Casualty poll: Share your thoughts on character exit

Susannah Alexander
·3-min read
Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

From Digital Spy

Casualty spoilers follow.

Casualty returned to our screens last night (January 2) after four months off air and its comeback episode was one of the most powerful editions the show has ever aired, as it explored the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The coronavirus-focused episode saw the Holby Emergency Department staff facing one of the toughest challenges of their careers, particularly when several staff members became ill with the virus.

The episode ended in tragedy as, while Dylan Keogh (William Beck) and Jacob Masters (Charles Venn) thankfully both recovered from the virus, much-loved receptionist Noel Garcia (Tony Marshall) passed away after contracting COVID-19 - making him the first soap character in the UK to die from the coronavirus.

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

Related: 7 ways Casualty's heartbreaking Covid episode sets up new stories

There's no doubt that Noel's death will have a huge impact on Casualty and its characters – but will you miss the kind-hearted receptionist?

Noel has been on the BBC show since 2008, with his storylines over the past 12 years including discovering that he had a daughter and having to reapply for his own job after a new electronic check-in system was introduced.

Casualty boss Loretta Preece has paid tribute to Noel and the actor who played him, Tony Marshall, telling Digital Spy that they have both been "much loved" members of the Casualty family.

"It is always sad when a much-loved character moves on but the fact that Noel was so knitted into the department and was so loved by the audience is part of what makes his death from Covid so impactful," she said.

"The people who have died from this terrible disease this year are all people like Noel who have been treasured by colleagues and who have families who love them. The fact that Noel will never see his grandchild is one of the most heartbreaking aspects of his death. There were real tears on set as we shot Tony's last scenes and he will be enormously missed."

The devastating events of the episode set up a number of storylines for the medical drama going forward, with Connie Beauchamp (Amanda Mealing) set to head down a dark path after she takes personal responsibility for Noel's death.

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

Related: Casualty confirms exit for Will Noble

Connie and Jacob's newly rekindled romance also looks to be on the rocks again, after Connie struggled to offer Jacob the support he needed when he told her that he wanted to address the fact that the virus has been impacting people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds more.

The effects of the pandemic will continue to be felt in future episodes, with Will Noble (Jack Nolan) set to make a big decision after clashing with Connie over the lack of appropriate PPE for staff, and Jade Lovall (Gabriella Leon) – who relies on lip reading to communicate – continuing to struggle as she tries to find ways to interact with her colleagues while they are all wearing masks.

Casualty continues on Saturday, January 9 on BBC One.

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