Casualty star Derek Thompson leaves after 37 years

Virgin Radio

30 May 2023, 14:10

Derek Thompson

Credit: Getty/BBC

Derek Thompson will be leaving BBC drama Casualty after 37 years of playing Charlie Fairhead.

The actor is the medical drama’s longest-serving cast member after nearly 900 episodes and the only remaining character from the very first episode in 1986.  

Thompson will say goodbye to Charlie, who was inspired by a real-life nurse called Peter Salt, for good this autumn when he films his final scenes, which will air next year.

In a statement, Thompson said of his time on the show: "The time has come for me to hang up Charlie's scrubs after the most wonderful 37 years.

"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.

"I want to say thanks to Pete and everyone else over that time who has inspired me in bringing this character to life."

It’s fair to say Charlie has endured plenty of drama over the years with patients in the emergency department, including in his own life.

From being shot in the chest by a schizophrenic man to being held hostage and run over by an ambulance on his wedding day. His character has also survived two stress-induced heart attackes, a pulmonary embolism and was once drive off a pier.

Jon Sen, executive producer of Casualty, teased there was a great plan in the works for Charlie’s exit.

He said: "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. 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."