Cathy Shipton returns as original Casualty nurse Lisa ‘Duffy’ Duffin and reveals her return hasn’t all been plain sailing, while Duffy is hiding something personally painful...

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The news is out – Duffy’s returning to Casualty! We catch up with Cathy Shipton, one of the original stars of the BBC1 medical drama, who is returning to the show after a 13-year absence…

What’s the occasion?
“I’m back for Casualty’s 1000th episode! I can’t believe it especially as, in the early days, they said we’d be given our marching orders in series two! It was a no-brainer for me to come back, because I love the show, and it’s a strong, exciting team to work with.”

Were you surprised by the public reaction to your return?
“It has taken me a bit by surprise, but it’s been great and really positive. When I was last on the show full-time, social media didn’t have the hold it does now. When the news broke my phone was like a red-hot poker!”

What can you reveal about Duffy’s shock reappearance in the ED this week?
“When I came back last year for the start of the 30th series it was established Duffy’s now a midwife. This week she’s discovered working in Holby’s maternity unit as an agency nurse. She’s not working in the ED, but she does come to down to help Elle, who is losing her bottle with a pregnant woman who needs an emergency caesarean. Duffy really speaks her mind and tells Elle to grow a pair!”

Through the hospital grapevine Charlie hears she’s back. How is their reunion?
He’s a bit miffed she didn’t tell him she’d returned. We don’t know why Duffy’s come back from Auckland as she’s keeping her cards very close to her chest and makes a joke about it being a working holiday. Duffy doesn’t say much about what’s going on with her partner and her kid either.”

It sounds like she’s going through a tough time…
“It’s safe to say all is not well. It’s not like she’s abandoned a young family, her children are up and running. It could be empty nest syndrome, but Charlie knows not to prod…”

There’s always been an element of will they/won’t they with Charlie and Duffy. Could love finally be in the air?
“Their timing has always been really awful. She was a single mum, then Charlie married Baz – but there was a moment were you thought Charlie and Duffy could-have-been when she turned up at his wedding and they nearly kissed!

“Later in Cambodia Charlie was jealous of her love interest, Mike (Emmerdale’s John Bowe). So they’ve had lingering looks, but nothing further. So who knows, they could be a match made in heaven? It’s good to tease!”

Although you love being back, has it been challenging, too?
“I tell you what I have found gruelling – the medical stuff. I think I’ve gone soft over the years. I used to breathe in and tell myself the wounds were only make-up. But now they’ve pushed the boundaries I have to take a really deep breath and tell myself Duffy wouldn’t flinch. I’ll have to toughen up!”

Catch Cathy Shipton up to her eyes in ED chaos when Duffy makes her dramatic return to Casualty on Saturday, June 25 at 9.25pm.

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