10 Casualty facts as BBC medical drama turns 35 – from spin-off to A-list cameos

Casualty has lasted 36 series so far but bosses looked to pull the plug on the show after the second run. It was deemed too political but was reinstated after a rethink.

The crew get through two pints of fake blood per episode, while make-up artists replicate pus by spinning yellow colouring through hair conditioner, brain matter by concocting a ­potion of wool, fake blood and gel, and make vomit from packet soup, rice pudding and juice.

Derek Thompson, who plays Charlie Fairhead, is the show’s longest-serving actor. The Belfast-born star, 73, has been in it from the first episode. He also has the show to thank for his wife Dee Sadler – they met on set after she landed a bit part as a character called Maggie.

Cathy Shipton, who played nurse Duffy and was the longest-serving female star until her departure last year, also met her husband Chris Guard on set, when he played character Ken Hodges.

This summer telly fans were outraged when spin-off show Holby City was cancelled after 23 years. The Beeb said: “This tough decision reflects the BBC’s commitment to make more programmes across the UK and to better reflect, represent and serve all parts of the country.” A petition has been set up to save it, but the last episode is due to air next March.

Several actors have appeared in both Casualty and Holby City, including Clive Mantle, who played surgeon Mike Barratt, Amanda Mealing, who joined Casualty in 2014 after six years at Holby, and Michael French, who played heart-throb Nick Jordan.

When Charlie
married Baz Wilder (Julia Watson) some of the cast sang a cover of Love Affair’s hit Everlasting Love on the episode. It went down so well it was released as a single and got those involved a slot on Top of the Pops.

Many big stars appeared on Casualty before finding fame, including Kate Winslet, Helen Baxendale, Orlando Bloom, Jonny Lee Miller and Patsy Kensit. Danny Dyer had a role in 2012 as a paramedic.

And actors from the original series have gone on to success. Brenda Fricker, 76, who played nurse Megan Roach made history as the only Irishwoman to win an Oscar, in 1990 for My Left Foot, while George Harris, who was nurse Clive King, starred as Kingsley Shacklebolt in the Harry Potter films.

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