It's an idea to sit down for a dose of Cashzz or Enders with a trained counsellor at your side at the moment, or at the very least with your finger poised to dial the relevant helpline.

I had to reach for a helpline of the highest authority after watching the Casualty series openers a couple of weeks ago with my 10 year old. We sat down for an adrenalin filled Saturday evening ep penned by Mark Catley - I'm a huge fan of Mark's writing, it's clever, quirky and never fails to move me. They appeared to have thrown the entire Casualty budget at these first two episodes - heavy location and tons of gore. Tons of it.
Gore we can cope with, people impaled on spikes? No problem.
What affected my little one most was Zoe's patient - the tiny tot with cancer who died at the end of the ep, and Dixie behind the wheel sending the nasty girl into orbit.. a real shocker that.

My youngest believes all these things will happen to her at some time, possibly within the next few days. Infantile hypochondria? Or possibly simply getting to grips with the real world where bad things happen. Even before the end of the episode her big sister was commenting dryly 'Don't worry it won't happen to you..'
I was in Elstree the next week for a commissioning meeting and was able to collar John Yorke in the lift. I mentioned how fab Cashzz is at the moment and my daughter's subsequent sense of impending doom. 'You can tell her from me she's not going to get impaled on a spike or ploughed into by an ambulance..'
I relayed the reassuring words from the "Controller of BBC Drama Production" to my daughter over tea that night. She looked relieved.

My own Casualty episode (produced on a shoestring as it's not a series opener) is in the can! Not without its own drama - I was penning amendments to scenes that were to be shot the next day. There's a writer living on the edge for you. One storyline needed constant tweaking, once tweaked everyone was happy.

My episode was being filmed with a Baffle and this caused a few problems here and there. 'What is a Baffle?' I asked my editor, baffled.
A Baffle is a huge soundproofed wall that splits the Casualty set in half. One team films in one half whist another team can simultaneously film in the other half. The Baffle cuts the ED 'Staff Room' in half. I had quite a few scenes in the staff room. Damn.
They had to be played elsewhere. Also having been asked to write 70% of the episode on location outside of the ED for scheduling purposes - half way through, this decision was reversed and I had to rewrite some scenes back into the ED.
With a Baffle. And half a Staff Room.

So you see - the journey of a Continuing Drama episode can be less about the nuances of the story road travelled, and more about who's where and the studying of architectural ground plans.
The walls of my writing space are now more or less covered in ground plans for the hospital sets of Casualty and Holby - you'd think I was orchestrating some sort of NHS bank raid..

Presently awaiting notes - the Treatment for my next Holby ep is currently under scrutiny over in Elstree. So should be enough time to finish the raspberry knitted circular bolero, especially with this cold weather setting in..


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