Char­lie con­tin­ues to lead the way at Holby

Macclesfield Express - - TVWEEK -

To work in Bri­tain's most fa­mous hos­pi­tal emer­gency depart­ment you need to be nurse, psy­chol­o­gist, so­cial worker and coun­sel­lor all rolled into one. That's be­cause, down at Holby City A&E, folk arenít just hatched, patched and dis­patched. Bro­ken hearts are just as likely to get mended as rup­tured ones and life­lines are of­fered just as read­ily to a down and-out as an emer­gency crash pa­tient. All this above-the-call-of-duty car­ing is what makes Ca­su­alty (Satur­day, BBC1, 8.50pm) such a suc­cess. And af­ter 29 years on our screens, Bri­tain's long­est- run­ning med­i­cal drama isn't even limp­ing. There's no crutch re­quired; Ca­su­alty is in rude health. The drama was in­vented, at the BBC's re­quest, to high­light the plight of the over-stretched, underpaid strug­gles that dogged the NHS back in the mid-1980s; Ca­su­alty has al­ways been about peo­ple and their abil­ity to rise above ex­treme ad­ver­sity. The staff, faced with job cuts and fi­nan­cial re­straints, con­stantly man­age to get the job done to the ab­so­lute best of their abil­ity. They save lives, lis­ten to their pa­tients' prob­lems and try to ban­dage all the phys­i­cal and emo­tional hurt they come into con­tact with each day. With­out a doubt, Ca­su­alty be­came the best ad­vert the NHS could ever have wished for. Over the years, the team has seen ev­ery­thing from a pri­mary school inferno to the bloody af­ter­math of a shop­ping cen­tre bomb blast, and var­i­ous other high-drama spe­cial episodes that Ca­su­alty's watch­ing mil­lions would­nít miss in a month of Satur­days. Even when the drama is not at its height, though, the qual­ity of the act­ing never lets up. The cast, which has changed and evolved over the years just like a real hos­pi­tal staff would, is also strength­ened now and again by spe­cial guests. Fa­mous faces ap­pear on Holby's trol­leys as regularly as bed­pans on a geri­atrics ward. Renowned ac­tors and ac­tresses look on a guest ap­pear­ance in Ca­su­alty as a pres­ti­gious event, and will hap­pily throw their tal­ents into even the most mi­nor char­ac­ter role. There is one man who re­mains ever-present – Derek Thompson, alias Char­lie Fair­head. He took a six-month sab­bat­i­cal from the show in 2004, but apart from that has al­ways been on hand to mop fur­rowed brows and lend a shoul­der to cry on.

Hos­pi­tal drama: Star­ring Derek Thompson and Charles Dale.

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