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Big Mac is back! ‘Casualty’ star Charles Dale reveals more

Casualty anniversary episode sees Big Mac and Noel reunited.
Return of the Mac! Big Mac and Noel are reunited in Casualty's anniversary episode. (Image credit: BBC)

Hospital porter turned healthcare assistant MacKenzie ‘Big Mac’ Chalker was a Casualty staple from 2007 until his departure in 2016. He resigned after admitting to stealing pills because of his painkiller addiction.

In Ethan Hardy’s feverish dream in Casualty's 35th anniversary special, Big Mac and best mate, ED receptionist Noel Garcia, are bickering about who is more vital to the hospital, and rope Ethan and his brother Cal Knight into their disagreement.

Could this week’s flashback lead to a more permanent return to the wards for Big Mac?

We caught up with Charles Dale, 58, who plays Big Mac, to find out more...

Charles, lovely to have you back as Big Mac for the Casualty anniversary episode. Were you surprised at being asked to return?

Charles Dale: "Yes, I was very surprised to be asked back but obviously delighted. I’ve been very lucky with work since we came out of lockdown and fortunately I had a week off between two series that I’m filming, so a very easy decision."

How did you find the process of getting into character and reviving your fab double-act with Tony Marshall, who plays Noel?

CD: "T and I have a very special relationship. He’s not just a work colleague, he's one of my closest friends and one of a handful of people I consider family."

Did you and Tony do anything special to prepare?

CD: "No prep needed, like putting on a pair of comfy old slippers!"

How was it reuniting with the Casualty cast and crew again? 

CD: "The cast has changed a lot since I left and, because of Covid restrictions, I only really saw Tony, Richard [Winsor] and George [Rainsford], but it was lovely to share a socially distanced, outdoor pint with them after work. 

"The crew, as usual, were wonderful, with loads of friends and familiar faces."

How would you sum up the anniversary special in one sentence?

CD: "For me personally... Fun!"

Why do you think Casualty stands the test of time?  

Casualty original Charlie Fairhead (Derek Thompson) is the medical drama's longest serving character.

Casualty original Charlie Fairhead (Derek Thompson) is the medical drama's longest serving character. (Image credit: BBC)

CD: "Casualty stands the test of time for several reasons but primarily because it’s about a British institution that people love and value, and have hopefully realised during COVID, that they can’t live without the NHS. Also, everyone loves Derek!" 

Could you be tempted to return in the future?

CD: "Never say never!"

Casualty celebrates its 35th birthday with a special extended episode on Saturday 14 August at 8.45pm. Keep checking our Casualty page for more exclusive interviews.