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Casualty, styled as CASUAL+Y, is the longest running emergency medical drama series in the world, and the second-longest-running medical drama in the world behind America's General Hospital. Created by Jeremy Brock and Paul Unwin, it was first broadcast in 1986 and transmitted in the UK on BBC One (with repeats on Watch). The producer was Geraint Morris. The programme is based around the fictional Holby City Hospital and focuses on the staff and patients of the hospital's Accident and Emergency Department. The show has close ties to its sister programme Holby City which began as a spin off from Casualty in 1999. The show's plots and characters occasionally crossover between the two programmes. Casualty is filmed approximately 3 months in advance of broadcast and runs for most of the year, with each series defined by approximately a month's break during the summer.

The programme and its history


Casualty is set in the fictional city of Holby. The show is filmed almost entirely in Bristolmarker and well-known landmarks such as the floating harbourmarker and Clifton Suspension Bridgemarker are often visible in outdoor scenes. City of Bristol Collegemarker was used as the location for most exterior shots of the hospital from 1986 until 2002 when a new exterior set was built on lawrence hill industrial park in the city at .

It was confirmed on 26 March 2009 that the BBC will move the filming of Casualty to studios in Cardiffmarker in 2011.

About the show

The drama concerns a group of doctors, nurses and administrators who work in the Accident & Emergency department (since Series 18 termed the Emergency Department (ED)). The show centres around the work of the medical staff and depicts their struggle to do their job effectively whilst dealing with bureaucracy and the difficult working environment of the NHS. This has been a recurring theme over the years, particularly in the early series, when the show was frequently criticised for endorsing criticism of National Health Service management under the Conservative government of the day.

History and broadcast

The programme has usually been transmitted on Saturday nights, although for a period in the late 1980s and early '90s it switched to Fridays. The first two series each consisted of 15 episodes; series 3 ran for 10 episodes (although one of those episodes was postponed following the death of its guest star, Roy Kinnear); series 4, 5 and 6 were 12, 13, and 15 episodes long respectively. The final episode of series 6, which focused on a plane crash, was postponed until February 1992, after being initially scheduled for transmission on 20 December 1991 - one day before the 3rd anniversary of the Lockerbiemarker disaster.

When the show moved back to Saturday nights in September 1992, the series length was extended to 24 episodes per year, and placed in a pre-watershed slot at approximately 8pm. This initially caused some controversy due to the graphic and controversial nature of some of the storylines. In 1997-8, the episode number was increased again, with 26 episodes (including two 75-minute specials) making up series 12. Subsequent series each saw an increase in episodes; series 13 ran for 28 episodes, series 14 ran for 30 episodes, series 15 ran for 36 episodes, series 16 and 17 ran for 40 episodes and series 18 ran for 46 episodes. Since 2004, popularity of the show resulted in a switch from a traditional seasonal format to an almost year-round production and transmission - every series since series 19 (2004/5) has lasted for 48 episodes.

Casualty has no fixed time slot, and usually begins airing in the 20:00 - 21:30 slot on BBC1, although it is sometimes broadcast after 21:00. The show is very rarely broadcast before 20:00, however, special events such as Eurovision and sporting events sometimes see the schedule moved around. On some of these occasions, Casualty is taken off air for the night to make way for alternative shows. It has been known in the past that if an episode is in two parts, part one will be aired on the Saturday, and part two aired one day afterwards on the Sunday.

Guest stars

A survey published by Radio Times magazine in March 2004 revealed that Casualty has featured more future stars than any other UK soap or drama series. Actors who appeared in the show prior to becoming famous include Kate Winslet, Orlando Bloom, Minnie Driver, Christopher Eccleston, Parminder Nagra, Sadie Frost, Ray Winstone, David Walliams, Jonny Lee Miller, Helen Baxendale and Brenda Fricker. Discussing her 1993 appearance in Casualty, Winslet told the Radio Times: "In England, it almost seems to be part of a jobbing actor's training [to appear in Casualty]. As far as I was concerned it was a great episode, a great part. Appearing in Casualty taught me a big lesson in how to be natural in front of the camera." In addition, the series has featured a variety of more established stars, including Norman Wisdom, Amanda Redman, Anita Dobson, Jenny Seagrove, Rula Lenska, Prunella Scales, Celia Imrie, Maureen Lipman, Frances Barber, Andrew Sachs and Russ Abbott in cameo roles.

Adaptations and related media

Holby City

Holby City began on 12 January 1999 as a spin-off from Casualty and is named after the fictional Holby City Hospital in which both series are set. The show follows the lives and careers of staff and patients on the surgical wards of the hospital, and deals with a range of clinical and ethical issues. Similar to Casualty, the regular characters are all surgeons, nurses and other medical and ancillary staff, with patients played by guest actors - which have included some famous names such as Eric Sykes, Phill Jupitus, Michael Jayston, Michele Dotrice, Ronni Ancona, Emma Samms, Lee Ryan, Nikki Sanderson and Johnny Briggs. The show was created by Mal Young and Tony McHale, who is currently its Executive Producer and occasional screenwriter.

Casualty@Holby City

Casualty@Holby City credits
Reflecting Holby City's origins as a spin-off from ''Casualty'' and the closely-related premises of the two programmes, the BBC has screened occasional crossover mini-dramas entitled ''Casualty@Holby City'' and featuring a number of characters from each of the two casts. Mervyn Watson, [[Executive Producer]] of ''Casualty'', has commented on the origins of the idea to fully cross the two sister shows over for the first time: "I think the idea came from somebody in the comedy department, who casually said to the Controller of Drama "Wouldn't it be a good idea if...." The Controller did think it was a good idea, spoke to myself and Holby's Executive Producer, got it commissioned by the Head of [[BBC One]] and the rest is history."{{cite web|url=|title=Crossover Interview|publisher=[[]]|date=December 2004|accessdate=2007-09-14}} Filming of ''Casualty@Holby City'' episodes is usually divided between ''Casualty'''s Bristol set, and ''Holby City'''s Elstree studios, although a large proportion of the Christmas 2005 crossover was also filmed on location in a road tunnel in Caernarfonmarker, Gwynedd, North Walesmarker. The theme tune used for crossover Casualty@Holby City episodes consists of a shortened version of both the Casualty and Holby City theme tunes, played over one another in sync, critizised by The Mirror for being "basically both theme tunes played at once." There have been four crossovers to date involving both casts:

The Christmas 2004 crossover featured a fuel tanker lorry crashing into the Accident & Emergency department of Holby City Hospital. Casualty character Jim Brodie died rescuing his colleagues from the burning hospital building. In August 2005, an Interactive episode was screened as part of the BBC's DoNation season, raising the profile of organ donation issues. Viewers voted for one of two patients to receive an organ donation during the show. The plot was designed to raise awareness of the scarcity of organs and encourage viewers to consider joining the NHS Donor Register. A third crossover was produced for Halloween 2005. This four episode special focused on issues around youth violence, featuring an ambulance hijack and an assault on character Comfort Newton by pupils at a failing secondary school. The last crossover to date aired at Christmas 2005 and saw a group of staff involved in a road collision when a tunnel collapsed en-route the hospital Christmas party. Former character Nick Jordan returned, and Paramedic Woody Joyner died saving the life of a baby.

Interviewed prior to broadcast of the Christmas 2005 crossover, Executive Producer Mervyn Watson commented on the future of Casualty@Holby City: "We can't guarantee any crossovers for next year, but the audience likes them. And as long as the Controller of BBC One wants them, then we'll be happy to oblige." In November 2007, Holby City producer Diana Kyle added: "We like to do crossovers whenever we can, but it's tricky because both Holby City and Casualty film for 52 weeks a year, so the actors on each show have to work flat-out on their own programmes. We are trying to create more opportunities where the two dramas can merge, though." Oliver Kent, producer of Casualty recently confirmed in an interview that another crossover is planned for February 2010.


HolbyBlue title credits
In April 2006, the BBC announced that a spin-off drama from Holby City, to be named HolbyBlue, was in early stages of production. The series focuses on the police service of Holby South, and aired for the duration of its first series on BBC One on Tuesday nights, with Holby City switching back to its former Thursday night slot at 20:00. Despite Holby Blue being billed as a spin-off from Holby City, the first series saw no crossovers between characters from either show. Long running Casualty character Charlie Fairhead appeared in HolbyBlue's first episode, and a full two part crossover episode with Holby City aired at the beginning of the show's second series. The BBC announced in August 2008 that they had dropped the show and it would not be returning for a third series.

Casualty 1906, 1907, 1909

In December 2006, the BBC broadcast a historical medical drama titled Casualty 1906, reflecting life in the 'Receiving Room' (A+E was a concept not yet developed) of the Royal London Hospitalmarker 100 years previously, based on historical hospital records and news reports of the time. A three episode miniseries, titled Casualty 1907, was developed for broadcast in 2008. Although not a direct spin-off, nor set in the same fictional location, the Times have suggested "that this is BBC high-concept brand- extension at its very best", with the BBC using the popularity of and viewer familiarity with Casualty to launch a new historical drama - a conclusion The Guardian also assert. A third series, Casualty 1908, featuring Cherie Lunghi was also commissioned.

On 25 March 2009, it was announced that the BBC would be airing "Casualty 1909", a six part series due to begin on 14 June 2009.


Note that departing or returning characters are not listed here, and can be found in the relevant section further in this article. They are ordered by arrival date.


Recurring characters

Character Actor Role Duration
Sarah Evans Julia St. John Consultant Neurosurgeon 21x16— (2006—)
Sean Anderson Richard Dillane Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon 22x27— (2008—)
Prof. Henry Williams Tom Chadbon Director of Critical Care 23x01— (2008—)
Trevor Don Warrington Hospital Chaplain 24x09— (2009—)
Prof. Eddie Lanchester David Mallinson Dean of Medicine 24x13— (2009—)

Awards and accolades

In 2007 Casualty won its first major award, the BAFTA for the best continuing drama. Long serving Ian Bleasdale, who played the character Josh accepted the award at the ceremony, which took place at the London Palladiummarker. He said "To the doctors, nurses and ambulance crews, thank you for doing the job you do. I hope we go some way to showing exactly what it is," and dedicated the award to show's original producer, Geraint Morris, who died in 1997.

The cast of the show released the single "Everlasting Love", which peaked at 5 in the UK in 1998.


Since its conception, Casualty has won and been nominated for the following awards.

Year Ceremony Awards
2007 British Academy Television Awards 'Best Continuing Drama'
1999 TV Quick Awards 'Best Loved Drama'
1998 Royal Television Society Awards 'Best Sound - Drama' - Colin Solloway, Nigel Abbott
1992 British Academy Television Awards 'Best Makeup' - Sue Kneebone
Royal Television Society Awards 'Best Drama Series'
1991 British Academy Television Awards 'Best VTR Editor' - Malcolm Banthorpe


Year Ceremony Awards
2006 British Academy Television Awards 'Best Continuing Drama'
2005 National Television Awards 'Most Popular Newcomer' - Elyes Gabel
2004 British Academy Television Awards 'Best Continuing Drama'
2002 National Television Awards 'Most Popular Drama'
1998 National Television Awards 'Most Popular Newcomer' - Claire Goose
1997 National Television Awards 'Most Popular Newcomer' - Jonathan Kerrigan
1996 Writers' Guild of Great Britain Award 'TV - Original Drama Series' - David Joss Buckley
1993 British Academy Television Awards 'Best Drama Series'
British Academy Television Awards 'Best Make Up' - Jan Nethercot
1992 British Academy Television Awards 'Best Film or Video Editor (Fiction)' - Alan Dixon
British Academy Television Awards 'Best Video Lighting' - Cedric Rich
1991 British Academy Television Awards 'Best VTR Editor' - Nigel Cattle
British Academy Television Awards 'Best Video Lighting' - Chris Watts
1988 British Academy Television Awards 'Best Sound Supervisor' - Rod Lewis

Casualty Series 1 DVD release

DVD release

The first series of Casualty was released on DVD (Region 2, UK) by 2 Entertain/Cinema Club on 10 April 2006. The second series was released on 10 July, with series three released on 11 September. The third was released to coincide with the show's 20th Anniversary celebrations. There are no future DVD releases planned at present.

Theme music, titles and credits

The Casualty theme music was composed by Ken Freeman, who also composed the theme for sister show, Holby City. The closing music was traditionally quite different from the opening theme, although in recent years there have been few differences. In 2000 the garage duo Oxide & Neutrino sampled the theme tune in the song 'Bound 4 Da Reload (Casualty)', which got to number one in May. Different variations of the theme music have been introduced throughout the show’s history. The longest running was the original theme, which ran for fifteen years between 1986 and 2001. Series 16, beginning in 2001, saw a new, ‘poppier’ version of the theme, used until the end of series 20 in 2006. A new theme more akin with the original, again composed by Ken Freeman, was introduced in season 21. From the start of the 22nd series onwards, the 2001-2006 theme is once more being used; the 2006-07 theme is retained for previews and recaps.

There have been nine different variations of the opening titles and closing credits since the show’s inception. In 2001 the show’s characters have appeared in the opening titles, in place of previous generic hospital environment shots. From 2002-2006, generic shots were used again; but from 2006 onwards, the titles mixed in generic hospital shots with the characters.

Episode list

See also

  • Holby City - Spin off set in the main department of the same Hospital.
  • E.R - US Medical Drama based on the same area (emergency medicine) as Casualty.


  1. " Awards for Casualty", IMDb. Retrieved 2007-07-08.

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