Casualty star Derek Thompson, who plays Charlie Fairhead, to leave TV show after 37 years

Derek Thompson starred in nearly 900 episodes as Charlie Fairhead, a character inspired by a real nurse, Pete Salt.

By Reemul Balla, News reporter @Reemul_B

Derek Thompson is set to leave medical drama Casualty after 37 years of playing Charlie Fairhead.

The 75-year-old actor featured in the first-ever episode in September 1986 and has remained faithful to the BBC show ever since.

Thompson, who is the longest-serving cast member, said: “The time has come for me to hang up Charlie’s scrubs after the most wonderful 37 years.”

The star will be filming until the autumn and his final scenes will be on TV screens next year in the “culmination of a gripping exit storyline which will see the character front and centre of the action”, according to the BBC.

Derek Thompson has been on the show since it began

He has appeared in nearly 900 episodes as Charlie, a character inspired by a real nurse, Pete Salt.

Thompson said: “Together with the writers and producers, I have tried to bring to Charlie the compassion, kindness, heroism and sound judgement that we all see and love in Pete.

“And I want to say thanks to Pete and everyone else over that time who has inspired me in bringing this character to life.”

Charlie became the “lynchpin of the hospital’s emergency department”, the BBC said.

The character was “central” to the show and key to “countless major storylines which explored challenging and thought-provoking subjects”, the corporation added.

Charlie was shot in the chest by a schizophrenic man in an early episode, run over by an ambulance on his wedding day, suffered a near-fatal cardiac arrest during a gang siege and saw the end of his relationship with fellow nurse Duffy, played by Cathy Shipton.

The ‘lynchpin of the hospital’s emergency department’

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Woven into fabric of British TV history’

Jon Sen, executive producer of Casualty for BBC Studios, said: “Derek and I would often joke that, after such a long and dramatic career in the NHS, there was almost nothing that Charlie hadn’t seen.

“So it was an amazing surprise to me when Derek arrived with a brilliant idea for Charlie’s exit as part of an upcoming storyline, which was too good to pass up. We will all miss Derek enormously.

“Over nearly four decades, Derek has crafted an iconic character who is woven into the fabric of British TV history.”

The actor earned the most in the scripted TV (drama and comedy) category in 2017 – between £350,000-£399,999, according to the BBC’s annual report.

He also starred in another medical drama, Holby City, and police spin-off Holby Blue.

The BBC said details of Thompson’s final Casualty storyline will be revealed “in due course”.

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