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Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

Programme Information

Network TV BBC Week 36
Casualty Feature

Casualty celebrates 25 years

The cast of Casualty celebrate 25 years

Casualty

Saturday 3 September BBC ONE

This week, the world's longest-running prime-time medical series, Casualty, celebrates 25 years of ground-breaking, blood-spurting, gut-wrenching drama from the heart of the emergency department of Holby City Hospital.

Here are 25 Casualty facts:

1. The first episode of Casualty was transmitted on 6 September 1986.

2. The first episode of Casualty was entitled Gas. In the episode the ED had to deal with an influx of patients with similar burn wounds and a threat to the night-shift routine from management.

3. As of 6 September 2011, there will have been 785 episodes of Casualty.

4. The first episode of Casualty starred favourites Brenda Fricker, Cathy Shipton and Derek Thompson. The only original cast member, Derek, who plays Charlie, is still an integral member of the Casualty team today.

5. The character of Charlie was based on a young charge nurse at the Bristol Royal Infirmary called Peter Salt. Peter is still Casualty's nursing advisor today and has advised on every single episode.

6. Oscar winners who have appeared in Casualty include Brenda Fricker, Kate Winslet and Pete Postlethwaite.

7. The Casualty studio in Bristol sports a tall net over its roof to prevent seagulls from landing. The local gull population is high, and filming sometimes has to be stopped because of their piercing cries.

8. Casualty uses around two pints of fake blood per episode.

9. Casualty's make-up artists use 15 different types of blood, including edible. Edible blood comes in a range of flavours including mint choc chip and blueberry!

10. Casualty's fake vomit is made from varying combinations of rice pudding, apricots, cocoa powder, apple juice, fruit salad and packet soup.

11. The Casualty make-up and costume teams pride themselves on the authenticity of their work. A director once threw a tramp off set only to discover he was one of the cast!

12. The original opening and closing credits of Casualty showed a continuous shot of medics taking a patient from an ambulance through the emergency department to resus. They were filmed at Bristol Royal Infirmary and featured medical advisors Pete Salt (a nurse) and Clive Haddrell (a paramedic), who are still with the show today.

13. To date, Casualty has killed off 20 of its regular characters, including Megan Roach (Brenda Fricker), Finlay Newton (Kwame Kwei-Armah), Barbara "Baz" Hayes (Julia Watson) and Jack Vincent (Will Mellor).

14. The character of Charlie (Derek Thompson) has been on the brink of death several times. As well as being menaced repeatedly in the ED, he's been: shot in the chest by Kenneth Cranham (series 5); hit by an ambulance on his wedding day (series 12); suffered a heart attack (series 14); nearly drowned by a colleague (series 19); and had a pulmonary embolus (series 24).

15. Casualty has won six awards including a Bafta for best continuing drama in 2007.

16. Around 1,680 guest artists are auditioned for each series of Casualty. Around 336 guest artists are cast in each series.

17. Guest stars who have appeared in Casualty include: Orlando Bloom, Ray Winstone, Johnny Lee Miller, Stephanie Beacham, Christopher Ecclestone, Helen Baxendale, Amanda Redman, Lord Lichfield, Scott Mills and McFly.

18. Casualty's sound editors have a library of almost 100,000 sounds but sometimes they need to enhance a sound or create something unique. Common sounds are heads bashing (dropping a cabbage on concrete), stabbing (using a knife and a melon) and breaking bones (snapping celery).

19. There are 25 babies and children in Casualty's prosthetics store – from premature babies to six year olds – in a range of different skin tones.

20. Body parts are made primarily from silicone and are created using a cast from an actor. More unusual body parts made have included a tongue and a bottom!

21. Paul "Oscar" Anderson is possibly the longest-serving extra on TV, having appeared in almost every episode of Casualty since the start. He's played a doctor, a nurse, patients and even had a speaking part in 1996. But he is most familiar to viewers as porter Oscar.

22. Casualty's make-up artists create pus from a combination of hair conditioner and yellow colouring. It reportedly has a very pleasant smell.

23. Brain matter is created from cotton wool, gel and blood.

24. The lifespan of a Casualty episode – from the original story planning to its transmission on BBC One – is nine months.

25. In addition to spending time in real hospitals, new cast members are trained to do basic medical procedures, such as suturing, holding and manipulating instruments, putting stethoscopes in ears and handling needles so they don't shoot drugs into the air. One of advisor Pete Salt's best ever pupils was Jonathan Kerrigan (Sam Colloby).

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