Casualty exclusive: Barney Walsh on huge ‘changes’ looming for Cam Mickelthwaite

Casualty exclusive: Barney Walsh on huge ‘changes’ looming for Cam Mickelthwaite
Casualty actor Barney Walsh admits he wouldn’t have predicted the path his Holby character, nurse Cameron ‘Cam’ Mickelthwaite, is about to be propelled on, as the BBC medical drama’s latest 12-episode story, Storm Damage, gets under way.

“Cam has been on the show now for over a year and it’s very clear the kind of person he is – shy, timid and very afraid to get things wrong,” shares the actor and presenter, as he joins What to Watch for an exclusive interview.

“In the storyline that’s about to come out, I’ve been able to delve deep, figure out the reasons why he’s built that way, and why he’s so scared. I’d no idea that he was going to be taken in this direction!”

It’s an intriguing and tantalising development for the under confident medic who’s struggled to find his feet in Holby’s hectic ED environment since his introduction in April 2023.

In Storm Damage’s first instalment, Sinking Ships – Day 1 (airing on BBC2 due to Euro 2024 coverage on BBC1), viewers will see Cam struggling to get to work during a prophetic red weather warning. But once he does, he’s forced to wade through his toughest shift yet, as he faces a series of harrowing, high-pressure situations involving an injured infant and her distraught mother, coupled with the looming arrival of a figure from his past at the hospital.

Here Barney, 26, tells us more about this dark and stormy chapter for Cam…

Casualty exclusive with Barney Walsh

How do you feel about Cam being under the spotlight in Storm Damage?

“It’s really exciting. So far, there’s been a lot of light relief with Cam – either he’s losing blood results or getting yelled at, he even lost a dead body in his first episode! To lead one of the storylines in the new box set and to explore the reasons why he’s like this, is an absolute honour for me.” 

Where do we find him at the start of the new 12-parter?

“Storm Damage is aptly named, as it opens with Cam and [his boss, clinical nurse manager and newly appointed clinical lead] Siobhan McKenzie [played by Melanie Hill] caught in the middle of a storm on their way to work. There’s a very unfortunate freak accident involving a baby called Chloe and they have to rush her to the hospital, where it’s very touch and go.” 

Despite everyone’s best efforts, the team is sadly unable to save Chloe. How is Cam affected by the tragedy?

“It affects everyone in the ED, but especially Cam, as he’s never had to deal with an infant death before. During all this turmoil a familiar face that he hasn’t seen for a long time turns up at the hospital.” 
Ngozi and Cam are distraught after the death of a baby in the ED.
Barney with co-star Adesuwa Oni (nurse Ngozi Okoye) in the aftermath of a tragic infant death in Holby ED.  (Image credit: BBC Studios)

We can reveal that this new character is called Jamie Cleveland, an appointment on the Holby City Hospital board, who is played by ex-Emmerdale star Ryan Hawley. Can you tell us any more about him?

“Jamie is someone who was a kind-of mentor to Cam growing up, and it’s very interesting for Cam to see him again. We will allude to Cam’s past and explore the reasons why he’s such a timid character, as well as his struggles as a [newly-qualified] Band 5 Nurse. It’s a gruelling and taxing job, and you have to be a strong person to face death and destruction every day and still have a smile on your face.” 

It sounds like he may question his career during this chapter?

“It’s interesting you should say that because, in this week’s first Storm Damage episode, Cam comes in more confident and asks Siobhan if he’s ready to step up. By the end of the shift, however, so much has happened in that short space of time that he questions whether he’s good enough and strong enough.” 

Do you think being forced to confront his painful past will lead to changes in Cam?

“I don’t know how much I’m allowed to say on that, but there will be a physical change to Cam. It’s really exciting to learn more about him and to be able to explore all the ways in which he ticks. It’s been a very exciting few months of filming, too, and I’m over the moon for people to see it.” 
First look: Ryan Hawley as Jamie Cleveland in Casualty.
Ryan Hawley as Jamie Cleveland in Casualty.  (Image credit: BBC Studios)

Will anyone be there for Cam as he grapples with deeply buried secrets?

“Yes, Siobhan starts to become a mother figure for him. She also becomes the one person that he can lean on and confide in. Without spoiling too much, having Siobhan by his side through this journey of self-discovery, and how the trials and tribulations of one’s past can affect someone’s psyche, is a real game-changer for him.” 

Have you enjoyed working closely with Melanie on this storyline?

“She’s an incredible actor and a joy to be on set with. We talk through our lines and share our thoughts on different moments in the script, which is fun. Siobhan’s a brilliantly written character who straddles the tricky, fine line between friend and boss, and Mel plays it brilliantly!” 

How did you find filming the storm scenes?

“I had a really great day outside with loads of rain and wind machines! It’s pretty cool to be part of because, playing a nurse, I’m in the studio most days. One of the tricks during filming was that they had to throw leaves in the air in front of the wind blowers, and it was so funny. When you’re watching the show you don’t think there is someone behind the camera with a handful of leaves!” 

What have been your favourite storylines to work on to date?

“The ones that are coming up in Storm Damage, and it was also special being involved in Casualty legend Charlie Fairhead’s exit story. There was a real fear when the news came out that Derek Thompson was leaving about whether Charlie would die or not, so to be part of saving his life was a really cool moment!” 
Anna Chell as nurse Jodie Whyte.
Just good friends. Anna Chell, who plays nurse Jodie Whyte.  (Image credit: BBC Studios)

Is Cam’s unrequited love for co-worker Jodie Whyte (Anna Chell) due to wither in light of upcoming events?

“For Cam that ship has sailed and with what’s about to happen to him, there’s not much room for romance in his life…” 

How have you found balancing your Casualty commitments with co-hosting BBC1 game show Gladiators with your dad, Bradley Walsh?

“It’s a slight challenge, but the beauty of Gladiators is that we film it quite quickly, pretty much an episode a day for as many days as required, and then it’s in the can. I’m so grateful to be able to do that while telling these Casualty stories because, growing up, acting is all I wanted to do. Going from audition to audition to audition to finally getting the call for Casualty, it’s a dream come true. I love my other jobs and we’re very excited for Series 2 of Gladiators, but this one will always be in my heart because of that.” 

Finally, we hear there might be a sixth series of hit ITV travelogue Breaking Dad on the horizon, this time filmed in Asia. Can you comment?

All I can say is: “Stay tuned. More to come soon!” 
Barney with his dad, Bradley, on Gladiators.
Barney with his dad Bradley on Gladiators. (Image credit: BBC / James Stack / © Hungry Bear Media Ltd)

Casualty moves to BBC2 as new 12-part chapter Storm Damage gets underway with opening episode Sinking Ships – Day 1 on  Saturday, 15 June, 2024 at 8.20pm on BBC2.

The latest updates, reviews and unmissable series to watch and more!

 

 

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