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Casualty star Cathy Shipton: 'Why did they bring Duffy back to do this to her?'

Duffy faces an uncertain future in Casualty
Duffy faces an uncertain future in <a href="/casualty-home/" data-source-seowords>Casualty</a> (Image credit: BBC)

Cathy Shipton answers the question Casualty fans have been asking about Duffy for months…

Casualty nurse Lisa "Duffy" Duffin is facing the fight of her life having been diagnosed with vascular dementia. As well as dealing with this shock information, Duffy has been marginalised in the workplace by estranged husband Charlie Fairhead (Derek Thompson), the only person to know about her situation.

Duffy’s pain and suffering is palpable, thanks to Cathy Shipton (opens in new tab), who plays her. It’s also an anxious time for Duffy fans so we talked to the lady who knows her best!

Here Casualty star Cathy tells us more…

When you’re initially given a storyline like this, do you worry about your character’s future?

Cathy Shipton: "Of course! Hand on heart I thought ‘Why did they bring Duffy back to do this to her?’ which was echoed in the public. But also, to take a storyline as serious as this subject, it takes a character that’s been invested in. There’s a kind of balance in that. You’re being trusted to honour this story and you know you’re going to be challenged."

How do you cope with that?

CS: "Playing it in my workday all I get is hugs, or people wiping away tears. I’ve ended up being the clown in a way because I go ‘Okay guys, come on, it’s just acting you know!’ You have to break the tension sometimes."

How does Duffy feel about Charlie’s reaction to her diagnosis?

Charlie and Duffy were devastated when her affair was exposed

Charlie and Duffy were devastated when her affair was exposed (Image credit: BBC)

CS: "At the end of the episode [where she confides in him] when he said he wanted to talk to her she thought ‘Oh thank god, he’s now going to take this on board’… and what has he done? The staff rota! He doesn’t talk to her as a husband and it lets her know she’s still on her own with this. She wants to tell everybody but he wants to keep it between them. Charlie panics – that’s the word Derek used of Charlie’s decision. He panics and doesn’t understand. It’s being human."

The story develops dramatically this week when David does some digging. How does Duffy feel at this point?

CS: "It’s really awkward and uncomfortable, and it’s of Charlie’s making! She’s adhered to Charlie’s decision but is becoming a weight in the department because he won’t let her do anything clinical. That decision plays out with equally poor comeback on her."

What would you say to fans concerned for Duffy’s future in the ED?

CS: "I know people are worried about the storyline and how it will play out, but I’m still in the saddle cracking the whip! There’s a lot more to come..."

Casualty continues on BBC1 this Saturday, 8.30pm.

Elaine Reilly
Elaine Reilly

With twenty years of experience as an entertainment journalist, Elaine writes for What’s on TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite Week and (opens in new tab) (opens in new tab) 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.