Casualty legend Cathy Shipton quits after 33 years as nurse 'Duffy'

Casualty - Duffy
(Image credit: BBC/Alistair Heap)

Iconic Casualty star Cathy Shipton to exit show next year

Casualty legend Cathy Shipton has announced that she's leaving the BBC1 hit 33 years after she first appeared on screen as Lisa 'Duffy' Duffin in the show's pilot episode in 1986.

Cathy has appeared in a whopping 350 episodes as Duffy, making her one of the show's longest serving cast members. As Duffy, Cathy has been in and out of the series, but today she revealed that she will be appearing in Casualty for the final time. Her last appearance will be next year.

Cathy Shipton says: “Walking in Duffy's shoes through the years has taught me so much for which I'll be forever grateful. I’m honoured and humbled to have played this inspiring woman. With sadness, but a sense of completion, l say goodbye.”

Simon Harper, Executive Producer of Casualty and Holby City, added: “Cathy’s enormous contribution has not just been to Casualty but also to the national consciousness and the British Television Drama landscape.

"She has made Duffy into a comforting Saturday night icon, the caring, ideal NHS nurse millions grew up with - and whom you’d want to be looked after by in times of need. She’s given us some of our most unforgettable stories and moments, not least of late in her heart-rending dementia storyline, and I simply cannot thank her enough.”

Charlie and Duffy having a heart-to-heart in the car

Duffy and Charlie will be seen having a heart to heart in this Saturday's episode (Image credit: BBC)

This year Duffy and her husband Charlie Fairhead have had to cope with her devastating dementia diagnosis. The pair have been coping better recently, but in Saturday's episode poor Duffy is left sobbing and distressed when she's unable to turn right while driving.

Talking about what she loves about the show, Cathy recently told us: "When Casualty’s creators Jeremy Brock and Paul Unwin sat around the kitchen table and conceived this show, they created a family. The whole crux of Casualty is the seesaw of the lives public servants who park their personal lives to help people. It’s a tightrope. I’m proud in my day’s work to represent these unsung heroes!”

Speculation will now turn to how Duffy will exit the show and it seems likely that she will die on screen - although that of course hasn't been confirmed.

David Hollingsworth

David is the What To Watch Editor and has over 20 years of experience in television journalism. He is currently writing about the latest television and film news for What To Watch.

Before working for What To Watch, David spent many years working for TV Times magazine, interviewing some of television's most famous stars including Hollywood actor Kiefer Sutherland, singer Lionel Richie and wildlife legend Sir David Attenborough. 

David started out as a writer for TV Times before becoming the title's deputy features editor and then features editor. During his time on TV Times, David also helped run the annual TV Times Awards. David is a huge Death in Paradise fan, although he's still failed to solve a case before the show's detective! He also loves James Bond and controversially thinks that Timothy Dalton was an excellent 007.

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