Cathy Shipton reveals how she really feels to leave Casualty… AND gives insider details on Duffy’s final scenes!
Casualty legends Charlie and Duffy Fairhead are considered the fabric of Holby ED and with good reason. Since Casualty’s first episode in 1986 they’ve captured people’s hearts as the hardworking NHS nurses, who secretly loved each other for three decades before finally getting married in 2017.
So this week’s Casualty is must-see TV, as Cathy Shipton, who plays Duffy, prepares to wave goodbye to the iconic role…
“It’s bittersweet,” admits Cathy, 62. “I’ve loved playing Duffy. She’s a sort of extraordinary ordinary person and there’s something heroic about her.
“I know there will be complete sadness because the character is much loved. But it’s very satisfying to bring her story to a conclusion – it’s been handled beautifully.”
The couple have been struggling for months with the rapid progression of Duffy’s vascular dementia that’s seen the nurse call time on her forty-year nursing career.
Last week Charlie (Derek Thompson) admitted Duffy into residential care, but seeing how deeply unhappy it made her he quickly brought her home and decided to look after her himself. This week, after a lovely evening together, Charlie wakes up alone at home on a snowy winter’s morning, with Duffy nowhere to be seen.
Duffy, believing it’s the 1980s and that Charlie needs her at work, is making her way to the ED dressed only in her old uniform and slippers. Realising what’s happened Charlie desperately searches for his wife, only to find her semi-conscious and suffering from hypothermia. She’s rushed to the ED where, in heart-breaking scenes, Charlie must step back as the team spring into action to bring Duffy back from the brink…
“In her mind Duffy’s thrown right back to 1986 and her first days in that uniform. She’s a nurse right up until the end in a way,” says Cathy, who adds: “When I first read these scenes I was very affected by the script. When we filmed I was totally in the moment, so I didn’t cry but I had a frog in my throat and was completely goosebumped. I remember saying, this is going to be such a hard watch. There won’t be a dry eye, I can tell you!”
Don’t miss this episode of Casualty when it airs on BBC1 on Saturday 01 February at 9.15pm