Casualty is a soap I used to watch regularly when it was still an occasional drama. As Charlie Fairhead (Derek Thompson) entered the Holby hospital for the first time, you could tell he’d be the only one left standing when the time comes to close it. Even when we get to the day when the character dies, you just know they’ll encase his body in carbonite and put him on display in the main entrance.
Until that day, however, it’s just a programme I watch now and again. I got into it again for a while when it followed Doctor Who last autumn, but beyond that, I don’t think I’ve seen it since, hence I was unaware of Connie’s car accident until now, which was the cliffhanger on the previous episode, four weeks earlier. I don’t know about you, but if anyone else is being a dick on the road, and it’s obvious that speeding up and heading off-road is going to be a disaster, the best thing to do is use your brakes – it’s certainly my default action. But no, Connie turned her vehicle into Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and went flying through the air. Did they start singing in the hope it’d make the car float back up? What do you think.
In this 30th anniversary episode, every time something went wrong and it was time for crash/bang/wallop in Final Destination-style, it was done in an over-the-top fashion, and the calamities made ME need medical attention as I split my sides!
Meanwhile – with video footage from the characters spliced into the programme occasionally, wishing Charlie a happy anniversary – everyone was trying to hide Charlie’s surprise party from him, and as it was about to happen, it clearly looked like evening in the hospital, yet cuts to other daytime scenes. It’s a bit like Doctors where there’s two concurrent storylines in the same episode, yet the weather is wildly different between them.
Oh, and popping back into the small screen, Pat Wicks/Butcher/etc (Pam St Clement) comes back to life and turns up with a broken leg and a little bit more, but once things really started to kick off, her character was quickly forgotten about. They could’ve brought her back at the end, gasping for a fag!
At 100 minutes, Too Old For This Shift is overlong, silly and predictable, and is full of people saying things like “It’s all my fault and something has to be done!”, like they’re auditioning for the Royal Shakespeare Company.
It’s also typical that whenever one of the paramedics are injured in a situation, they think they’re John McClane in Die Hard 2 after they’ve ejected out of a plane, and they’ll soldier on regardless. But whenever I’ve seen it, Casualty is usually the latter two, and you generally put it on just to see how someone will get put in hospital.
Casualty 30th Anniversary – Too Old For This Shift isn’t available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD, and is unlikely to be, but the episode is available to watch on BBC iPlayer until September 26th. Also, click on the top image for the full-size version.
Director: Steve Hughes
Producer: Lucy Raffety
Series Producer: Erika Hossington
WriterS: Matthew Barry and Andy Bayliss
Charlie Fairhead: Derek Thompson
Connie Beauchamp: Amanda Mealing
Jacob Masters: Charles Venn
Elle Gardner: Jaye Griffiths
Ethan Hardy: George Rainsford
Alicia Munroe: Chelsea Halfpenny
Lisa ‘Duffy’ Duffin: Cathy Shipton
Iain Dean: Michael Stevenson
Lily Chao: Crystal Yu
Caleb Knight: Richard Winsor
Dylan Keogh: William Beck
Louise Tyler: Azuka Oforka
David Hide: Jason Durr
Noel Garcia: Tony Marshall
Jez Andrews: Lloyd Everitt
Robyn Miller: Amanda Henderson
Max Walker: Jamie Davis
Amira Zafar: Poppy Jhakra
Sally Hodge: Pam St Clement
Josh Griffiths: Ian Bleasdale
Jac Naylor: Rosie Marcel
Henrik Hanssen: Guy Henry
Adrian ‘Fletch’ Fletcher: Alex Walkinshaw
Grace Beauchamp-Strachan: Emily Carey
Kai Swift: Raif Clarke
Charlote Swift: Daisy Douglas
Steve Swift: Adam Foster
Steph Sims: Tonicha Lawrence
Harry Price: John Hogg
Jamshid ‘Jay’ Faldren: Ben Turner
Comfort Jones: Martina Laird
Tess Bateman: Suzanne Packer
Lenny Lyons: Steven Miller
Alice Chantrey: Sam Grey
Abs Denham: James Redmond
Big Mac: Charles Dale
Mike Barratt: Clive Mantle
Debbie Phillips: Holli Hoffman
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.