Lovely long read with Casualty star George Rainsford about Ethan Hardy’s complicated love life!
Shy and sweet doctor Ethan Hardy in Casualty is unlucky in love – even by the show's standards, where relationships fail on a regular basis!
Since arriving in Holby’s A&E department six years ago, the quietly complex medic - played by fan favourite George Rainsford - has clocked up a number of romantic disasters.
There have been dalliances with colleagues – barista Honey Wright (Chelsee Healey) and fellow doctor Alicia Munroe (Chelsea Halfpenny) – plus affairs with patients Leigh-Anne Carr (Cassie Bradley) and Effie Laurence (Abigail Hardingham).
His entanglement with Leigh-Anne was particularly ill-advised, as Ethan had previously allowed her boyfriend, villainous Scott Ellisson (Will Austin), to die in the ED in an act of vengeance for him murdering Ethan’s brother, Cal Knight (Richard Winsor).
“Ethan’s quite intense and tends to fall too quickly for the wrong people!” laughs George. “There has been so much drama over the years with Alicia, finding out he inherited Huntington’s disease, his adoptive and biological mums dying, Cal’s murder, his revenge pursuit of Scott, and so much more!”
Thankfully, Ethan’s dark side is now firmly in the past, but his bad luck with women still continues. In current Casualty storylines, Ethan has discovered that he’s accidentally got his best friend’s girlfriend pregnant!
Casualty star George Rainsford, 37, time travels with us through the many (many!) loves and loses of Dr Ethan Hardy
George Rainsford: “Funnily enough, somebody said to me the other day that he’s had quite a lot of snogs on the show and actually, when I tallied them up, he has!”
1. Lily in Casualty
Straight-laced, studious Lily Chao (Crystal Yu) was tasked with looking after Ethan on his first day in January 2014 and was soon drawn towards the bookish junior doctor. Later, Cal bedded Lily for a bet. Ethan felt compelled to protect her honour by punching his bother, but ultimately ended up falling for Honey…
“After Lily was with Cal, Ethan defended her!” recalls George. “At one stage it seemed they may have a romance, but in they were too similar and were just friends.”
Ethan was instantly smitten when Noel’s daughter Honey Wright (Chelsee Healey) became a barista in the ED. Their romance was a slow-burner, yet despite interference from both Cal and Lily they ultimately got together with Noel’s blessing. They split up in September 2015 when Honey realised nice guy Ethan wasn’t her type and left Holby to study holistic healing!
“Everyone thinks registrar Lily Chao and Ethan got together, but Honey was Ethan’s first Casualty romance,” says George.
“It was a funny and cute storyline that unintentionally started during Chelsee Healey’s audition! I was the doctor they used for her screen test and, knowing how scary auditions are, I was trying to make it a relaxed experience. The team thought the characters could work, and wrote this relationship once Chelsee stated on the show!”
3. Alicia in Casualty
Ethan and Alicia’s romance began budding after they were trapped together during Casualty’s 30th Anniversary helicopter crash in August 2016. They began dating but it didn’t last. Then it got complicated!
Alicia (Chelsea Halfpenny) dated Cal but had a one-night-stand with Ethan. Ethan rekindled their romance and briefly experienced happiness, until Scott Ellison murdered Cal. Ethan pressed self-destruct and plotted revenge on Cal’s killer, ultimately letting him die in the ED! (Cue side stories with clinical lead Connie Beauchamp and Scott Ellison’s girlfriend. See below).
In 2018 they rekindled their romance, but while Ethan was planning to ask Alicia to become Mrs Hardy in January 2019 she upped and moved to Manchester!
“Although Alicia was the love of his life they weren’t together very long because they were always breaking up and getting back together!” remembers George. “Typically, when they reached a point where they’d worked it all out she left!”
This was an unexpected one! Clinical lead Connie Beauchamp (Amanda Mealing) discovered Ethan’s killer secret and used it to blackmail him. It was an ethically hazy time, where Ethan was coerced into keeping quiet about Connie’s cancer diagnosis and pressurised into performing illegal surgery on the Queen of the ED!
In a specific moment of confusion Connie planted the lips on Ethan… They’ve both regretted it ever since!
“They should both be struck off!” laughs George. “They have a weird, secret hold over each other. Ethan really tried to help Connie through her cancer ordeal. It became murky when Connie kissed Ethan because she thought she was dying.”
One day you’re letting Scott Ellison (Will Austin) die, and the next you’re delivering his baby and falling for his grieving girlfriend.
Ethan weaved a tangled web with Leigh-Anne Carr (Cassie Bradley) the second he discovered who she was. Desperate for redemption after Scott’s demise Ethan helped vulnerable Leigh-Anne when she was struggling. They started an ethically iffy relationship, but thankfully it disintegrated when Ethan realised the error of his ways and dumped her in June 2018...
“This was when Ethan dipped his toe into the dark side!” says George. “The trouble with Leigh-Anne is she was Scott’s ex and Ethan had let him die after he killed Ethan’s brother Cal! I keep in touch with Cassie, she is a brilliant actor.”
Not one to learn from his mistakes Ethan fell for another patient, Effie Laurence, in August 2019. He quickly became attached to the free-spirited cystic fibrosis suffer. Things got dark, however, when Ethan doctored Effie’s records to get her on a medical trial. Although he’d risked being struck off, it didn’t last and they parted in November…
“Ethan met Effie after the big bomb explosion in Holby market,” explains George. “He couldn’t save people there so he tried to save Effie – but it got inappropriate!”
Care-free paramedic Fenisha (Olivia D’Lima) had a fun one-night stand with Ethan, but later started a relationship with doctor Will Noble. Since discovering she’s pregnant with Ethan’s baby, Fenisha has dumped Will (Jack Nolan) and told Ethan that she’s having a termination. However, Fenisha is having second thoughts – all the while unaware Ethan has Huntington’s disease. Yet, despite their unusual start, could Fenisha and Ethan be a classic case of opposites attract?
“It’s typical Ethan! He had a one-night stand with Fenisha, and afterwards she started a happy relationship with his best friend, Will,” reveals George who adds:
“I like how Fenisha calls him adorkable. They’re not really matched, but Ethan is the sort of person who really wants to settle down and have a family…”
Casualty is shown on BBC1.
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