Exclusive: Casualty star Elinor Lawless responds to Charlie Fairhead exit

charlie fairhead, casualty
Casualty star responds to Charlie exitBBC

Casualty spoilers follow.

Casualty star Elinor Lawless has spoken out about Charlie Fairhead's exit.

Charlie drove off into the sunset in Saturday's (March 16) episode, ending weeks of speculation that he was going to meet his maker.

Charlie had been stabbed in last weekend's cliffhanger, leaving fans to face an anxious wait to see whether he'd survive.


Sure enough, Charlie did pull through at the eleventh hour, when Stevie regained her confidence in time to realise he had an internal bleed that had been missed in a previous scan.

Although Charlie survived relatively unscathed, the experience ultimately served as a wake-up call in regard to his future at ED, and he decided to retire.

charlie fairhead, casualty

Speaking exclusively to Digital Spy, Elinor – who plays Stevie – said: "I think he did get the right exit.

"What I think is amazing is that it's not only captured Charlie's origin story and where he's got to, but it's captured the time in which Casualty's inception took place.

"You got a real sense of Charlie's whole timeline through this and I think it was beautifully executed. I've spoken to Derek [Thompson, who plays Charlie] as well and he's been very, very pleased with it.

"It is something that Derek really wanted to show over the course of that arc we've just seen. He really wanted to show how Charlie's work has changed for him and how the nature of the workplace has changed for him.

"He's under pressure. He's finding confrontation more difficult. I think you get this idea of a natural retirement for somebody who is ready. I'm really glad that he got that."

stevie, casualty

Elinor also spoke to us about what it was like to say goodbye to Derek, who has left the show after 38 years in the role.

"It was really, genuinely heartbreaking," she said. "Will Beck [who plays Dylan] did a speech for him and we gathered everyone together, all the crew and cast.

"Will was really emotional, and Derek was really emotional, it was a really emotional time. That week in particular was really tough. You're very aware that you are part of something that is historical. "

charlie fairhead, stevie, casualty

She continued: "When I first joined the show, the first question anybody ever asked me was like, 'What's Charlie like?' And the loveliest thing about it is that Derek is an everyman. He loves people. He loves the crew.

"For example, when the show moved from Bristol to Cardiff, it was Derek and Sunetra who fought so that our core support and artist teams came across with the show. It's brilliant for somebody to have worked for that long and to not be a dick. It sets the tone for the floor, it sets the tone for the studio and it sets the tone for us.

"There is always a sense of, 'Derek wouldn't do that, Derek wouldn't behave like that.' He has got loads of heart and saying goodbye to him was genuinely really, really upsetting."

charlie fairhead in casualty
Alistair Heap - BBC

When discussing what the show will look like in a post-Charlie world, Elinor said: " I think Charlie's character has imbued that word with something that will remain. When Casualty started out it was very much from Charlie's point of view and that is who the show followed.

"The NHS is at the heart of the show and we are uniquely based to tell a story about a national health service that is completely unique to here as well. That is something Derek really wants for the show."

"I think what Charlie's legacy will be is that there is heart and care and I think that's something that the show will definitely continue to try and preserve," she added. "But somebody like that – they don't go away. They will remain in the very fabric of the world that they created, so he's not gone in that sense."

Casualty airs on Saturday nights on BBC One. The show is now releasing episodes early on BBC iPlayer at 6am on the day of transmission.

Read more Casualty spoilers on our dedicated homepage

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