Casualty's Belfast star Derek has become national institution
Soap opera actors may never get the international acclaim of Hollywood greats, but often they are regarded with greater affection by their fans who come to view long-serving characters as real people, rather than well-written and crafted works of fiction.
Charlie Fairhead, who has spent 30 years in BBC's Casualty, is one such character. Played by Ulsterman Derek Thompson, he has become something of a national treasure and the very epitome of the sort of member of staff we would all like to treat us in a real-life hospital emergency department. Yes, it is only make-believe, but Derek is superbly convincing.