Connie Beauchamp is about to hit crisis point like never before in Casualty as the character’s battle with PTSD – and the resulting addiction to diazepam – leads to her taking drastic and uncharacteristic action that could have severe consequences for Duffy tonight. And as Connie makes some harrowing mistakes which could give Aidan the ammunition to finish her career, an exit looms as Amanda Mealing takes a break from the show.
We caught up with the actress and she told Metro.co.uk what we could expect, teasing: ‘Connie is broken, desperate and not herself. By the time we get to the double episode, things come to a head and we will see how affected Connie is by the whole thing.
‘Archie and Ciaran are onto the fact she is over prescribing – if they get the evidence, her career is over. And to Connie, her career is everything – she has sacrificed so much for it. If she can’t work, she doesn’t exist; she’s nothing.
‘What we will see in that double episode is the fact that an addict’s addiction not only affects them but the wider group around them. The chaos that ensures because of her pursuit of her drug of choice – this is it. These are the consequences; there’s a huge fallout.’
Fans are set to ache for Connie as her life hits the skids once again – and Amanda is hopeful that viewers will be able to empathise with her alter ego’s plight, even when she is carrying out actions which have repercussions for other characters. When asked if she was afraid there may be a backlash, Amanda admitted that it was at the forefront of her mind when she heard the direction Connie would take.
She said: ‘It was exactly my concern when this came. I argued and argued against doing some aspects of this storyline because there is no way you can forgive Connie for doing some of the things she does. But hopefully, we have shown that Connie herself is vulnerable and she is broken. It’s partly self inflicted and partly PTSD but she is not in her right mind. She is an addict, she is under scrutiny and she is not only anxious, she is also paranoid. This is not Connie. She is trying to pretend that she is Connie. I really hope the we show over the weeks that she is desperate and not herself and that the audience can see what she is going through too.
And despite being at the centre of so many major storylines, Amanda has felt most challenged by this storyline.
She revealed: ‘I think this has been the hardest thing to do for me because we have to deal with it appropriately. You are representing people who have gone through this so we have to show how debilitating it can be and can be triggered by the smallest thing. Self medicating is such a dangerous thing to do – the chaos impacts everyone around the addict. Everyone is caught in the whirlwind and I feel that was very important to show. And often that the addict is the last one to know that they have a problem. It takes Charlie – the one person who Connie truly trusts – to tell her the truth. She really is in trouble and it’s devastating.
‘To see feisty, sassy and strong Connie crumbling is really sad. And that’s why I’m pleased Connie was given this journey – it’s often the strongest people who are the last people to ask for help. They think they can deal with it alone. It’s good to show that if something like this, you need appropriate help – whether it’s talking to someone professionally or someone you trust. It’s not something you can deal with yourself.’
Fans know that Amanda is set to take a break from the show as the storyline culminates – but the actress has promised a big return for Connie and can’t wait to get back into action.
She explained: ‘Oh I will be back! I have been struggling with a serious back problem for 18 months which is in part due to the weight loss – the medication I was taking was suppressing my appetite. So I just had an operation four weeks ago which is why I have been given time off.
‘I am doing very well, I am standing and walking without crutches now, which is an achievement after such a short time. Casualty so kindly wrote the story to a point where Connie had to leave so I could have my operation. I will be back – without crutches and in heels! Connie’s return is bound to be exciting, I am looking forward to seeing what they have in store for her! It won’t be quiet, I’m sure.’
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