It’s the episode that fans of Charlie and Duffy have been waiting impatiently for! We finally, FINALLY got a result in the Chuffy camp, and might I add, what superbly written scenes they were and knock out performances from Derek Thompson as Charlie and Cath Shipton as Duffy did no harm, either!
Romance was in the air in general in this week’s instalment, Lily (Crystal Yu) being one of the focuses as Alicia (Chelsea Halfpenny) cheekily asked her who her type of man was. Ric Griffin (Hugh Qurashie) was her first answer, which formed a picture in my mind that I felt I could live with. However, upon the arrival of Sebastian Grayling’s (Rik Makarem) father, played by the enigmatic and vastly experienced James Wilby, Lily’s attentions turned towards the bully boy – or certainly that’s who I perceived him to be. He put the fear of God into his Son, giving us and Dylan (Will Beck) a fascinating insight into why Sebastian is the way he is. One favour that Mr Grayling Senior has done for Sebastian, is to put him on an even-ish keel with Dylan, as Dr Keogh can relate to parent hang-ups! An interesting turn of events and it doesn’t look set to end there either. What was also apparent was that Iain (Michael Stevenson) was not appreciative of Alicia’s match making, the poor bloke looked devastated when Lily strutted into Reception looking very fine and blew her mate off for the F1’s Dad.
Meanwhile, the build up to Duffy and Charlie sealing the deal was a fraught road. If we hadn’t already seen the kissy photos, I feel we Chuffy fans may have begun to despair, probably around the time when Peter (Ricky Nixon), Duffy’s Son started to warn old Charlie boy off. Charlie and Duffy started the episode as a pair of wind up merchants, having managed to convince Jacob (Charles Venn) that a rare worm had been extracted from a patient. It was in fact a cola worm, but honestly you two, stop picking on poor Jacob, he’s got enough on his plate without you pair of scamps! It was quite a giggle to see the pair having some fun, though and I could have happily seen more of that before the laughter police entered in the form of Peter and his wife, Tanya (Sophie Austin). Austin is well known from Hollyoaks and I thought she was brilliantly cast in this role. Tanya was due to have a caesarean section the next day but she’s experiencing pain and Duffy is on it, with her Daughter-in-Law getting specialist treatment, a cubicle prepared for her arrival and everything!
Having a Mother-in-Law as a trained midwife is quite an asset. Especially when you happen to get locked inside an ambulance while you’re in the throes of labour because your Mother is a terminally ill alcoholic and she’s decided it’s a good test of your character to lock you in an ambulance and throw away the key. Trudie Goodwin played an outstanding part as Tanya’s estranged mother, Karen, who happens to end up in the same hospital at the same time as her daughter. Most girls would be delighted to see their Mother when their first child’s arrival is imminent, however had she neglected you when you were six years old and consequently become a jail bird? You’d be forgiven for being none too pleased to see her! However, Karen plays a significant part in bringing about the union of Duffy and Charlie, as they come together in super hero fashion and manage to deliver Duffy’s granddaughter. Oh and they also work as a tag team to have the little mite breathing, because all seems like it might be lost for a while there.
So, Duffy spends the day playing with cola worms, followed by a heated discussion with Peter about why they came back to England, via a heart-breaking moment with Charlie when he’s taken her Son’s words seriously and decided that pursuing his friend is off the cards. It’s a good job that thanks to Peter rooting in her handbag (he’d have had a slapped hand for that if he was my Son!) Charlie is reunited with an old photograph which subsequently sets the wheels in motion for a declaration of feelings. Under a moonlit sky with soft music playing? Come on, this is Casualty, it’s obviously going to be in a store cupboard while Duffy has vomit in her hair.
On a serious note, this was a strong episode for more than simply the much awaited romance for two of the show’s favourite characters. This was exceptionally well acted, particularly during the scene where we see Karen bring a cardigan to give to her granddaughter and she bids an emotional farewell to Tanya. I thought, there’s a television acting master class if ever there was one.