Jaye Griffiths reveals her Casualty alter ego, Elle Gardner, is keeping the mother of all secrets… What could she have done to cause Jacob to turn his back on her?
BBC1’s Casualty are doing a wonderful line in keeping secrets this year. First we had Connie’s cancer secret, then the massive reveal that doctor Dylan Keogh had been keeping Glen’s brain surgery secret – with the help of guest star Sharon Gless, as brilliant surgeon Zsa Zsa. And now, Doctor Elle Gardner (Jaye Griffiths) has something jaw-dropping to reveal…
What’s on TV talked to Jaye Griffiths, who revealed as much as she could without giving up Elle’s secret completely…
Dr Elle Gardner is sitting on a massive secret involving her son, Blake. What can you tell us?
“Blake is troubled. He knows something is amiss and he feels the odd one out [in his family]. Like most people, single mum Elle’s just muddling though trying to do the right thing. She was somehow hoping it would all be all right… This is what I love about long-running shows; everyone gets a turn to cause some drama. It’s marvellous!”
Does Elle’s secret have an impact on her new relationship with Marty?
“I think Elle’s suffering from ‘Happiness Guilt’. She’s found happiness with Marty but one of her sons is unhappy and there’s guilt associated with that. How can she be happy when Blake’s in such torment? So Elle thinks about ending it with Marty (EastEnders Roger Griffiths) because she wants to sort out why Blake’s falling apart.”
Nurse Jacob Masters is a close family friend, especially to Elle and Blake. Does he try to help?
“Blake keeps phoning his dad, Mark, who won’t talk to him. Blake is also being bullied at his new posh school. Elle got Blake out of his last dreadful school – the school she went to! – but he’s going through exactly the same thing again, just with posher bullies who have more money. Elle doesn’t know these things are going on in Blake’s life, but Jacob knows…”
What happens for Elle’s secret to come tumbling out?
“Jacob wants to step in and do something heroic to sort everything out. But it gets more and more complicated. Elle feels more and more stranded and powerless. And, of course, it all puts Elle in the unenviable position of having to reveal her secret. There’s a bit of a showdown!”
Has this storyline meant working closely with Charles Venn, who plays Jacob?
“Yes and it’s been great fun. Cathy [Shipton, who plays Duffy], Charles and I all have our dressing rooms along the same corridor. So Charles and I used our lunchtimes to run through the scenes over and over again. Kai Thorne who plays Blake is very talented too. Casualty is his first telly, and he’s a lovely young man who’s going to go long way!”
You can’t tell us what Elle confesses, but how long have you known the storyline was heading in this direction?
“Oh, a long time. I’ve known since I joined Casualty in 2016, which I love. It’s been fantastic… I just had to keep my mouth shut! Both Charles and I knew, we just didn’t talk about it because sometimes storylines change. It’s something that I thought, it will either happen or it won’t… And then it did!”
Are there going to be big repercussions?
“Oh yes. The friendship between Elle and Jacob is broken. There’s a lot of pain. Also, Elle and Jacob work closely in an intense day job where, if they make a mistake, they could kill someone! How will they do that?”
Casualty airs on BBC1 at 9.20pm this Saturday