Tragedies of BBC Casualty stars off-screen – early deaths, fatal falls and tragedy

BBC One’s Casualty has seen its fair share of tragic deaths over the more than 37 years it’s been airing, but it seems some of the lives of the cast have been just as dramatic offscreen

Simon MacCorkindale died from bowel cancer, here he is with his wife Susan George
As the world’s longest-running medical drama, Casualty has had its fair share of shocking moments – but a lot was also going on offscreen.

Having been broadcast weekly since 1986, it’s hard to imagine life without the world’s longest-running medical drama. With so many important storylines and themes being explored – from Duffy’s baffle with dementia to Glen being diagnosed with a glioblastoma – it’s a show that continues to grip fans around the UK.

Over the more than 37 years since Casualty began, the staff at the A&E department at the fictional Holby City Hospital have seen their fair share of deaths and tragedies. But it seems the lives of some of the cast have been just as dramatic offscreen, and dogged with terrible tragedies.

From terminal cancer diagnoses to fatal falls and suicides, we take a look at some of the shocking deaths and real life stories behind some of the stars of the beloved hospital soap.

 

“Immensely talented” actress Stephanie Parker, 22, died by suicide just two days after the long-running BBC Wales series Belonging had come to an end. The Brighton-born actress had played Stacey in the award-winning drama since she was 15.

At the time, an inquest heard that she had been suffering from depression, which started after she was bullied at school. Her mum Fiona told Aberdare Coroner’s Court at the time: “She was a Jekyll and Hyde character who was perfectly fine sometimes but in a rage when she didn’t take her medication. She would get really angry. She wouldn’t listen to anyone and was completely irrational. You couldn’t talk to her nor reason with her. She would completely close down.”

According to the mum, Stephanie, who also appeared on Casualty, was doing acting as a “part-time profession” after trying to “hold down office jobs” which she left “within a few weeks because she got bored easily”.

After her untimely death, Clare Hudson, BBC Wales’ head of English language programmes, said: “Everyone at BBC Wales – especially all those who worked on Belonging – is extremely saddened at the news of Stephanie’s tragic death. Stephanie was an immensely talented actor who, as Stacey, played a central role role in Belonging since she was 15 as well as appearing in other BBC productions such as Casualty.”

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Simon MacCorkindale
Simon MacCorkindale kept his diagnosis a secret for several years

Simon MacCorkindale landed the biggest TV role of his career with Casualty in 2002, but he left the show in 2009 and instead returned to the West End state to play Captain Von Trap in The Sound of Music. The Ely-born actor was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2006 after complaining of stomach cramps while filming Casualty in Bristol but didn’t share the news until he left the medical drama, where he played Dr Harry Harper.

His surgeons removed a 2ft diseased section of his bowel and initially expected him to make a full recovery, however, a year after being diagnosed he was told the devastating news that it was terminal, and had spread to his lungs. Simon and his wife still didn’t want to share the news with the public. In an interview, Simon explained: “I didn’t want to make a fuss. We are very private people and wanted to deal with it on our own.”

He passed away aged 58 on October 14, 2010, after a four-year battle with the disease. Paying tribute to her husband, his wife, actress Susan George, said: “No one could have fought this disease any harder than he did since being diagnosed four years ago. He fought it with such strength, courage and belief. Last night, he lost this battle, and he died peacefully in my arms.”

 

Rebekah Gibbs, who played paramedic Nina Farr for more than 100 episodes between 2004 and 2006, passed away aged 41 on November 11, 2014, after batting breast cancer for six years. The actress was only 34 and heavily pregnant with her daughter, Gigi, when she first discovered a lump in her breast in January 2008.

Doctors initially told her there was nothing to worry about, but just 10 weeks after giving birth she was eventually diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. At the time she wrote about her experience in her weekly column for The Mirror: “The nightmare had begun. After a week and a half of being prodded and poked, I’d been given the most horrendous news. At the age of 35, I had an aggressive form of breast cancer: grade three.

“Instead of enjoying those first few months with Gigi, her first gurgle, giggle or smile, I would be enduring a lumpectomy, chemo and radiotherapy, and staring my mortality in the face. Life had never seemed bleaker.”

The Torquay-born actress, who also starred in The Bill, said she was “really content” to reach five years cancer-free in April 2013 after chemotherapy and radiotherapy, but in August that same year, she sadly had a seizure while on holiday in Devon. She was rushed to hospital and later diagnosed with two brain tumours, as well as one in her neck and a lesion on her lung.Có thể là hình ảnh về 5 người và văn bản

Christopher Rozycki
Polish actor Christopher Rozycki was part of the original cast of Casualty from 1986, playing hospital porter Kuba Trzincski for the first three series. One of his particularly memorable episodes was when he was the hero of the hour after figuring out there’d been a gas leak after noticing a patient’s burns had a garlic-like scent.

Christopher had a lengthy TV career, including roles in Sleepers and The Bill. He also famously starred opposite Alan Rickman in the 1990s movie Truly Madly Deeply. One of his last roles was to be in the fifth series of Downton Abbey, where he played Nikolai Rostov.

Having enjoyed a successful TV career, Christopher tragically lost his life at the age of 71 on April 10, 2015, when he had an accidental fall in Bath, Somerset. He was survived by his wife, actress and agent Joanna Hole and his four children.

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