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Casualty (Born Lucky) review

Matt Bardock

Review by Lizzie Guilfoyle

IndieLondon Rating: 4.5 out of 5

AFTER 29 years, Casualty still has the ability to shock. And last night’s episode, Born Lucky, certainly did that.

No surprise was the road traffic accident involving members of the A & E team – the BBC had run a cleverly edited trailer that saw the vehicle carrying Connie, Tess, Ash, Lily and Ethan catapulted off the road by a van driven by a man it later transpired had early signs of dementia. A subsequent explosion left you with a niggling feeling that someone was going to die. But who?

There were two possibilities – the badly injured, semi-conscious Ethan, who’d been driving, and Ash, who was trapped and bleeding. But Ethan was rescued, leaving Paramedic Jeff Collier (Matt Bardock) to minister to and comfort Ash who was deteriorating by the minute.

But Ash was also rescued. Then, in the split second after all became clear, it happened. Jeff was caught in the blast seen in the trailer. And it was as horrifying and as shocking as if it had been real. Here full marks must go to Jane Hazlegrove’s Dixie, whose anguished reaction made for painful viewing.

For those of you unfamiliar with Casualty’s ongoing storyline, Jeff and Dixie were married. It was though, a marriage of convenience, not least because Dixie is openly gay, but that didn’t mean they didn’t love one another. Jeff, however, had recently fallen ‘in love’ with fellow paramedic Tamzin Bayle (Gemma Atkinson) whom he planned to marry – after divorcing Dixie, of course.

Like Hazlegrove, Atkinson gave a heart-rending performance, one that moved me almost to tears. It was all the more poignant because her obvious happiness was so cruelly and abruptly destoyed.

Bardock has been an integral part of Casualty for seven years so he’ll be sorely missed. But why, I wonder, couldn’t his Jeff have left on a happier note – maybe with the woman he planned to marry? But that just wouldn’t do; at least not where Casualty is concerned and why its ability to keep us on our toes makes it as popular today as it ever was.

But Casualty also cleverly juxtaposes tragedy with moments of an altogether lighter nature – as in Born Lucky when lothario Cal (Richard Winsor) was confronted by a young patient’s mother and grandmother, both of whom he’d slept with. Here we saw two sides of the man – the conceited lover getting his comeuppance and a brother agonising over injured sibling Ethan.

And finally a word to Connie (Amanda Mealing) – leave Charlie (Derek Thompson) alone – he’s the kind of nurse you’d want in an emergency – kind, understanding and efficient. Long live Charlie and indeed, Casualty.