lloyd Everitt) saves the day, to an extent, when he catches the baby in distressing scenes. My heart was in my mouth, it was a brilliantly filmed sequence.

Dylan, yet again was faced with being too close to the situation versus his desire to do his job and help his step-family. Dr Beauchamp (Amanda Mealing) was on hand to step in, in the midst of speculation about her relationship with Jacob (Charles Venn).

It was also a heart-wrenching episode for Robyn (Amanda Henderson) when Glen (Owain Arthur) was exposed by David (Jason Durr) as the fraud he really is. With no deceased wife truthfully in the picture, poor Robyn was left devastated after David forced Glen to admit his lies.

The episode featured David as a central character which was another great platform to reveal more about him, as much of his personality still remains a mystery and his crippling shyness is a barrier to many situations. However, when Vera Vintner (Rula Lenska), a legendary film star whom he is a fan of appears in the ED, the star struck Nurse makes it his mission to find out what her sister is up to. He certainly was the proverbial Sherlock!

Casualty
A star struck David meets a favourite film star whom he sets out to help. (Rula Lenska and Jason Durr)

Another Detective, Dr Keogh, meanwhile is trying to get to the bottom of the fire in his father’s flat, and the fact that Brian had stamped on his cigarette in his stocking feet signals the series of events that eventually lead to the disastrous father taking his leave.

An action packed instalment, with inspired continuation of storylines and a fantastic appearance from Rula Lenska.

Photo credits: BBC

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