Josh reunites with Charlie and Duffy for Casualty's 30th anniversary special




Casualty's most ambitious episode ever.

Casualty’s feature-length 30th anniversary episode, airing on BBC One on Saturday 27 August, sees Josh - played by Ian Bleasdale - return to Holby to celebrate Charlie’s 30 years of service to the NHS, only to find himself getting his hands dirty in the Emergency Department.

The anniversary special follows the dramatic series finale cliff-hanger, where Steph, played by Tonicha Lawrence, had her revenge on Connie, played by Amanda Mealing, by forcing her off the edge of a cliff in a heated car chase.

As the Holby team plan a surprise party to celebrate Charlie’s 30th anniversary in the hospital, news of Connie’s accident reaches the hospital and the party’s preparations are put on hold. Both Connie and Grace’s lives hang in the balance as the car lies at the bottom of a ravine. It’s all hands on deck as the team are unsure if they will be found dead or alive.

Ian joined the series in 1989 as a guest artist, pushing trollies, before joining as a regular cast member as a paramedic. He was with the show for 18 years and was a close friend of head nurse Charlie Fairhead. He describes how he felt when he returned to the series to film the special episode: “My first feeling was of slight apprehension, and the first scene of the first day I had to deal with a technically complex script! The medical advisor, Pete Salt, looked at me and said ‘Ian, you know what to do’ and I did! Great cast and crew, fantastic director and producer. I felt completely at home again and loved it.”

The centrepiece of Casualty’s 30th anniversary episode is a hugely ambitious stunt. Steve Hughes, director of the episode, explains the complexity of filming the stunt: “When Series Producer Erika Hossington, told me about the ambition for the episode, I couldn’t believe we’d attempt to do something that big! Even before my preparation started, I had numerous conversations with my stunt coordinator, Julian Spencer. Between us we decided to attempt to shoot the sequence practically, for real rather than using CGI. It would make things incredibly complicated, but the end result, as I hope people will agree when they see the episode, would be worth it.

“There would be CGI involved to add to the practical effects, but we wanted the sequence to feel terrifyingly real. We wanted the whole episode to have a feature film quality to it, without having a feature film schedule and price tag. The main stunt was shot over two days using various stunts, VFX and rigging teams. We shot about 16 stunts in those two days and everyone had an amazing time, some of the most fun days I’ve ever had on a set - it was a blast!”

The episode also includes another special guest cast member, Pam St Clement. She takes up the role of Sally, who is a very grumpy patient and is initially distrustful of Charlie - but can his experience and charm win her over?

Oliver Kent, Executive Producer, says: “ It’s fantastic to join two TV greats in one episode. Pam and Derek Thompson have been on our screens for decades, it’s a truly brilliant moment in the episode.”

With a series consolidated average of 5.4 million viewers every Saturday night, Casualty, airing all year round, has featured more future stars than any other UK soap or drama series, including some of the world’s best known Hollywood actors: Orlando Bloom (Pirates Of The Caribbean), Daisy Ridley (Star Wars), Kate Winslet (The Dressmaker), Tom Hiddleston (The Night Manager), David Walliams (Billionaire Boy, Little Britain), Sue Perkins (The Great British Bake Off), Martin Freeman (Sherlock), Danny Dyer (EastEnders), Sadie Frost, Nicholas Hoult (X-Men), McFly, Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Avengers) and Minnie Driver (Good Will Hunting), among others.

The production is made by BBC Studios Wales for BBC One and is filmed at the Roath Lock Studios, Cardiff. The feature-length episode is 1hr 40mins and will air on BBC One on Saturday 27 August.

Notes to Editors
‘Too Old For This Shift’
Writers: Matthew Barry and Andy Bayliss
Executive Producer: Oliver Kent
Series Producer: Erika Hossington
Co-Executive Producer: Mark Catley
Director: Steve Hughes

Guest cast
Sally Hodge played by Pam St Clement
Josh played by Ian Bleasdale
Henrik Hanssen played by Guy Henry (Holby City)
Adrian ‘Fletch’ Fletcher played by Alex Walkinshaw (Holby City)
Jac Naylor played by Rosie Marcel (Holby City)
Grace Beauchamp-Strachan played by Emily Carey
Steph Sims played by Tonicha Lawrence

  • Casualty was aired for the first time on September 6, 1986 on BBC One
  • The longest-running British peak-time medical drama based around the work of A&E was created by Jeremy Brock and Paul Unwin, and produced by Geraint Morris

August 6, 2016 3:53pm ET by BBC One   Comments (0)

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