BBC Casualty fans blindsided as Charlie Fairhead swaps Holby for new role after exit

BBC Casualty fans were left utterly gobsmacked this week as they caught a glimpse of Charlie Fairhead, played by Derek Thompson, taking on a fresh role following his emotional exit from the long-running medical drama earlier this year.

The veteran actor, who has become synonymous with his character in Casualty, made a surprise appearance in the Belfast-based series Blue Lights, causing quite the buzz among fans during its second episode. Viewers couldn't help but express their shock and delight after witnessing Derek's character Robin Graham make a dramatic entrance towards the end of the episode.

One ecstatic fan took to social media to write: "When you see Charlie from Casualty in #BlueLights," adding a meme of Leonardo DiCaprio pointing excitedly from Once Upon a Time in Hollywood for effect.

Derek Thompson landed the role of Robin Graham in Blue Lights
Derek Thompson landed the role of Robin Graham in Blue Lights -Credit:(Image: BBC)

Another fan shared their disbelief, posting: "It's Charlie from Casualty NOT being Charlie from Casualty #bluelights."

Meanwhile, another remarked on the odd sensation of seeing the actor in a new light: "I have watched Derek Thompson as Charlie for so long that it will be strange seeing him in a different role #BlueLights," reports the Mirror.

Before another chimed in: "Episode 2 of #bluelights didn't disappoint. Marching, Dan Gordon, Charlie from Casualty and this classic."

And a further viewer went on to add: "Derek Thompson aka Charlie from #Casualty is playing an absolute blinder in #BlueLights. No mean feat to be one of the most recognisable characters on TV and to switch to a brand new role and make it believable."

Derek Thompson is best known for his role as Charlie Fairhead in Casualty
Derek Thompson is best known for his role as Charlie Fairhead in Casualty -Credit:BBC

Fans of the medical drama were completely blindsided as a familiar face made a surprise appearance on the police drama Blue Lights, just weeks after they had bid a poignant farewell to the beloved charge nurse.

Viewers were delighted to see Derek Thompson, who played the character of head nurse Charlie Fairhead on Casualty for an impressive 38 years, starring in the latest episode of Blue Lights. Thompson's character, Charlie, was a mainstay on Casualty since its inception in 1986, making him the longest-serving cast member.

In a thrilling twist just before his departure from the show, Charlie was stabbed by a patient in the Emergency Department, leaving fans on the edge of their seats wondering if he would survive. Thankfully, to the relief of many, Charlie survived the ordeal and was given a hero's send-off as he left the hospital following his recovery.

Derek first announced his departure from Casualty last May, stating that it was time for him to "The time has come for me to hang up Charlie's scrubs."

He described his final storyline as "some of the best episodes of my career".

Reflecting on the script, Derek shared: "How [Casualty writer] Michelle Lipton wrote these episodes comes across like she's written eight plays, taken from so many points of view," and he voiced his opinion that "I don't think there's another writer who could have done it."