Press Office

Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

Programme Information

Network TV BBC Week 44
Casualty Feature

Casualty dishes up mini Halloween treat

Joe McFadden plays Alistair in Casualty's special 'webisode'


Saturday 31 October on BBC ONE

Casualty fans are in for a dark, Halloween treat on Saturday 31 October when the medical drama serves up an additional "webisode", to be screened on the BBC website immediately after the transmission of the programme on BBC One.

Picking up the gritty and dramatic storyline of down-and-out Alistair (Joe McFadden) and his pursuit of paramedic Polly (Sophia di Martino), the eight-minute episode follows Alistair's descent into despair, portraying the seedy underbelly of life on the streets and showing a different view of the harassment storyline.

The webisode is the brainchild of Casualty script editor David Roden who, working in close consultation with actor McFadden, wanted to delve more deeply into the psyche of Alistair and presenter a rawer, grittier view of Casualty than viewers would normally expect to see.

David explains: "I was watching a night shoot for this year's season-opener and thinking what an intriguing, character Alistair was and how it would be great to discover a bit more about him. Then I read the scripts for episodes nine and 10 back to back and it dawned on me that, because they were physically set a week apart, we never actually found out what happened to him between those two episodes. It was clear that there was a huge sea change in his character between them, but it was never shown on screen in the main show. So I pounced on it and it was the most brilliant story to tell."

David worked with McFadden on the script, presented it to the producers and the mini-episode was born. Armed with hand-held cameras, the team filmed "guerrilla-style" in and around Bristol for two days – with not an ambulance or stethoscope in sight!

"The mini-episode feels like a short film, so viewers shouldn't expect it to look like a normal episode of Casualty," says David. "We never venture inside the hospital, or anywhere near an ambulance, but we explore two of our regulars' lives in the most intimate detail. The episode was filmed using hand-held cameras and so feels gritty, raw, and atmospheric. You could call it Casualty-unplugged!"

David is full of praise for McFadden who was involved so closely with the project from start to finish. He says: "We wanted to give our viewers a treat but the best treat of all is watching Joe's sensational performance. The storyline on BBC One is all told from Polly's point of view and we never really get under Alistair's skin. In the mini-episode, Joe is funny, moving and heart-breaking – he even gets you feeling sorry for Alistair. Best of all, he's great to work with and never stopped making us laugh, no matter how dark and intense the script was!"

Producer Rebecca Hedderly adds: "The best thing about this was how involved everyone was. Producing quality drama on a tiny budget requires 110 per cent commitment and that's what we got. We stripped everything back to basics and collaborated on every level. It was a very exciting way to work and definitely a sign of things to come for the future."

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