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Casualty marks 30 years with a cliffhanger plotline

Published 27/08/2016

Derek Thompson has served all 30 years on Casualty playing Charlie Fairhead (BBC/PA)
Derek Thompson has served all 30 years on Casualty playing Charlie Fairhead (BBC/PA)

Hospital drama Casualty raised fans' blood pressure as the 30th anniversary episode pitched from one disaster to the next during a feature-length thriller.

Viewers saw the bloody aftermath of a car crash from the previous episode where popular character Connie Beauchamp (Amanda Mealing) and her daughter Grace (Emily Carey) pitched off a cliff in their vehicle.

But the list of casualties was set to rise dramatically, as the air ambulance enlisted to lift Grace to Holby City A&E was downed by a rogue drone just as it reached the hospital, taking out various staff and patients as it smashed into the department.

The stunt was designed to celebrate 30 years of the BBC One programme, which first aired on September 6 1986 and this week's landmark instalment centred on Charlie Fairhead (Derek Thompson), the only character to have put in all three decades on the cast.

It tied the storyline together with the crash taking place during Charlie's surprise party for working 30 years at the hospital, with ex-stars including Clive Mantle as Mike Barratt, Ian Bleasdale as Josh Griffiths and Martina Laird as Comfort Jones making guest appearances.

The regular cast were also joined by former EastEnder Pam St Clement, who made a one-off appearance as a bolshy patient.

While the main characters managed to escape being axed from the series despite the helicopter crash and were all accounted for by the end of the episode, fans were left with a cliffhanger when it came to Grace's fate as the medics warned that she may not be all right, but did not explain what had happened to her.

Saturday's episode, entitled Too Old For This Shift, was the longest the series has aired in its history, running at one hour and 40 minutes.

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