Exclusive: Casualty star explains how Iain was meant to return sooner

Sophie Dainty
·5-min read
Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

Casualty spoilers follow.

Casualty star Michael Stevenson has revealed how Iain Dean was actually meant to return much sooner.

Michael's popular alter ego is coming back to the show, after a year and a half away. The actor announced back in 2019 that he was taking an extended break from the role at the end of Iain's long-running mental health story.

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

Speaking to Digital Spy, Michael explained: "I knew how long I wanted off and I really wanted to spend some time with my family. The run up to the exit story was really intense and the hours we work are phenomenal.

"I knew I'd spent a long time away from my family and I wanted to be at home with them – to be a dad, to take the kids to school and things like that. I was due to go back a little bit sooner but obviously the pandemic hit.

"We had been talking about it for quite a long time before the pandemic as obviously storylines have to be planned so far in advance. I am probably coming back about six months later than I would have if the pandemic hadn't have hit. That would have been about a year initially and I knew timewise that was the right amount of time to have away.

"When the producers got in contact and stuck to their word by asking me to come back, it was a no brainer. It's home to me. The show has been very good to me and so there was nothing to think about really."

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

When we see Iain again, fans will be pleased to know that he is in a much better place than where we left him – having thrived during his time working on the HEMs team.

"He is in a much, much better place", Michael explained. "He's had a really good year. He's really enjoyed working for the HEMS team and all the thrills that come with that – it's right up Iain's street. He has definitely changed.

"It was important to bring him back in a better state of mind. We've done the recovery and he has recovered, but it was important for me to bring him back and not lose the DNA of who he is, which is someone who seeks a bit of danger, a bit of thrill and likes to have a fun time. I didn't want to bring him back and just continue what we did before.

"We spent so much time making sure we got the story right with the recovery and making sure people saw there was life after depression and attempted suicide. That will come up in the future I am sure but it was really important for me to bring Iain back as the character we know and love before he went on a downward spiral."

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

Michael added: "It's still there, it's always going to be there, and it will always be there as an option to sprinkle in; I don't want to forget that it happened to him. But when I talked to the producers about bringing Iain back, I was really keen that he went full circle. I wanted to bring him back as the loveable Iain who has lots of fun and is a bit dangerous – the loveable Iain we knew right back when he started.

"With the added experience now of everything that's happened to him, since I think he is a much more rounded person but I really wanted him to come back in good form, and then we still have the opportunity to sprinkle in the hangovers of what happened to him a few years ago.

"Storyline wise, he has recovered though and he's straight back into the thick of helping somebody else in their hour of need."

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

The aforementioned 'somebody else' is indeed Iain's former boss Jan, who has found herself caught up in a shocking drugs smuggling scandal thanks to her criminal son Ross.

When Iain catches Jan taking drugs into the prison, he is horrified but quickly grows concerned about the trouble his friend is in.

Michael said: "Jan is in the depths of despair. She is on her knees and desperate and Iain won't think twice about helping her. He might not want to get involved straight away but the fact that it's Ross means there are definitely some scores to settle there.

"He has no time, he has to think on his feet. The fact that he is so close to Jan, any repercussions of him getting involved will fall by the wayside – they get put to the back of the queue. He is there to help Jan whether he likes it or not."

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

And finally, how has Michael found returning to his old stomping ground after his time away?

"It's been amazing. In many ways it feels like I didn't leave", he said. "Coming back after lockdown and with all the social distancing, I don't feel like the new boy being back at school. I thought I'd have to readjust but everyone is having to readjust and learn a new way of filming.

"In some ways, I feel like I have started all over again but with everyone else – we are all having to learn all the new regulations. It's amazing to be able to film under these restrictions as well.

"I think the show is looking amazing and that is credit to the crew and everyone upstairs. It's lovely to be part of that, and when we do eventually come out of the pandemic, to look back and go, 'We beat it, we filmed and we still made great stuff'. It's great."

Casualty airs on BBC One.

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