Amanda Mealing talks exclusively about Connie Beauchamp, Jacob Masters, Casualty-Holby City crossovers and the future of BBC Casualty…
In the last episode [broadcast on BBC1, 30 May 2020 and available on BBC iPlayer] Connie Beauchamp, Charlie Fairhead, Dylan Keogh and Faith Cadogan were taken hostage. Shots were fired, Dylan (William Beck) risked his life to protect Faith (Kirsty Mitchell), and later he revealed his true feelings for the married nurse.
The ordeal turned out to be pivotal for the fractured relationship between Connie (Amanda Mealing) and Charlie (Derek Thompson) too. They reached a new understanding, and Connie offered Charlie his job back. We couldn’t help but notice another aspect to this episode… Jacob Masters! When his ex Connie was taken hostage the nurse was instrumental in helping the police. Could romance be back on the cards for #Jonnie?
Eager to know what we can look forward to when Casualty returns to our screens, we spoke to the very lovely Amanda Mealing, who plays Holby ED's clinical lead Connie Beauchamp.
Here Amanda teases romance for Casualty favourites Connie and Jacob, and reveals what’s next for BBC1’s hit medical drama…
The hostage episode was very exciting! Does it mark a new beginning for Connie and Charlie?
Amanda Mealing: "It’s a big one! Charlie is still grieving for Duffy and part of that grieving process is blaming everyone else. When he comes to the ED and lets Connie know exactly how he feels about her [Connie let Duffy take the blame for her medical mistakes], it’s heart breaking for her. She’s still horrified by what she did, but we needed to see her get it full force from Charlie. We also needed to see her take it on the chin because it’s all true. In the episode it comes to a head when a gunman takes Charlie, Connie, Dylan and Faith hostage! This forces a big awakening for Charlie. He and Connie are prompted to find the beginnings of a reconciliation."
Were those scenes difficult to film given you’re great friends with Derek in real life?
AM: "Derek’s my bestie, I probably spend more time with him than anyone, and you know we’re all a really close unit on Casualty! In these scenes he’s unshaven, unkempt and looks awful… He didn’t seem like Derek or Charlie, so it was really shocking to have this strange-but-familiar person screaming at me. Derek does it with such conviction I couldn't help but react to it. It’s heart breaking and terrifying at the same time."
Are action-packed storylines like this part of why you love playing Connie?
AM: "Yes, definitely! She’s a mercurial character. You never know what direction she’s going to go in. She can start an episode bright and happy and by the end is tearing someone’s head off. It’s so much fun! My favourite version of Connie is her battling in intellectual word-tennis with some powerhouse. I love the feisty, strident, one-liner Connie. That’s when she’s at her best."
Well, she is the Queen of the ED!
AM: "There are fabulously strong women, past and present, in Casualty, so to be called ‘Queen of the ED’ is just awesome! It’s a touching title to have. It means I have to live up to it, maintain my standards - and Connie’s heels! In the hostage episode she has to work through a lot of barriers before she can get back to being the Connie who takes charge when its desperately needed. Fans will understand; she’s scared when she’s grabbed and dragged around by Mick the gunman because she’s been attacked before."
Holby City twist!
Can you tease any future storylines brewing in Casualty?
AM: "Yes! We always want to make sure there are interactions between sister shows Casualty and Holby City. So hospital CEO Max McGerry (Jo Martin) will pop downstairs to Casualty. And Connie will pop upstairs to Holby City and visit the old gang again. I absolutely adore Jo, she’s brilliant. She’s very busy on Holby City and Doctor Who, everyone wants a piece of her, so when she comes to us, she has to do all her scenes in one day if possible! It’s a gruelling schedule, but she is utterly professional and a joy. I love working with her."
Connie and Jacob seem to be getting along well at the moment…
AM: "Connie and her ex Jacob (Charles Venn) are working well together, aren’t they? They have such history. Charles and I are making sure that their personal history is still played between them, even if we’re just passing each other a file! Things might warm up between them - who knows?!"
Although production is suspended, are there plans to resume filming?
AM: "We’re trying to find solutions. We’ll never leave the audience without something, even if we can only provide little filler episodes that show one character. There are lots of ideas floating around at the moment. Because Casualty is set in an ED we’re in a better place than many. We can viably get away with wearing PPE, but we need to work out protection for the rest of the crew. With my director’s head on there are ways around it; we’ll find a way!"
Casualty is due to return to BBC1 in July.
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With twenty years of experience as an entertainment journalist, Elaine writes for What’s on TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite Week and www.whattowatch.com covering a variety of programs from gardening and wildlife to documentaries and drama.
As well as active involvement in the WTW family’s social media accounts, she has been known to get chatty on the red carpet and wander into the odd podcast.
After a day of previewing TV, writing about TV and interviewing TV stars, Elaine likes nothing than to relax… by watching TV.