Casualty star Michael Stevenson reveals why he’s hanging up Iain’s paramedic uniform and saying a fond farewell to Holby ED (for now!)…
It’s time to say goodbye to long-serving and much-loved Casualty paramedic Iain Dean. After six years of service, romances, lives saved, lives lost, friendships made, and lots of laughs Iain’s ready to say farewell.
Best pals Jan, Ruby and Dixie, however, have some doubts whether he’s fully ready for an intense new challenge, following his recent battle with depression. Will he prove them wrong? Could he change his mind? If not, could a return be on the cards? We’ve so many questions!
Here Michael Stevenson, who plays Iain Dean, answers our queries about his Casualty departure...
Why is it the right time for Iain to say goodbye to Casualty?
Michael Stevenson: "Iain’s been in Holby for six years, and was on a huge journey this year. He hit rock bottom, tried to take his life, eventually accepted help and began his journey into recovery. What I’m most proud of is where Iain’s story is ending. Showing how people recover is just as important as talking about mental health. Iain’s gone to the depths and pulled himself out of it. It shows the possibilities out there for people to pull themselves back."
Excitingly Iain’s applied to HEMS (Helicopter Emergency Medical Services)… Are you happy with his exit story?
MS: "Yes, very! We talked about Iain training with HEMS in the show so he could do more roadside operations and up his adrenaline! The fact we’re sending him away to do it is very apt – and convenient - they don’t have to write it now!"
How do Ruby and Jan react to Iain’s news?
MS: "There’s a bit of conflict there with Ruby and Jan. They’re his two closest allies and have seen him through thick and thin. Iain initially misunderstands their reaction, which ups the ‘should I or shouldn’t I?’ From the beginning of the episode its clear Iain’s leaving. We didn’t want to keep it a secret or have a shock exit. We want the audience to enjoy Iain’s final shift! They’ve been with him through everything and understand why he wants to try pastures new."
Iain’s former boss Dixie has returned for your exit story. Is that special?
MS: "It’s interesting Dixie’s in the mix, because Dixie, Jan and Ruby are three of the most influential people in Iain’s time at Holby. Having Jane [Hazlegrove] back as Dixie is a gift. Jane is a special one. As soon she turned up it was laughs and giggles. We’re friends off-screen so it was brilliant knowing I was spending my last weeks filming with one of my best pals. I’m chuffed!"
You finished filming in May. Do you know if or when Iain could return?
MS: "We don’t have a fixed date because the preparation for Iain’s return would have started the minute I left, as Casualty storylines get planned so far in advance. It was a busy old year so it’s good to be at home with my family. I think it’s healthy for everyone to have a rest and then get excited about it! No doubt in the coming months that discussion will happen…"
But you are coming back?
MS: "Well, this industry never promises you anything! I know they’re starting to talk about the new series now. We’ve also got a new series producer, fresh new characters and great new storylines, so we’ll see what happens…"
You finished filming in May. What do you most miss?
MS: "The on-set banter! I dearly miss the crew, especially Maddy [Hill, who plays Ruby] and Di [Botcher, who plays Jan] because we worked so closely. I also miss filming on location; they will always be my favourite memories. But I definitely don’t miss the early mornings!"
Do you remember your first storyline in Casualty back in 2012?
MS: "Yes! Iain started out in a one-off guest role for Sam Nicholl’s fitness to practice hearing, as her army love interest and spanner in the works! I got invited back as a semi-regular paramedic. And the rest is history. Its amazing Iain’s storyline has gone from there to here, it’s very flattering."
And finally… Did you take any mementos with you?
MS: [Laughing] "The left overs from the party!
"I’ve got a few bits and bobs. Every character I’ve ever played I always send my mum a little bit of the costume. She’s got a box where she keeps them, including Iain’s paramedic epaulettes.
"My collection of socks at home all have Michael Stevenson sewn into them because I kept forgetting to give them back to the Costume Department. Every six months they’d ask me if I’d socks or white t-shirts at home with my name on them... That’s one thing that’s changed in the last four months, I’ve had to buy my own socks and T-shirts!”
Watch Iain's final scenes in Casualty on Saturday 21 September 2019 at 9.20pm
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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.