(Series 30, ep.1 & 2) Wow. Talk about emotional rollercoaster. Leading directly on from last week’s (literally) explosive wedding episodes, series 30 kicked off in dramatic style. Who better to save the life of Dr Zoe Hanna/Walker than Charlie Fairhead? After all, he’s the heart and soul of Holby A&E, as someone pointed out during the episode. He’s been in Casualty since day one, his eyes failing to focus on anything in particular but his attention always firmly on the task in hand. He’s stalwart, dependable, loveable Charlie.
So when he went down with a heart attack not long after his brave rescue of Zoe, it was tense. And upsetting. The entire regular cast threw themselves into the proceedings and were completely believable as they struggled with the apparently imminent loss of their beloved mentor, confidante and friend.
Writer and director Paul Unwin, who was one of the show’s original creators, did a brilliant job of piling on the tension. As well as Connie’s desperate attempt to save Charlie, there was Dylan struggling to control his own problems and focus on medicine, which had direct consequences for Charlie’s treatment. There was Max roaming the corridors trying to decide whether he could still have a future with Zoe. And there was a shooting, a couple of stabbings and a birth to deal with.
In among the action there were some sepia tinted, Satie-accompanied scenes of Charlie’s memories – his mother’s death, which led him to a career in medicine, his father finally telling him he was proud of him. These scenes were sentimental, but blended well into the rest of the action, and Baxter Westby and Ryan Owen did a good job of playing Charlie when he was younger.
One old face from his past materialised in the present, in the form of the beloved Duffy – back working at Holby without thinking of letting her old pal know in advance. When he saw her he was so surprised he thought he was already dead.
But he wasn’t dead (though what the Casualty team will manage to organise if they ever do decide to kill him off I’m not sure – this would be hard to surpass). As my dad so beautifully put it: “We all thought he was dead, but by the end he was wandering around handing out fruit.”
That’s our Charlie.