Casualtys Derek Thompson says Charlies ready for a break on Caribbean cruise

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Casualty legend Derek Thompson is ready for a bit of a break.

The actor, 73, has been putting in shifts playing nurse Charlie Fairhead on the medical drama since the first episode in 1986.

Over the years we’ve seen him tackle just about every emergency possible at Holby City Hospital.

So as the show marks its 35th anniversary this weekend, he’s hoping the writers might finally give him a relaxing storyline.

He said: “I could suggest to the producers that after all Charlie has been through recently, they could send him on a Caribbean cruise and he takes a job as a nurse on board.

“That would be nice!”

Derek’s incredible stint on Casualty makes him one of TV’s longest-serving stars.

And he thinks the series has outlasted other shows because it is top notch viewing.

He said: “The quality of work and the quality of thinking has been consistent for 35 years and I’ve had a grandstand seat for it. I’m immensely proud of the fact it’s achieved 35 years.

“There’s a great deal of social realism in the show and it also manages to do some quite spectacular stuff which doesn’t feel like spectacle for the sake of spectacle.”

Derek is often recognised when he is out and about.

The good news for him is that his character is still a massive hit with viewers. He’s even inspired some people to go into nursing.

Derek said: “I’ve had quite a bit of feedback from male nurses over the years who say the reason they considered going into the profession is because of Casualty.

“Having Charlie and other nurses like Ash as examples on screen has encouraged many young males to go into nursing. It’s a wonderful thought.”

Casualty still pulls in bumper ratings for the BBC. After all these years, it is regularly the most-watched show on Saturday nights.

And it is still a hit with critics, winning the Soap and Continuing Drama award at the BAFTAs this year – beating EastEnders, Corrie and Hollyoaks. It has always been famous for its grisly storylines and emotional moments.

The show is also known for launching the careers of countless household names.

Derek has been amazed by how many brilliant guest stars there have been. And there’s one more he’d love on the show.

He said: “We’ve worked with some fantastic actors over the 35 years. It’s been quite something.

“There are so many dream guests, but I think I’d have to say Brian Blessed.

“He is one of the most entertaining actors I’ve ever seen and is very good at what he does. It would be wonderful to work with him.”

Casualty continues Saturdays on BBC One.

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