Could the tables be turning in Casualty? George Rainsford reveals a possible power shift when Connie becomes ill...

Bad news is on the way for Casualty main character Connie Beauchamp, who learns this week that, contrary to the public persona Connie cultivates, she has a heart – but sadly it’s not in good health!

As poor Connie attempts to digest the news of her ill health, she doesn’t even turn to her closest confidant, Charlie Fairhead. However, we can reveal Connie eventually opens up to young doctor Ethan Hardy (George Rainsford) who she’s been helping overcome his grief after his brother Cal’s murder and the death of Cal’s killer Scott Ellisson.

Here, George Rainsford tells What’s on TV how doctor Ethan Hardy is going to become a rock for Connie Beauchamp, Casualty’s proud yet vulnerable clinical lead. But the trouble with being a rock for someone like Connie is it’s a hard place to be…

If Ethan thinks his dark days are over, he’s got another thing coming…

There’s been a brilliant reaction to Connie Beauchamp recently taking struggling doctor Ethan Hardy under her wing. How would you describe their relationship?

“It’s tough love. Amanda Mealing and I have been filming a lot together. This is the beginning of quite a big shared story. I can’t give too much away about Amanda’s stuff but they both carry the burden of a secret and find solace in each other. They are able to help each other, and use each other as well…”

Do you think Ethan – who’s carrying the burden of Scott Ellisson’s death – responds well to Connie’s tough love approach?

“Mrs Beauchamp is quite a difficult person to get to know. Even though she can be caring, she does it in a different way. I think she tries to be hard on Ethan in order to snap him out of his emotions. And, actually, initially that does work but it’s not a problem that goes away too quickly!”

How would you describe the relationship between Ethan and Connie? Is it a friendship? A co-dependency? Romantic?

“I think it starts as a co-dependency and for Ethan it develops into a friendship. He’s always been intimidated by Connie so it’s really nice to see a different side to that relationship, to scratch the surface. It’s also brilliant to work with Amanda because she’s so good!”

Fragile Connie to become vulnerable and lonely in a way she’s never known before?

Amanda Mealing has told us Connie’s unwell and Ethan is a big part of this storyline. What can you reveal?

“Yes that’s right [about Connie being ill] and because it’s Connie she tries to crack on with work and not tell anybody. Ethan will be the only person who knows anything about it and may end up having to be tough on her at times to help see her through it.”

We can’t imagine Ethan being tough on Connie!

“It’s been good, it mixes up the power. It’s not just Ethan taking Connie’s stick.”

Does it feel like there’s a different tone this series?

“It’s certainly different for me. You naturally fall into groups with stories and I’ve never been in Connie’s group so it’s been really enjoyable for Ethan to have a very different relationship at work with his boss. We have lots of scenes in Connie’s office working through problems.”

It’s a whole new side to Ethan in some ways?

“I think it’s a real development of the character. Ethan goes from someone who’s still quite boyish and insecure to, hopefully, someone more grown up. We’re not there yet but hopefully that’s where it’s going.”

Connie gets her heartbreaking diagnosis in Casualty on Saturday at 8.50pm on BBC1