BBC Casualty bosses hope Barney Walsh will be Charlie’s replacement

Casualty bosses are said to be hoping Barney Walsh will be the perfect replacement as the lead nurse following Derek Thompson’s departure. The 26-year-old actor joined the cast in 2023 as nurse Cameron Mickelthwaite, reports the Mirror.

The character of Cameron had a difficult time adjusting to a busy emergency department and has been cemented as one of the more major stars of the show. Fans were left devastated on Saturday night after Derek’s longtime character Charlie Fairhead finally left the ward after almost four decades.

Derek had been a major star on the popular soap since it began back in 1986 and viewers were left in fear that he would end up dying after being stabbed by a drug dealer in last weeks episode. Thankfully, help was on hand and Charlie survived to which he promptly retired from the job.

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This news followed claims Derek’s exit was sealed as his salary was too high for the show to justify it – after reports he earned between £349,999 and £399,999 annually.

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It has since been claimed that Barney will help fill the missing piece left by Derek as Cameron will be given better and bigger story lines. BBC bosses are said to believe that the star can help pull the attention of younger viewers.

A BBC insider told the Daily Mail: “Charlie was a bit of a rubbish nurse when he first arrived, as is Cam, which is why this makes it all such a lovely idea from the bosses. They think that turning Cam into the ‘face of the nurses’ in lieu of Charlie is a no-brainer. His popularity has soared so much since Gladiators so it would mean he would be given bigger storylines and he would be used more, to stop anyone else grabbing him.”

Barney – son of The Chase star Bradley Walsh and his wife Donna Derby – also hosts the rebooted Gladiators show alongside his dad. Barney studied performing arts at London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama and began his TV career with roles in shows like Law and Order: UK, Death in Paradise and Doctors.

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Derek has admitted his exit from Casualty has marked the end of an era as he confessed he felt “heightened emotions” while filming the final episode. He revealed: “Charlie gets it wrong, and makes a mistake that he pays a dreadful price for. Last weekend, the patient was in a mess, and Charlie tried not to lose his temper, but he ended up getting on the wrong side of the man. As everyone saw, it ended with him being stabbed.”

He added: “I don’t want to spoil it by saying whether or not he survives, but everything felt heightened when I filmed my last scenes. It felt like one of those big emotional moments in your life, like the birth of a child or your wedding.”

 

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The incident came as part of a storyline that Derek hopes will highlight the growing amount of violence against NHS staff. He said: “I have utter respect for NHS staff.”

Derek told OK! Magazine: “This final story really does create a realism, which will poke people in the eye and say, ‘This really is painful for these people, and yet they struggle on.”

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