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Thread: Casualty (the 1980s and 1990s series)

  1. #1
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    Default Casualty (the 1980s and 1990s series)

    It might be still going on BBC 1 on Saturday nights, but I am mostly referring to the earlier years on here - I am not too fond of recent series, and Dylan Keogh feels so much like Alan Partridge to me. I tried to start this thread on Sunday morning, giving so much detail in my Opening Gambit, but something went wrong with my computer and I had lost all the text which I spent the best part of an hour writing which made me frustrated (and made me take a day off from here), but I will try and have another go here...

    I started to become a regular viewer in around 1995 (my late father went to hospital around the same time, and I suppose that inspired me as a regular viewer!) The series at the time was very strong around the point where the series reached its tenth anniversary - Gentle Giant Mike Barratt played by Clive Mantle, and nurse Jude Kocarnik played by Lisa Coleman were two strong characters at that point. Josh Griffiths played by Ian Bleasdale was a good character, and as a paramedic, one feels that we go on adventures with him to people's houses and all that in the ambulance - the paramedics used to wear St John Ambulance uniform in earlier series and then changed to green overalls in the mid 1990s.

    So many incidental storylines and guest stars, some went on to better things. The opening titles were great at that point - the blue tinted images of people getting ill or injured such as an elderly woman falling out of bed; rugby players getting injured on the pitch; someone electrocuting themselves and things like that, and the thin Eurostyle font for the credits. The launch of Holby City in 1999 diluted the series in some ways, and the fact that it was supposed to be the same hospital when the reality was that both series were filmed 150 miles apart from each other!

    Watched UK Gold in around 2002 to see the late 1980s episodes for the first time and get acquainted with original characters such as Ewart Plimmer and the Polish porter Kuba before he was replaced by that character who was played by Robson Green. And of course Charlie Fairhead is Casualty's Ken Barlow - i.e., the only remaining cast member from 1986. It's a series where one can dip in at random and watch without having to watch from start to finish.

    Casualty episodes of the 1990s often feel to me like a 50 minute long Public Information Film, or visual lecture from the Health and Safety Executive or something - I used to watch because of the guest characters and incidental storylines, and you know what is going to happen. Someone about to light a barbecue is obviously going to end up in Holby Hospital with 70% burns and almost go into London's Burning territory as a result; someone on a building site is going to have such a great a fall that even Humpty Dumpty would have been shocked; a three year old discovering an unlocked medicine cupboard; someone drowning in a swimming pool, and so on. This is also why I liked The Bill as well - in other series such as soap operas, police officers were guest characters, where in that series, the police were regulars - the same for the doctors and nurses in Casualty. I know that John Sergeant wanted to put Casualty into Room 101 as a result.

    Some storylines I remember was: a stereotypical Asian shopkeeper being harassed by skinheads, led by a Gripper Stebson-alike character and ending up in hospital; A man involved in a car crash after his wife had given him sleeping tablets at home, and he didn't even know that she had given him the tablets until he felt tired while driving; Ronald Pickup playing his own identical twin (one did not see both twins on screen at the same time for obvious reasons); and others.

    Who was your favourite Casualty and character and do you remember any of the storylines form the first few series?
    I am now in my 40s (just in case anyone asks).

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Casualty (the 1980s and 1990s series)

    I did notice when episodes were first shown on Friday evenings after the Nine O'clock News, although they would have been on after my bedtime - the language got a little bit stronger. Meghan Roach used the s-word in one early 1990s episode.
    I am now in my 40s (just in case anyone asks).

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