BBC Casualty bosses ‘hopeful’ as Gladiators host Barney Walsh tipped to replace Derek Thompson

BBC Casualty bosses are rumoured to be eyeing Gladiators host Barney Walsh to replace actor Derek Thompson, who recently left the show. Walsh, 26, joined the drama series last year as nurse Cameron Mickelthwaite, a character who has had difficulty adapting to the fast-paced environment of the accident and emergency department.

Fans were saddened when Thompson, who played the popuar Charlie Fairhead, left the A&E department after nearly 40 years. Thompson had been a staple on the drama since its debut in 1986. The finale saw his character survive a drug dealer’s stabbing attack and retire swiftly.

This came following reports suggesting that the actor’s high salary, said to range between £349,999 and £399,999 annually, was too much to justify, reports the Mirror. Rumours now circulate that Walsh could fill Thompson’s role with larger storylines for his character, Cameron. BBC chiefs reportedly think Walsh could help draw in younger viewers.

A source from the BBC 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 Walsh, son of Bradley Walsh and his wife Donna Derby, co-hosts the new Gladiators show with his dad. Barney studied performing arts at London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama and has been in TV shows like Doctors, Death in Paradise, and Law and Order: UK.

Derek Thompson shared that leaving Casualty was a big change for him. He said he felt very emotional filming his last scenes, explaining: “Charlie gets it wrong, and makes a mistake that he pays a dreadful price for.

Charlie,Charlie Fairhead (DEREK THOMPSONCharlie,Charlie Fairhead (DEREK THOMPSON

“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.”

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

He hopes his final storyline will show how tough things are for NHS staff. “I have utter respect for NHS staff,” he commented.

“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’”, Derek told OK! Magazine.

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