Press Office

Thursday 17 Apr 2014

Press Packs

Casualty A-Z – Props to writers

Props In the early days when the hospital had a plaster room, a young props buyer had to source a stainless steel bucket plus a mixing implement. He went to a medical prop hire company and selected random items plus the mixing tool. When the episode aired, viewers pointed out that Brenda Fricker had been using infant delivery forceps to mix the plaster!

Prosthetics

  • The prosthetics room for the entire series measures only about 4" x 4".
  • Body parts are now made primarily from silicon. For scenes involving operations, a plastic shield is placed beneath the prosthetic to protect the actor from being stabbed.
  • There are 25 babies in store, from premature babies to 6 year olds, in all different skin tones.
  • Moulds of various body parts are made by creating a cast from an actor. The more interesting include a tongue and a bottom!

Sound

Casualty's sound editors have a library of almost 100,000 sounds; but sometimes they need to enhance a sound or create something unique. This they do using a foley artist in a sound booth.

The sound booth in the recording studio has a trap in the floor with a block of concrete. This can be used to create various footsteps, including walking on pavement and debris.

In the series 24 première, we initially think the homeless gang holed up in the abandoned shopping centre are zombies. To enhance this feeling, the sound editor slowed down animal sounds, including a turkey gobble slowed by 400 per cent. To create the sound of the giant fan that teenager Ella gets her arm stuck in, as well as maintain the spookiness, he used a recording of vulture wings which he slowed and looped.

Common sounds effects and how they're made:

  • Squelching using a steak or satsuma (manipulated in the hands)
  • Stabbing using a melon
  • Head bashing using a cabbage on concrete
  • Fire using a thin piece of silk/material across the microphone
  • Water using a tank with a special microphone and wading hands through
  • Breaking bones using celery

The voice of "control" on the ambulance radios is not a paid actor. During filming, the 1st Assistant Director will read the part; and during post-production, the sound editor will often grab a passing colleague to record the lines.

Storylines

  • Number of months from planning a story to transmission: 9
  • Number of months a writer has to write: 3
  • Number of drafts the average script goes through: 5
  • Number of filming days per episode: 10

Number of times the ED has been on fire or exploded: 3

  • Series 7 Episode 24 (finale)
  • Series 9 Episode 24 (finale)
  • Series 19 Episodes 17 and 18 (Christmas)

Supporting artists

Paul "Oscar" Anderson is possibly the longest serving extra on TV, having appeared in almost every episode of Casualty. He's played a doctor, a nurse, patients and even had a speaking part in 1996; but is most familiar to us as porter Oscar. A dancer by trade, Paul has choreographed two Casualty episodes and featured in The Real Extras.

One SA accidentally, and very audibly, smashed into a trolley during a take; but because every other take had problems, they kept the one with her accident.

The extras occasionally have joke days where they play pass-the-prop or all carry something silly across the set under the director's nose – see if you can spot the ones the directors didn't.

Writers

In addition to on-screen talent, Casualty has nurtured a host of talent behind the camera too. Writers Peter Bowker (Occupation / Monroe), Bill Gallagher (Lark Rise To Candleford) and Bryan Elsley (The Crow Road / Skins) started their careers at Casualty as did former head of BBC Drama Jane Tranter and Controller of ITV Drama Laura Mackie. And Casualty creator Jeremy Brock is now a Hollywood screen writer whose movie credits include Mrs Brown, Charlotte Gray and The Last King Of Scotland.

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