Casualty: Derek Thompson to leave BBC series after 37 years as Charlie Fairhead

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Derek Thompson has announced he will be leaving Casualty after 37 years as Charlie Fairhead.

Casualty’s longest serving cast member Derek Thompson has announced he’s leaving the BBC series. Appearing in nearly 900 episodes, Thompson is Casualty’s longest-serving cast member and has played a central part in the show since it launched in 1986.

The actor will be filming until the autumn, and his final scenes as Charlie will air next year in the culmination of a gripping exit storyline which will see the character front and centre of the action.

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Thompson said of his departure: “The time has come for me to hang up Charlie’s scrubs after the most wonderful 37 years. Charlie Fairhead was inspired by a real nurse – Pete Salt.

“Together with the writers and producers, I have tried to bring to Charlie the compassion, kindness, heroism and sound judgement that we all see and love in Pete and I want to say thanks to Pete and everyone else over that time who has inspired me in bringing this character to life.”

Jon Sen, executive producer of Casualty for BBC Studios, added: “Derek and I would often joke that, after such a long and dramatic career in the NHS, there was almost nothing that Charlie hadn’t seen. So it was an amazing surprise to me when Derek arrived with a brilliant idea for Charlie’s exit as part of an upcoming storyline, which was too good to pass up.

Derek Thompson is leaving Casualty after 37 yearsDerek Thompson is leaving Casualty after 37 years
Derek Thompson is leaving Casualty after 37 years | BBC

“We will all miss Derek enormously. Over nearly four decades, Derek has crafted an iconic character who is woven into the fabric of British TV history. We will miss his craft, his humour and his on-screen presence. We’re also going to miss a friend, so for the next few months we’re going to have a ball filming Charlie’s final chapter.”

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Over the years, Charlie has been the lynchpin of the hospital’s emergency department and at the centre of countless major storylines which explored challenging and thought-provoking subjects. Throughout his time in A&E, Charlie has also seen a fair few of his own struggles, including when he was run over by an ambulance on his wedding day, a near-fatal cardiac arrest during a gang siege, and his loving relationship – and heart-breaking farewell - with his beloved fellow nurse Duffy (played by Cathy Shipton).

Details of Charlie’s final Casualty storyline will be revealed by the BBC in due course, with the final scenes set to air on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

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