Casualty's longest-serving cast member Derek Thompson has described his final ever episodes on the BBC show this Saturday (March 16) as the "best of my career".

After 38 years and nearly 900 episodes playing Charlie Fairhead, Thompson is set to bid an emotional farewell to the BBC One drama series on Saturday.

Last Saturday (March 9) Charlie was brutally stabbed by a patient in a precursor to his final episode this week. 

Derek Thompson talks about his final episodes on Casualty

Thompson's final episode on Saturday will incorporate a flash-back to his first day at the hospital, as he slips in and out of consciousness.

Thompson, talking about his exit storyline, said: "I think my final two episodes are some of the best episodes of my career.

“How Michelle Lipton wrote these episodes, comes across like she’s written eight plays, taken from so many points of view. I don’t think there’s another writer who could have done it.”

Derek Thompson's most memorable moments on Casualty

Reflecting on his 38 years on Casualty, Thompson said the most memorable moment was his first episode in 1986.

He said: “Charlie was in his little yellow Beetle coming over Bristol suspension bridge and winding through the streets of Bristol, ending up at the hospital.

“Charlie gets out of the car in his bomber jacket, hair all over the place … it was like ‘Noddy goes to hospital!’ He looks up at the building, raises a cigarette to his lips and goes ‘let’s do this!’.

“It gave you the notion that these people have a good sense of humour about themselves. It was the first time that everyone could see what was possible with the show. It’s an image that has stayed with me throughout my time on Casualty."

While his favourite guest star on the show was the late Bernard Cribbins.

Thompson added: "The wonderful Bernard Cribbins was one of my heroes.

“I used to love the stuff he did, especially when improvising. I remember how strong he was in the part.

“We had moments when we were standing around on set and just laughing together.”

During his time on the show, his character has been run over by an ambulance on his wedding day, suffered a near-fatal cardiac arrest during a gang siege, and saw the “heart-breaking farewell” of his loving relationship with fellow nurse Duffy (Cathy Shipton).

Thompson said Duffy’s death through vascular dementia in February 2020 was the storyline he felt “most personally attached to as Charlie”.


Derek Thompson reveals next role after Casualty departure

It was recently revealed that the Belfast-born actor will be appearing in the second series of Blue Lights, guest starring as retired police officer Robin Graham whose “past and conscience catch up with him” when trainee solicitor Jen Robinson (Hannah McClean) investigates an old case.

Speaking about his new role, Thompson said: “I was thrilled and excited when I got the invitation to take part in series two.

“I was born in Belfast and was equally excited to travel over to work on the show and pleased to report, having read the scripts, that I’m sure the fans will love the second series every bit as much as the first.”

Casualty will air on BBC One and BBC iPlayer at 9.25pm on Saturday (March 16).