Casualty returns to our screens tonight for a new series, opening with an hour-long special that focuses on coronavirus. Straight away we’re plunged into drama, as we see Connie Beauchamp (Amanda Mealing) 90 days into lockdown, her face red and sore from constantly wearing PPE, struggling to cope with the pressures of steering her staff team as they deal with the unfolding pandemic.
It’s a powerful opening, and straight away we discover that several of the staff team – our regular cast members – have been infected. As Connie and Charlie (Derek Thompson) discuss the need to speak to someone’s family about withdrawing life support we have to wonder – is it one of their own friends and colleagues that they’re talking about?
As news filters through from Italy about the scale of the pandemic, the ED staff try to prepare themselves for what’s to come. Some are worried about their families – can Lev (Uriel Emil) risk possibly taking an infection back home to his son Luka, who’s recovering from cancer treatment?
Fenisha (Olivia D’Lima) worries about the risk to her unborn baby. Will she finally have to come clean to Jan (Di Botcher) about her pregnancy? And what about Ethan (George Rainsford), who currently doesn’t know he’s about to be a father?
As PPE shortages hit, David (Jason Durr) comes up with his own solution. And Jade (Gabriella Leon) struggles to cope when she’s unable to lip-read while everyone is in masks and visors.
One of the people who gets sick is Jacob (Charles Venn). How will Connie deal with the possible loss of the man she’s just allowed back into her life?
We also follow several patients: Zofia (Edyta Budnik), who’s frightened to come into the hospital to give birth; Doris (Jean Trend), who lives in a care home; and Karla (Rachael Spence), facing the possibility that she might never see her husband and children again.
It’s gruelling stuff even though there are also lighter moments and rays of hope. But as Connie faces her worst nightmare, the team are faced with a devastating loss that affects them all.
Sue Haasler is the author of five novels and the official BBC Holby City book, which you can read about here.
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