Casualty (series 31)

 Clive Mantle

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Casualty (series 31)

Casualty (series 31)
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of episodes 45
Original network BBC One
Original release 27 August 2016 (2016-08-27) – 29 July 2017 (2017-07-29)
Series chronology

The thirty-first series of the British medical drama television series Casualty commenced airing on BBC One in the United Kingdom on 27 August 2016. The series consists of 45 episodes, including the show's feature-length thirtieth anniversary special episode, "Too Old for This Shift". Erika Hossington continued her role as series producer, while Oliver Kent continued his role as the show's executive producer until 8 June 2017, with sister show Holby City's series producer, Simon Harper, being promoted from the show's acting executive producer as of December 2016, to executive producer on 8 June 2017. Seventeen cast members reprised their roles from the previous series with original character Lisa "Duffy" Duffin returning to the series as part of the show's thirtieth anniversary celebrations. Rik Makarem appeared in the series between October 2016 and January 2017 as F1 Sebastian Grayling. This series also featured the death of a regular character, which was revealed at the time of broadcast as Caleb Knight (Richard Winsor).

The opening episode of the series was a special feature-length episode, celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of the medical drama. The episode featured main character crossovers from Holby City, with Rosie Marcel, who plays Jac Naylor, Guy Henry, who plays Henrik Hanssen, and Alex Walkinshaw, who plays Adrian Fletcher all making guest appearances. Various former characters who have also appeared in previous series throughout the thirty years of broadcast also made guest appearances during the episode. The episode featured the hospital and main characters lives in danger as an air ambulance crashed in the emergency department car park. The episode was watched by 7.20 million viewers. A special soundtrack was also recorded for the episode by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. Fans "demanded the show won an award" after the episode had aired, while Daily Mirror reporter Sharon Marshall described the anniversary as a "pitch-perfect episode mixing gore, heartache, drama and nostalgia". Despite this, the episode did receive criticism from Midlands Air Ambulance charity, who branded the plot as "insensitive".

On 25 January 2017, Casualty was awarded Best Drama at the National Television Awards. On 11 April 2017, the show was nominated for Best Soap & Continuing Drama at the BAFTAs, but was unsuccessful. The series concluded on 29 July 2017 with a special episode, "One", filmed in one take, using a single camera, forty microphones and five boom operators. Show creator Paul Unwin returned to the show to write the episode.



The thirty-first series of Casualty features a cast of characters working in the emergency department of Holby City Hospital. The majority of the cast from the previous series continue to appear in this series. Amanda Mealing appears as clinical lead and consultant in emergency medicine Connie Beauchamp, whilst Jaye Griffiths and William Beck appear as consultants Elle Gardner, who briefly acted as clinical lead, and Dylan Keogh. George Rainsford, Richard Winsor and Crystal Yu portray specialty registrars Ethan Hardy, Caleb "Cal" Knight and Lily Chao. Chelsea Halfpenny appears as Alicia Munroe, a doctor undergoing the second year of foundation training. Charles Venn portrays clinical nurse manager Jacob Masters, whilst Derek Thompson stars as senior charge nurse Charlie Fairhead, who has appeared in the show since its conception. Amanda Henderson, Azuka Oforka and Jason Durr play staff nurses Robyn Miller, Louise Tyler and David Hide. Michael Stevenson and Lloyd Everitt star as paramedics Iain Dean and Jez Andrews. Tony Marshall and Jamie Davis appear as receptionist and porter Noel Garcia and Max Walker respectively. Emily Carey and Owain Arthur also appear as Grace Beauchamp-Strachan and Glen Thomas in a recurring capacity.

It was announced on 7 June 2016 that following three guest appearances in the previous series, Cathy Shipton had returned to the show as a regular cast member. Her character, Lisa "Duffy" Duffin, who appeared in the show on-off since its inception, returned in the opening episode of this series. Of Shipton's return, Kent said, "All of us at Casualty are incredibly excited that the fabulous Cathy Shipton has agreed to bring Duffy back to the Emergency Department." Arthur made his final appearance in episode 10. Tom Chambers guest appeared in episode 4 as Sam Strachan, Grace's father, following two appearances in the previous series. Chambers was a regular cast member in the show's spin-off show, Holby City, between 2006 and 2008. Hossington announced that Sam would be reintroduced to the series "for a little while" when he receives a job as the hospital's medical director and Sam returned in episode 23. Chambers later revealed that he would be leaving at the end of his contract due to a prior commitment, but return after its conclusion. It was announced on 7 February 2017 that the show had filmed a funeral for a regular character. Episode 34 featured the death of Cal Knight (Winsor) after he was stabbed by a white supremacist who blamed Ethan for his father's death. Winsor decided to leave the series of his own accord, but was initially surprised to discover his character would be killed-off before coming round to the idea.

Several former regular cast members reprised their roles and made a cameo appearance within the show's feature-length opening episode, which included: Mackenzie "Big Mac" Chalker (Charles Dale), who departed from the show in the previous series; Tess Bateman (Suzanne Packer), who appeared in the show for twelve years; Jay Faldren (Ben Turner), who appeared between 2008 and 2011; John "Abs" Denham (James Redmond), who departed from the show in 2008; Alice Chantrey (Sam Grey), who appeared in the show for over four years; Mike Barrett (Clive Mantle), who appeared in the show between 1993 and 1998; Comfort Jones (Martina Laird), who left the show in 2006; and Lenny Lyons (Steven Miller) who appeared in the show for three years. Ian Bleasdale also returned, reprising the role of Josh Griffiths, one of the show's longest-serving characters, but for the entirety of the episode. Bleasdale made a further three appearances in the series; Josh appeared in episodes 21, 22 and 37. Russell Boulter reprised his role as Ryan Johnson for two episodes to resolve a storyline about his estranged marriage to Duffy.

During the feature-length special, three characters from Holby City made guest appearances: hospital chief executive officer Henrik Hanssen (Guy Henry), cardiothoracic surgeon and clinical lead of Darwin ward Jac Naylor (Rosie Marcel), and ward manager of AAU ward Adrian "Fletch" Fletcher (Alex Walkinshaw). Walkinshaw had previously appeared in Casualty between 2012 and 2014. Mealing, Stevenson, Everitt and Tonicha Lawrence, who plays patient Stephanie Sims, appeared in the episode of Holby City that followed the feature-length special, "Protect and Serve". Kent promised "several" more crossovers between the two shows following this. Marcel also appeared in episode 4, alongside John Michie who plays consultant neurosurgeon Guy Self on Holby City. Michie previously appeared in Casualty in 2014 when his character was the hospital's CEO. Hugh Quarshie guest appeared as acting CEO Ric Griffin in episodes 18 and 19. Chizzy Akudolu confirmed that she would make a guest appearance in the series, portraying her Holby City character, consultant cardiothoracic surgeon Mo Effanga. The character appeared in episode 31. Lee Mead filmed a guest appearance as Lofty Chiltern, a former Casualty character and current Holby City character, which was broadcast in episode 39.

On 31 August 2016, it was confirmed that Rik Makarem had joined the cast as Sebastian Grayling. Makarem made his first on-screen appearance in episode 11, on 29 October 2016. Makarem left the series after appearing in eight episodes, making his departure in episode 18, broadcast on 7 January 2017. Sebastian's father, Archie Grayling, a consultant surgeon, was introduced for the storyline. James Wilby was cast in the role of Archie and also left in episode 18. Iain's sister, Gemma Dean (Rebecca Ryan), joined the series in episode 20, and departed in episode 34.

The series featured and will feature several recurring characters, and numerous guest stars. Following the cliffhanger at end of the previous series, Lawrence (Stephanie Sims) appeared in the feature-length episode. The show's Winter 2016 trailer confirmed Lawrence had reprised the role and appeared in episode 24. EastEnders "legend" Pam St. Clement was cast as "surly" patient Sally Hodge and appeared in the feature-length episode. St. Clement's return to the role was announced on 12 December 2016, with Hossington later confirming she would return for a guest appearance in March. St. Clement appeared in episode 27. Poppy Jhakra was also cast as agency nurse Amira Zafar for the feature-length episode and Jhakra reprised the role for an appearance in episode 23. David's family was introduced in episode 6, with the appearance of his son and former wife, Oliver (Harry Collett) and Rosa (Lorraine Pilkington). Collett reprised the role in episodes 18, 19 and 26. Hossington revealed in February 2017 that the show would reintroduce a family who guest appeared in the previous series. On 16 March 2017, it was announced that Roy Ellisson (John Killoran) and Denise Ellisson (Lucy Benjamin) would be reintroduced in April alongside their sons Scott Ellisson (Will Austin) and Mickey Ellisson (Mitch Hewer). Hewer said, "I'm very excited for people to meet Mickey and for them to feel the difficulties that he endures in his life", and Harper commented, "We met Mickey's parents in 2015, but don't judge a book by its cover. Mickey isn't necessarily cut from the same cloth in his dealings with the Casualty regulars and there will be absolutely explosive consequences." Killoran appeared in two episodes, whereas the rest of the family began making recurring appearances.

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