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Goodbye to Casualty

August 19, 2011

Just back from the BBC party to mark the end of 25 years of filming Casualty in Bristol.  Many of the cast, past and present, were there including nurse Charlie Fairhead who like most of the cast is a constituent of mine in real life.

After about 800 episodes filmed here, Holby now moves from Bristol to Cardiff.  Ironically I made the reverse move when series 1 was being aired.  As a first year student at Bristol University I enjoyed pointing out the familiar Bristol scenes to my south Wales family and friends, particularly the ambulance racing up St Michael’s Hill in the opening credits.  At least I’ll still be able to recognise the new Holby streetscape, just as I often recognise scenes from Dr Who and Torchwood, also shot in and around Cardiff.

The move was certainly controversial when announced by the BBC in 2009. I had several meetings with BBC execs before the decision was made, making the case for the BBC continuing to make contemporary drama in Bristol.  But actually I think there is great potential for developing the whole Severnside region as an area of media creativity.  The two cities are less than an hour apart.

Tonight’s party was held in a non descript warehouse in the St Phillips area of Bristol.  Once through the doors it was like a real hospital, with NHS branding and medical paraphernalia.  Also there were the Bristol NHS staff who advise the actors how to make their scenes look realistic in the “Holby” resuss ward.  All that was missing was the smell of a real hospital ward!

Apart from Charlie, there was nurse Duffy, Dr Trueman, nurse Tess and many more.  My only disappointment was the absence of a few male nurses who I’ve fancied over the years of sporadic Casualty viewing…

6 Comments leave one →
  1. John Rippon permalink
    August 19, 2011 11:35 pm

    It is indeed very sad news to me as well, since I remember the setting-up of the studio in the warehouse which turned out to work very well indeed. The Exterior shots of the “Hospital” were actually the Bristol Polytechnic, now the University of the West of England. I retired from the BBC when I was 55 and went to work at St. Brendan’s 6th. Form College so I rather lost contact, but I often saw Charlie and a lot of the cast in Clifton Down Sainsbury’s supermarket which many seemed to use.
    Having spent two years in Canton, Cardiff, when I ran a project at Wenvoe Transmitting Station, I was heartily glad to leave dreary Cardiff and move to Bristol Studios and live in lovely Clifton in Exciting Bristol! I Gather that Cardiff has now improved a bit…….?

  2. Michael Carchrie Campbell permalink
    August 19, 2011 11:42 pm

    I can think of a few male nurses and doctors I’d have liked to have met had I been at this party too. Wonder if we are thinking of the same ones…

  3. rosemary permalink
    August 20, 2011 9:16 am

    I wouldn’t say Skins did us much good. Particularly not our young. We need to be discriminating about what is filmed here.

  4. August 20, 2011 10:04 am

    Cardiff ain’t so dreary now John with the new developments in the city centre and the Bay. Lots of art cafes such as the Milgi and Cardiff Arts Institute have opened up.

  5. Jim permalink
    August 20, 2011 12:30 pm

    The Severnside idea is a very good one, and something that should gather momentum, and not just for the media inductry. Higher education, green industries, business at all level should consider Severnside as a concept, as collectively it is big enough to make a real impact at a European level and the two cities complement each other very well.

    Mr WIlliams, you should be congratulated on making such a mature, optimistic and sensible comment on what is not the best news for your particular constituency. We could do with you in the senedd!

    Also, as a Cardiff resident, I can assure John and the casualty cast that Cardiff is a very vibrant and exciting place nowadays. I love it.

  6. rosemary permalink
    August 20, 2011 5:58 pm

    The whole Severnside Region is already a centre of excellence in music. “Sabrina Fair, Listen where thou art sitting…”

    Does the Londoncentric arts world know this?

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