Cathy Shipton on filming Casualty
Cathy Shipton on her shock when she heard the idea for this week’s unique episode of Casualty…
Cathy Shipton recalls chuckling when she first heard the plan for a special episode of Casualty, filmed all in just one take on a single camera!
‘When it was first mooted, about six months ago, we all just laughed,’ smiles original cast member Cathy, who plays Duffy. ‘Paul Unwin, the show’s co-creator, kept saying he was keen on the “one-er” and I kept thinking it was an April Fool’s joke!’
Paul, however, wasn’t kidding and this week viewers can see the special – titled One – which is the final act in the show’s 30th anniversary celebrations. And it’s an emotionally charged story as the team deal with the fallout from a house fire.
‘It’s unlike anything any of the cast or crew has done before,’ says
Cathy. ‘It’s a brilliant fly-on-the-wall episode in real time. It's a classic Casualty.’
Here, Cathy, 60, tells us more...
So, how does the special start? Two work experience girls, Chloe and Diamond, come into the ED and muggins here is assigned to show them around, but the day takes over! We see everything, from Charlie [Derek Thompson] taking incoming emergencies to a patient making wisecracks because he doesn’t know he’s in a bad state.
do the two girls get into mischief? There are times Duffy has to park them in certain places and, because they’re kids, they wander off. They go to places they shouldn’t and hear things they shouldn’t hear. They then use that information either naively or in a meddling way!
was it chaotic to film a whole episode in one take?
We used the entire set like a stage, and batons were continually being handed over. When Duffy takes the girls upstairs to the pharmacy, we had a cameraman on a harness, which was pretty hairy for him!
were you worried about fluffing your lines?
There’s been pressure doing this, but it’s been shared. There are all sorts of ways around fluffed lines. I have to do a scene where Duffy receives some awful news and physically reacts to it. Someone laughed during rehearsals! The cast knew
there’d be some improvising.
You’ve worked on casualty since it began. what does it mean to you?
I’ve had people tell me they’re a doctor, a nurse or a paramedic because of the show.
It’s wonderful that it educates, illuminates and entertains. Also, Derek and I met our partners through it and we’ve now got children and families!
Tell us something we may not already know about casualty… Originally its working titles were Front Line or War Zone, because, after the paramedics, the nurses are the ones who soak everything up in emergencies. I never imagined, 30 years after it started, we’d be doing something as ambitious as this!
Cathy and Derek in the early days Duffy’s kept busy with Diamond and Chloe to look after