Series: Casualty

Casualty is a British hospital drama which airs on BBC One on Saturday evenings. Consisting of a mixture of Medical Drama and Soap Opera, the show debuted in 1986, making it the longest running Medical Drama in the world.

Set in Holby General Hospital, the show follows the character development and personal lives of the staff which work there. Coming in at a whopping 29 seasons, the cast is wide, varied and constantly changing, not to mention the numerous Patients of the Week. Incidentally, Casualty has gained a reputation in recent years, similar to that of The Bill, for featuring many well-known British actors, and launching the career of others.

Holby City, a spin-off, was spawned in 1999 and follows the lives of those working on the surgical wards.


This show provides examples of:

  • Aborted Arc: Near the end of series 27, an abusive mother proved her "innocence" with an obviously faked video and was allowed to have her son back. A few episodes into series 28 and there's still no conclusion to this.
  • Accidental Murder: Lara hits a policeman over the head with a brick because he tried to rape her.
  • Action Girl: Lara, who had worked in a war zone before arriving at Holby. Kudos to the writers for a getting a Tomb Raider joke in while the time was right.
    • Sam, who was a British Army doctor serving in the ED while on leave from active duty. When given the opportunity to go back to Afghanistan, she reluctantly declines.
  • Adminisphere: Nathan is an Adminisphere unto himself, so much so that he makes all the other members of management look wonderful by comparison.
  • Aesop Amnesia: No one seems to realise that getting too emotionally involved with patients or even just your co-workers never ends well. Much exploited for the Rule of Drama but may be partially justified since there is an element of Truth in Television and usually (but not always) happens to younger characters who haven't been around long enough to know better. Lampshaded by the episode ''You Can't Take Them All Home with You". Although it doesn't help that characters such as Duffy or Maggie who get called out for being co-dependent on their work life and the emotional problems of others are portrayed as being better adjusted than most of their colleagues despite all of their personal mishaps.
  • All Lesbians Want Kids: Nearly subverted by a couple where one of them is eager to adopt a difficult young boy while the other isn't quite as keen but comes around to being a parent in the end.
    • Subverted in the case of Dixie.
  • Alpha Bitch: May Phelps, played by Laura Aikman, to a degree. Perhaps more than Madeline Zima's character on Heroes.
  • Anyone Can Die: Doesn't happen that often compared to shows like 24 (once a series/year, on average) but it has happened to lots of likeable characters and audience favourites and, as yet, they've all stayed dead.
  • Artistic License Geography: Although called Holby City and the town is called Holby, -by does not appear in any place-names around Bristol. -by is from Old Norse by village, and is only found in Northern England and Scotland, so by default it should really be Holton', with the last element being Old English tun village. Holby (or Holton as it should be) would mean either "village by the wood" from Old English holt "wood" or "village by the hollows", from Old English holh "hollow" and the endings mentioned above.
  • Ascended Extra: Kath - given that she's nearly always in scenes where Yuki and Lenny appear. Provides Shipping material for fans...
    • Claire, Ken, Tasha - all extras (playing various hospital staff), who get to speak very rarely, but get mentioned by name.
    • The first two mainly appear in scenes where Ruth and Jay are present.
  • Attempted Rape: Lara.
  • Awesome McCoolname: Lara Stone.
    • Ramona Waters.
  • The Baby Trap: Harry accuses Ellen of this, to the point of inducing his own Shotgun Engagement. Turns out it was tumor.
  • Betty and Veronica: Harry and Selena seemed to have quite a few of these orbiting around them. First there was Beth as Harry's Betty to Selena's Veronica - although Lara could have also been considered another Betty if you add her to the equation - until Beth was killed and Selena left. She then returned having Harry play Betty to her Jerk Ass Veronica husband, Will. This then changed to Ellen being a younger Veronica to Selena being the older, more cynical Betty, until Ellen's death. Finally, Selena gets another Jerk Ass Veronica in the shape of Nathan, with Harry as Betty once more up until her becoming the victim of acute lead poisoning. Would be Love Dodecahedron if it weren't for the fact that these triangles went one at a time.
  • Bit Character: Claire, Karen, Tasha, Ken - all extras (playing various hospital staff), who get to speak very rarely, but get mentioned by name.
    • And Kath / Cath as well, see the Ms. Fanservice section below.
    • The first two mainly appear in scenes where Ruth and Jay are present.
  • Bleached Underpants: Taken literally in some cases.
  • Bouquet Toss: A bride chucks hers at her erstwhile husband and Lara manages to catch it, after which Anna starts squeeing that she'll be next. She is. Well, sort of.
  • Bowdlerisation: Watch tends to cut out the stuff that's too hot for daytime tv with the reruns. Resulted in a bit of a problem for To Love You So - but the missing bits from that episode can be seen here, here and here.
  • British Brevity: Averted. The shortest ever season of Casualty was season 3, with only 10 episodes (the first two had 15 each). Since then, the episode count per season has been rising more often than not, and now tops out at season 24 containing 49 weekly episodes. Some want it to go all-year 'round, but this hasn't happened...yet.
  • Broken Aesop: Ryan taking off with all of Duffy's money in Hitting Home shows that a relationships can be financially abusive in addition to or opposed to physically. Her later taking him back breaks this episode's moral that still loving an abusive partner or even just trying to hold on too hard to any happy memories will never undo the abuse. It also brings up the rather Family-Unfriendly Aesop that you can buy a person's forgiveness and can also expect them to go to the other side of the world.
  • Bus Crash: Baz.
  • Butt Monkey: Kath (the highly-popular blonde nurse, Staff Nurse Waters and Wayne (all of who never speak.)
  • Captain Ersatz / Expy: Has inspired shows like Scrubs , Private Practice to create expies of their characters! Well, Kath, Staff Nurse Waters and Wayne anyway...
    • That said, if Dylan Keogh in Series 25 had a cane, he'd be the bloated clone of a certain ornery eccentric American doctor. (He even has the stubble down! The hell?)
  • Cast Herd: Averted rather well for a show that takes place in pretty hierarchical setting.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Played with. Each episode will feature several obvious ones, but some or all are liable to be red herrings.
  • Childhood Marriage Promise: Duffy said that she would marry Charlie if he hadn't found the perfect woman by the time he was sixty.
  • Christianity Is Catholic: Subverted:
    Nikki: Are you religious?
    Comfort: No, I'm a Catholic.
  • Commuting on a Bus / Put on a Bus : Incidental characters (and Ensemble Dark Horse ones too!) Kath, Rhona, Kojo and Jill - all played by extras, depending on what the writer's opinion is like. The trope isn't fully played straight though.
  • Code Silver: Selena's death as this leads to her Taking the Bullet.
  • Dangerous Workplace
  • Deadpan Snarker: Jack, on ocassion. Like when hiding from Rachel.
    Jack: Is she gone?
    Lara: Who?
    Jack: The Old Jill.
  • Death of the Hypotenuse: Subverted Selena outlives two different hypotenuses only to die, leaving Harry and Nathan with no one.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Nadia.
  • Delivery Guy: Charlie helps Duffy deliver her third baby at home. Partially subverted by Charlie being a nurse and the implication that Duffy planned it so that she could avoid going to hospital.
  • Disaster Dominoes: Every second or third episode is based around this idea. In the first episode of 2012 for example, a dog escapes from a back garden, this leads to a major traffic accident taking out 5 or 6 cars, which leads to one man being delayed in stopping a suicide attempt, in trying to save the suicide victim and dealing with the traffic caused by an accident, a gas main is accidentally destroyed causing an explosion which rips apart a housing estate. This in turn causes some nearby chemical drums to burst, creating a huge cloud of Hydrogen chloride, which ends up getting into the drain system causing part of the town to be evacuated. We end up seeing several hundred people affected by various burns and in the following episode it states there were at least 9 deaths. And all this happens on the same morning that the A&E department first reopens after a major fire so all the equipment is new and most of it untested. And this is just one episode.
  • Dramatic Hour Long: About fifty minutes, but sometimes goes up to an hour and rarely any longer. One of the few exceptions to this was the series 24 episode "A Day in a Life", which was nearly two hours long, uninterrupted - although it was originally two separate episodes that had to be cobbled into one owing to scheduling problems.
  • Dr. Jerk: Patrick, but is balanced out by being slightly Troubled, but Cute and the way he behaves towards Holly and, later, Lara.
  • Dying Declaration of Love: Dixie to Cyd in Lie to Me. Plays the Now or Never Kiss straight. Subverts Anguished Declaration of Love because she does it so cheerfully that you know underneath she realises it looks like game over.
  • Dysfunction Junction: In a big way, once you tally up the backstories. If you didn't have a Dark and Troubled Past before you came here, you will when you leave. Lampshaded by a, sadly, removed Youtube Poop crossover with Lee Evans, featuring a group shot of the Series 20/21 cast with the voiceover saying, "You think you've got problems?"
  • Everybody Lives: At one particularly huge RTA, Anna sits down with the incident commander and the two of them realise that, apart from one driver who was DOA, everybody made it to the hospital. This is then kicked to the kerb when Patrick goes into arrest before the credits roll..
  • Expy: An expy of Miley Cyrus repeatedly appears as a background character. But she was Commuting on a Bus from Holby City
    • Also, the (now-infrequent, but not rarely seen) Lady Gaga expy, who never speaks. She dresses conventionally though.
  • Fanservice: Multiple times, namely Alice, bit-characters Claire and Tasha, Zoe, Polly and (to a lesser extent) May Phelps (although it's the actress Laura Aikman, who's considered fanservice, not her character.
    • And for the women, Adam and Yuki, plus Charlie Fairhead to a lesser extent.
    • Plus more recently, Kath, as mentioned below, who for some reason has attracted a fairly popular following.
    • Amy Wren, who appeared as Kelly Oswald in the episode The Enemy Within.
    • More recently, Staff Nurse Waters, a blonde nurse who has a cult following!
  • First Guy Wins: Harry and Selena.
  • Flashback Echo: Lara has a very disturbing one during her trial while the police surgeon recounts her injuries to the jury.
  • Flopsy: On occasion, this trope is Played for Drama.
  • Foreshadowing: Incredibly heavy handed. But they also have a habit of foreshadowing events that don't happen, like you'll see two youths walking precariously along a very high wall, by the end of the episode no-one's fallen off a wall. So it's bit more of a random dartboard working out what the big medical emergency's going to be. But if someone gets into a car it's definitely worth betting that they're going to crash.
    • If they use a motor vehicle that isn't a car the chances of a road accident are pretty much 1:1.
    • One episode of series 21 featured a shark just off the coast, with people in the water. This troper felt almost betrayed when no one became shark food.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Blood and guts notwithstanding, the show has danced around the Watershed through the years, so it has a few of these:
    Lara: There's something sticking in me.
    Patrick:smirks
    Lara: You wish.
  • Ghost Extras: Played straight, but also subverted much of the time too.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Selena, but not before being thought to have averted it. Inverted with Ruth, who ends up only half aborting it and haemorrhaging at a surgeons' dinner.
  • Hello, Nurse!: Lara. Lampshaded by the following exchange:
    Dillon: Don't even bother.
    Jack: What?
    Dillon: Lara - she's not only out of your league, you're playing a different game.
    Jack: You're just worried I'd get ahead before you, son. That's all it is.
    Patrick: Forget it, children. I'm already there.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Josh and Charlie. Graduated to Ho Yay when Josh got Put on a Bus.
  • Hospital Gurney Scene: Every episode but considering the setting, it would be kinda hard to avoid.
  • Hospital Hottie: The characters are considered sexy by the fans, but the sexiness is unintentional on the part of the production team. In fact, they don't emphasise it and they dress fairly ordinary, the women sometimes even have no make-up on (unless they're injured, in which case, it's obvious - make-up for special effects.). Jeff, for some reason is Mr. Fanservice. Same for its Companion Show Holby City. Nurse Jackie takes this Up to Eleven though.
  • The Intern: Lenny.
    • Though Yuki is a classic example of the trope, especially with his discovery of a severed head early on.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Nathan, later on.
  • Lady in Red: Lara. See it here.
  • Lampshade Hanging
  • Lantern Jaw of Justice: Sort of. Charlie imagined growing up to be a doctor with a Granite Jaw of Medicine.
  • Law of Inverse Paternity: Selena finding out that Nathan is the father of her baby and not Harry.
  • Last Girl Wins: By virtue of being a Long Runner this applies for the majority of ships.
  • Last Name Basis / No Name Given: Staff Nurse Waters (a blonde nurse with streaks of purple). First name is never revealed.
  • Living Prop: Claire, Tasha, Karen, Ken - all extras (playing various hospital staff). The first two mainly appear in scenes where Ruth and Jay are present. The first two mainly appear in scenes where Ruth and Jay are present.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Writers are quick to point that staff turnover in ED is actually a lot higher in reality.
  • Long Runner: The longest-running emergency medical drama ever. Take That, ER.
  • Loveable Rogue: Jack.
  • Lower Deck Episode: Expected, in a Long Runner of this nature.
  • A Man Is Not a Virgin: Averted with Guppy for a while.
  • Maternally Challenged: Selena.
  • Meaningful Funeral: The funeral of Paramedic Jeff Collier is a sombre affair attended by a good number of his colleagues, and family members (including his pet dog). His wife almost misses it, due to her deep reluctance to admit that her platonic soulmate is truly dead.
  • Medical Drama
  • Megan Fox: Rumours circle on showbiz blogs of her appearing as a new nurse, yet nothing is confirmed, it's speculation.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Kath, the blonde nurse who appears in a few scenes. Here's a photo of her, for those wanting to see
  • No Communities Were Harmed: though the production has gone through phases of trying to pass it off as a generic Everytown, there's no getting away from it: Holby is Bristol. It's even got the Clifton Suspension Bridge!
  • No Periods, Period: Subverted - no one gets periods, just post-partum haemorrhages that they think are periods.
  • Non-Fatal Explosions: Lampshaded and then averted in a mid-90s season finale; a man comes into the hospital with a bomb strapped to his back, and in a conversation with one of the nurses, mentions that a bomb in a cartoon would leave you "with a charred face and holes in your pants" whereas a real-life bomb is a bit more damaging. It turns out that this bomb is a lot more damaging, as the bomb's detonation at the end of the story almost totally destroys the (thankfully evacuated) hospital, giving the producers an excuse to redesign the sets for the following season.
  • Once per Episode: One of the main characters puking on another or themselves. Very rarely averted.
  • Patient of the Week: The only time the show averted this trope, it won a BAFTA
  • Playing with a Trope: Done to Austin Powers proportions, but maybe not for parody/Lampshade Hanging purposes though.
  • Pregnant Hostage: Inverted and subverted with a pregnant hostage-taker and another character making herself a pregnant hostage.
  • Rape as Drama: Done a few times (as arcs compared to a Patient of the Week plot), but they manage to beat Sturgeon's Law. Happened to Duffy, but in the first series so would now be considered Rape as Backstory. Also to GAWJUS Nurse Tina, proving that even good looking nice girls get raped (actually, to be fair, a rather well done plot line, very well played by Clare Goose)
  • Romantic False Lead: Will Manning.
  • Runaway Bride: Lara.
  • Saving the Orphanage: The department comes under threat of being axed in order to streamline resources more than a few times, and a lobby group was set up during the latest crises. Much helped by Zany Scheme involving a fountain and Sexy Soaked Shirt.
  • Shaggy Dog Story: Adam and Jessica's relationship. Jessica embarks on an affair with Adam (it takes several months for him to even learn that she's married whilst trying to begin a relationship), whilst her own husband, unknown to her, is also having an affair, which is eventually publicly revealed. Jessica breaks off her affair after her son is almost killed in a car crash, and stays with her husband, Sean, for the sake of the marriage. She then discovers that she's pregnant, and doesn't know who the father is, but decides to assume it's Sean's for the sake of the marriage. Sean finds out about the affair, assumes that it's Adam's baby, and abducts their (Jessica and Sean's) two children, taking them to Saudi Arabia. He also sells their house and clears out their bank accounts, effectively leaving Jessica destitute, having to move into a flat on an extremely violent estate. Ultimately, after the baby nearly dies at 7 days old and she admits to Adam it could be his, she kidnaps the children back and discovers that the baby, Harry, is Adam's. She gets engaged to Adam after over 18 months of will-they-won't-they. However, the relationship comes under pressure almost immediately: on his first day as head of the department, Adam witnesses a junior doctor die right in front of him, when she's crushed by a falling lift in a burning department store he sent her into. Just when it seems like he's managed to find a balance between his work and his family, Sean returns, and the whole relationship is briefly destabilised again as he tries (but fails) to break them up. Finally, their wedding day arrives, but before the marriage is made official, they are called back to the hospital to help with a minibus crash. Whilst the whole family is driving back to the wedding venue to complete the ceremony, Adam has to swerve to avoid a car, brakes too hard, and flies onto a frozen lake. Adam, Jessica and Harry are all submerged (the other two children get out fine), and back at the hospital, he has a meltdown in resus as he tries to operate on Jessica and Harry despite being in no fit state to do so. He then has to plea the only man capable of carrying out Jessica's life-saving surgery to do so, despite said man (Nick Jordan) no longer being in a fit state to work. The operation is carried out successfully, and just when it seems like things are finally going right, baby Harry dies before Jessica has come round from the operation. This storyline has thus far taken two years to get to this point, and if anything it's become worse and worse for the couple with very few patches of happiness.
  • Satellite Love Interest: The aforementioned Jessica Harrison, who was introduced solely to be Adam's love interest and spent over two years in the show serving no other purpose than to be his love interest.
  • Shout-Out: A rather nice one to Spartacus in one episode, except the dispute is over who dropped a sharp.
    • Also to Thunderbirds: Comfort became a paramedic because, as a kid, she wanted to be a member of International Rescue, since they were heroes because they saved people rather than killed them.
    • Also to Pulp Fiction, where Comfort and Nikki are seen sitting in the ambulance eating "Big Sahuna Burgers".
  • Shower of Angst: Averted - when a female patient expresses a desire to take one of these it sets the staff's outcry senses atingling.
  • Shown Their Work: They have medical consultants on the team, to ensure authenticity. That's if you read the end credits.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Selena.
  • Sixth Ranger: Kath, if the fans get their way. This is the nurse who is the Ensemble Dark Horse, for those not in the know.
  • Sliding Scale of Shiny Versus Gritty: Gets a lot of flack from people in the NHS for glamorising A&E and medicine in general, although it isn't actually that shiny, even going so far as to very occasionally sacrifice drama for a sideplot to show that there are still a lot of mundane tribulations involved in the job. It's pretty close to the gritty end with out being outright grey - uses a lot of blocks of watery greens, blues and formica-type colours and almost never any warm ones, although it is getting grittier in some places and shinier in others as time goes by.
  • Sliding Scale of Silliness Versus Seriousness: Generally serious as a rule, usually taking a big but brief swing towards the other end every so often in the interests of contrast, which usually works well.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Lara and Patrick, but with towel-snapping. The rest of the time it's The Masochism Tango all the way.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Hell, Lara could make council tax look cool.
  • Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome: Louis Fairhead.
  • Something Completely Different: Recent series have been prone to the occasional episode that breaks from the norm, typically focusing on a single plot line in a very odd way.
    • Series 29 has several; The Road Not Taken features Zoe reliving the same day three times to stop patients dying. Exile is set almost entirely in Bucharest and has Charlie and Connie clashing with a gang to try and stop Louis selling his kidney. Holby Sin City features a noir-like plot where Ethan discovers a murder, heavily lampshaded by Ethan struggling to remember the term Femme Fatale throughout the episode, only remembering after they've reported the fake-suicide murder.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Have a Nice Day by the Stereophonics plays at the start of episode where Lara goes back to work after being released from prison.
  • Spaghetti Kiss: Lara and Patrick, but with the last prawn.
  • Spear Carrier: Claire, Karen, Ken, Tasha - all extras (playing various hospital staff). The first two mainly appear in scenes where Ruth and Jay are present.
    • Also, Kath as well. Who hasn't been getting any roles lately, much to fans' chagrin.
  • Spin-Off: Holby City (set on the wards of the same hospital), Holby Blue (a police drama in the same city) and Casualty 1906 (a historical Docu Drama).
  • Someone To Remember Her By: Angel.
  • Those Two Guys: Jeff and Dixie, the ambulance paramedics.
    • Big Mac and Noel.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Many characters are introduced in the Cold Open with a confident statement along the lines of "Of course I know how to operate a chainsaw!"
  • Trash the Set: Holby City Emergency Department has been destroyed several times.
    • The most recent of these was a fire, used to accommodate the show's move from Bristol to Cardiff. While the new set in Cardiff still retained the general shape and layout of the Bristol set, it is obviously quite different - both outside and in.
  • True Companions: One with a pretty high mortality rate, but it still qualifies.
  • The Voiceless: Kath, Kojo, Ken, Claire, Tasha.
  • Wacky Marriage Proposal: Subverted by Patrick's numerous idiosyncratic attempts to propose to Lara failing, only to succeed when he does it the normal way.
  • Western Terrorists: An episode which would have centered around a Muslim suicide bomber was rewritten with animal rights extremists as the perpetrators.
  • Why Couldn't You Save Them?: In the episode where Jeff Collier dies, the staff of the ED and the paramedics waiting at the entrance know there was an explosion at the crash site with some of their colleagues involved. When Dixie returns with a single patient and two other paramedics, when ambulances are double-crewed, Tamzin demands to know why Dixie didn't bring Jeff back.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Holly and Patrick. They won't, thanks to bungled contracts.
  • Worst Aid: the show is often used as a public information film to demonstrate best practice in first aid. It also demonstrates the catastrophic consequences of getting it wrong, or using out-of-date or wrong first aid moves; as when an out-of-practice elderly retired doctor removed the crash helmet from a motorcycle casualty - thus removing the support preventing a broken neck from collapsing completely.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: When Duffy mentions that her kids are settled in boarding school in Singapore, Paul, her youngest, is between five and six - even if the school billeted him with a host family, it's still highly unusual for a child as young as that to go to boarding school full time (most take them from nine and up). Also, Peter would be 18, which would mean he'd probably would have finished school and could have stayed at home if he wanted.