Exclusive: Casualty star George Rainsford on Fenisha flashback episode

·7-min read
Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

Casualty spoilers follow.

Casualty favourite Ethan Hardy is taking centre stage in a special episode, which will air during the second part of tonight's double bill (April 30).

The scenes follow Ethan as he attempts to move on from the death of his fiancée Fenisha by going on a date with newcomer Amy (played by Catrin Stewart).

Somewhat unsurprisingly, the evening doesn't go to plan (it would be a short watch if it did!) as Ethan is haunted by the ghosts of his past – and Amy is hiding a few secrets too. Olivia D'Lima has reprised her role as Fenisha for the episode, which is told over two different time periods.

Here, George Rainsford – who plays Ethan – reveals all on tonight's unconventional scenes, Fenisha's return, and how things could have played out very differently...

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

What was this episode like to film?

"It was a bit different, it's a bit of a standalone. I think the initial idea was a day in the life of Ethan after everything that has happened to him in the past year. It's him trying to recover from all that has happened to him and see if he is ready to start dating again.

"Obviously he has moved forward a bit with sorting out the parenting situation with Bodhi and deciding to raise him properly, but he hasn't entertained a love life yet. This is the first opportunity.

"He's not actively looking for it, it's sort of sprung on him as you'll see. We find Ethan in this restaurant and we also find out how he got there and how he met his date at the hospital, where she is a police officer. They were at loggerheads to begin with but it mellows as the day goes on and they learn to work together.

"We were in this restaurant for about four straight days and I am in every single scene. It was nice that I got on with Catryn who plays Amy – she was lovely and we had some mutual friends, so we nattered away between takes. But then it was a question of trying to keep the energy up of an evening where people may have drunk wine and things like that, because sitting static all day can saturate your energy a bit."

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

Do you think Ethan is really ready to move on?

"I think it probably is fairly innocent to begin with. It's just a drink to carry on the conversation and it's a nice thing at the end of a hard day. As the evening progresses they both open up, but he's carrying an awful lot of emotional burden. "

How would you say their date goes?

"I think he does like Amy. I think he likes her as a person, but whether it will go any further, who knows? I think the audience will have to wait and see because it gets quite emotional. For a first date, there are lots of skeletons that come out of the closet."

Could we see more of Amy in the future?

"I would love her to come back. It's established that she works under Ffion, who is the resident police woman. She is still there, so hopefully when the police get involved again it would be really nice. We've got a natural chemistry, there is a bit of history, and it doesn't necessarily have to be in a love capacity but I think it would be something else to develop.

"She has a backstory as well and we also find out that she's got some dodgy exes and there's been some domestic abuse. She's got her own backstory."

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

What was it like having Olivia [Di'Lima] back for this episode?

"It was incredibly familiar, really. It was nine months since she filmed her exit episode and we've kept in touch. She was actually my flatmate when she was here, so we were playing lovers on screen but were flatmates in real life. It was great. It was like putting on a pair of old scrubs and getting back into it."

Can you give us any teasers on the flashback scenes with Ethan and Fenisha?

"There are a mixture of flashbacks. There is at least one bit that was established in happier times. Ethan and Fenisha got engaged and then the following episode was the wedding where it all went wrong. Even in the wedding episode, Ethan and Fenisha were separated for a lot of it so I didn't really work with her that day either – I just cried over her when she was dead.

"It was nice to tell a bit of them as a couple and show the real closeness they had."

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

Going back to last year, was it always the plan to kill Fenisha off at the end of that story?

"Quite honestly, I don't really know as I'm not part of the conversations upstairs. I do know that a lot of it had to be tweaked and changed due to COVID and filming restrictions. The biggest issue was when we got locked down the first time, Fenisha was already established as pregnant with Ethan's baby. But then we played out lockdown in real time, so she had this elephant pregnancy where it lasted months.

"I think initially her and Ethan were going to be developed while she was pregnant but we had to play it a bit differently, where she kept the pregnancy a secret and was suddenly nine months pregnant. It was a bit mad really but it did mean we got to play out the drama of suddenly having a baby and all the stuff they hadn't talked about like Huntington's disease.

"There were all those suggestions of Ethan's potential demise as well because of the Huntington's, and then it became Fenisha's – very dramatically – and Lev's of course. I'd read the script for that stunt obviously but the only bit of that train incident was the aftermath. But when Lev got hit by the train, I genuinely jumped. It was a really good stunt."

What was it like having Ethan's brother Cal back from the dead last year too?

"The Cal episode was a bit different as well as it was set five years ago. One scene in and Richard and I felt like we were back into our old rapport of his little put downs and being the older brother. I think Ethan has changed quite a lot since Cal has died though.

"He's grown up a bit and he's become a lot more confident. It was really nice to remember what it was like for him with a slightly overpowering brother though. It was really good. The glasses were a big thing for him back then too..."

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

What happened to them?

"Honestly, it was because the lights in the studio were really badly reflecting in the lenses and we couldn't solve the problem. I had this emotional stuff coming up with Cal's death and I was just pleading with the producers, saying 'it would be really rubbish if I do a nice scene and then we have to go again because you see the lights in my eyes'.

"It was my own protection of my performance really but it felt like a good time for Ethan to slightly change and grow up and go in a different direction. We tried to tie it in with the story but it was for practical, technical reasons. "

We know former EastEnders boss Jon Sen has recently taken over as producer. Do you know many of his plans yet?

"Yeah it's been great having Jon. When I first joined the show he was a writer and a director, he did the 'One Shot' episode as well, and then in later years was a story producer. He knows the show inside and out, he really cares about it and loves medical dramas. He's a really good fit and I'm really excited."

Casualty airs Ethan's special episode as part of a double bill tonight (April 30), kicking off at 8.40pm on BBC One.

Read more Casualty spoilers on our dedicated homepage.

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