Di Botcher reveals viewers will see a completely different side to Casualty paramedic Jan Jenning when she faces certain death...
In Casualty the relationship between junior paramedic Fenisha Khatri and boss Jan Jenning has been fraught since day one.
Action-loving rookie Fenisha (Olivia D’Lima) gets on the experienced medic nerves because she rashly dashes into dangerous situations.
Meanwhile free spirited Fenisha is fed up with Jan trying to rein her in!
Jan has led her youth group into an old railway tunnel, only for it to collapse… Now she desperately needs help from Casualty newcomer Fenisha!
We talked to Di Botcher, who has also starred in The Thick of It, Little Britain, Sherlock and Stella.
Here she tells us about Jan’s complicated relationship with Fenisha in Casualty and how it’s set to change…
This sounds like an exciting Casualty episode to film. What can you reveal?
Di Botcher: “It was filmed on location for a week in March, pre-lockdown, and I was in an underground tunnel for most of that week! The weather was absolutely horrific, but I really enjoyed this episode. There were also scenes where I’m in a hospital bed, which was a great ‘I love my work!’ moment!”
Will we see a different side to Jan, who is using her annual leave to lead a youth group?
DB: “Jan’s someone who is overworked and trying to juggle a lot. Her home life with wife Ffion (Coronation Street star Stirling Gallacher) is suffering because of work. So it’s nice to see Jan in a completely different milieu and as we haven’t seen her before. She’s someone who puts back into society. I like seeing her be a leader to the tough youth club kids and, of course, having them take the mickey out of her as well! Plus Jan’s idea of heaven is to go [exploring] a tunnel – she’s really excited about it, so I had a lot of fun with that.”
Fenisha gets a shock when she abseils into the tunnel and comes face-to-face with Jan… Why isn’t she happy to see her boss?
DB: “They rub each other up the wrong way! They had a standup argument [Casualty 22 May 2020] when Jan got to the crux of it and said, ‘I’ve been doing this job for 30 years, you’ve been here five minutes and you think you’re right’. And Fenisha turned around and said, ‘Yes I do think I’m right’. Well, you’d have to be a saint not to be riled by that sort of answer, and Jan’s not a saint! So now she’s on the lookout for Fenisha doing something risky or not going by the rule book…”
Jan loves that rule book!
DB: “Yes, she does. She can quote you rules!”
Is Jan’s approach influenced by past experiences with other Casualty paramedics?
DB: “Yes, Jan has already been through this with Iain Dean. He put himself at risk time and time again. Iain (Michael Stevenson) would run into a burning building with no back up and I think that aged Jan, because she loved him so much. And now she has this flibbertigibbet of a girl who’s doing the same! When Fenisha doesn’t follow protocol and gets herself injured it makes Jan’s job harder. Jan knows that if you work by the rules you get the best possible outcome. Jan’s got a very big heart and a lot of compassion, but she can go up like a rocket!”
What does Jan like about Fenisha?
DB: “With Fenisha she sees a heck of a lot of potential but thinks that she’s just throwing it away – if she doesn’t do it Jan’s way!”
During Saturday’s episode, Jan reveals she’s injured after all the youth group are rescued. Is it serious?
DB: “Yes, it’s a very serious injury. As a head paramedic she thinks – Get everyone out. Jan is the last one out, and then ‘fesses up that she’s badly injured… Jan would love to think that she’s hard as nails and nothing gets to her but you’ll see she’s got a well of deep emotion in there… I think things will change between Jan and Fenisha.”
Don’t miss this dramatic Casualty episode when it airs on BBC1 at 7.40pm on Saturday 15 August!