Casualty star Di Botcher on the return to filming BBC’s long-running medical drama…
Casualty is coming back!
When we last saw them, there was a lot going on for the Casualty paramedic team in their personal lives…
Now Casualty fans are keen to know where their favourite storylines are headed since the announcement that filming has re-started on BBC medical drama.
Three of the most anticipated Casualty storylines of 2020 have involved the Holby ED paramedic team.
Namely the introduction of paramedic boss Jan Jenning’s police officer wife Ffion Morgan, the revelation that happily married Lev Malinovsky is cheating on wife Faith Cadogan, while their son Luka is seriously ill, and junior paramedic Fenisha Khatri’s secret pregnancy.
When we last saw Casualty Jan and Ffion (Stirling Gallacher) were negotiating the stresses of their frontline jobs with their personal lives.
Dylan Keogh (William Beck) had told a disbelieving Faith (Kirsty Mitchell) that he’s seen Lev (Uriel Emil) kissing a man.
And Fenisha (Olivia D’Lima) confessed to Jan (Di Botcher) that she is four months pregnant.
Unfortunately Jan (Di Botcher) was knocked out with morphine at the time and didn’t hear a word! Meanwhile Doctor Ethan Hardy (George Rainsford) has no idea that Fenisha is expecting his child…
It’s been confirmed that the pressures facing frontline workers is going to be directly addressed in Casualty when it returns. Which raises even more questions for Jan, her wife and her team.
We talked to Di Botcher, who has also starred in Stella, The Thick of It, Little Britain and Sherlock.
Here Di Botcher, tells us more about the future for Jan and those close to her in Casualty…
Have you been in touch with your Casualty co-stars during lockdown and the cessation of Casualty filming?
Di Botcher: "Yes, we keep in the loop. As a cast we have a WhatsApp group and regular emails from Production, who let us know what’s going on. They’re working very hard on a Covid episode, and then - because it’s got to pick up the storyline at some point - that Fenisha is pregnant. [Laughing] It’s going to be the pregnancy of an elephant!"
How do you think Jan will react when she finds out Fenisha is pregnant?
DB: "I think there is a side of Jan that has seen it all, so I don’t think she’s gong to fall over in shock. She’ll be there to help, but would need to think about it more from a work point of view. How long can this go on? Do we need to get somebody else? Should Fenisha be put on desk duty? Women get pregnant, this is what happens, I think Jan is a very practical woman."
Gruffly maternal, maybe?
DB: "Yes, I think so. Jan would love to think that she’s hard as nails and nothing gets to her but she’s got a well of deep emotion in there. She’s a caring person, but has got to find the balance, otherwise you’d go mad, wouldn’t you?"
Jan’s relationship with Lev is very different..
DB: "With Lev it’s much more of a working relationship. As far as Jan knows is he’s married and his son is desperately ill. That’s a very sad thing to happen, and she will help as much as she can, but she’s not there to have therapy sessions with him. And I think he’s happy with that. When they do a shift together they know exactly where they are, they keep themselves to themselves, they do the work, one drives, one’s in the back, they do the handovers, and [laughing] she doesn’t have to listen to some young girl going on and on!"
Are you enjoying the recent introduction of Jan’s home life?
DB: "It’s lovely - and we got a nice house. I was very pleased with Jan’s house! Jan doesn’t want to mix up her private life with her work life at all. We didn’t know about Jan really, and so the sky was the limit, anything could happen. When Jan’s son turned up he did say, when he was trying to get at his mother, ‘How’s Ffion?’ and that was a bit of an Achilles heel to Jan - she always wants to keep these things compartmentalised. So we always knew that Ffion was there and there was a possibility that she would turn up. When they told me it was Stirling Gallacher and she was a police officer, I was delighted. I always thought Ffion would be in one of the caring sectors."
Did you get a chance to develop the storyline with Stirling before filming?
DB: "Stirling got in touch with me and she came in one day when I was filming on my lunch hour. We had a coffee together and kept in touch from then. She’s an excellent actress and a lovely person and she really wanted to get this right, as did I. How do you portray a couple who’ve been married for years when you’re two women who don’t know each other very well in real life? We had level of trust between us and found the shorthand there."
They seem to have a really grounded relationship?
DB: "Yes, and I hope they keep that, the normality of it all. This is a relationship with somebody that Jan absolutely loves and she want it to work. Yes life gets in the way, but they always have each other’s back. It’s a very strong basis for love and trust, which is excellent."
Do you still feel there’s more to explore with Jan?
DB: "Oh gosh yes! I like the idea of Jan being caring, solid and stolid… You know where you are with her, she’s good at her job, she’s very committed to it and its a massive part of her life. But I would love also to see something that really shakes Jan up as well, and I’m hoping that’s going to come in the future!"
Casualty will return to screens later this year at the slightly shorter duration of 40 minutes.
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