Amanda Mealing: The Casualty / Holby City crossover is unique and emotional

Casualty star Amanda Mealing reveals heart breaking decisions have to be made in the two-part special

Twentieth anniversaries are traditionally celebrated with china. Instead of gifting figurines or dinnerware, however, Casualty is teaming up with sister medical drama Holby City for a rare and thrilling two-part crossover.

Holby’s birthday celebrations kick off on Saturday when the hospital is thrown into chaos by a malicious cyber attack. Connie Beauchamp struggles to simultaneously keep the ED running and save the life of dying paramedic Iain Dean.

Will her Holby City nemesis, surgeon Jac Naylor, lend a hand?

Here, Amanda Mealing, who plays Connie in Casualty, and previously played her in Holby City from 2004 until 2010, tells us more…

How do you feel about the special anniversary crossover?

“It’s absolutely unique [to do this] with two primetime shows. I think we should do more of it, but it’s very difficult because of scheduling. Holby City and Casualty’s filmed transition times are slightly different so it’s really difficult to arrange the two schedules together, so I understand why it doesn’t happen!”

The crossover cast. Arranging the crossover is a logistical nightmare. But worth it!

The crossover cast. Arranging the crossover is a logistical nightmare. But worth it!

What can you reveal about the storylines – are lives at risk?

“For Connie there’s an incident involving Casualty paramedic Iain Dean. He’s in desperate need of medical attention. There’s also a parallel between his storyline and Holby City’s Sacha Levy… he’s also in need of life-saving intervention. Obviously Connie wants to save Iain and Jac wants to save Sacha. But because of this cyber attack there is only one theatre space available. It’s emotional and horrendous for everyone involved.”

Was it hectic filming episodes in both Cardiff (Casualty’s home) and London where Holby City is based?

“It’s interesting. Because I direct Casualty and understand it from that side you do understand that it’s literally like a house of cards. It can be perfectly calm but then one tiny thing, and the whole lot comes down!”

How would you describe the conflict between Connie and Jac in the crossovers?

“It’s a delicious clash of the titans! It’s a clash between two very strong women and done really well. When Connie was working in Holby City Jac was the underling. But now Jac (Rosie Marcel) is very much the alpha woman upstairs in Holby. We’ve got nice juicy scenes!”

Do you think fans will enjoy their battle for dominance?

Can Connie and Jac pull together in a crisis? It's not looking promising...

Can Connie and Jac pull together in a crisis? It’s not looking promising…

“They will love it! We’ve had to secretly guard the story but the fans are really going to enjoy it.”

Has it been fun working with Rosie again?

“I love working with her. We know each other really well, and know each other’s work. So we know how far we can push the scenes. Rosie and I used to be neighbours when I worked on Holby City. I had a house next door to her, so we’re really close. You usually find that. Two people who are the greatest of enemies on screen are the greatest of friends.”

Can you reveal who will win war between them?

“I don’t think either win. They both concede at certain points. Obviously the fan base of both shows will want their hero to win, and I think this serves everyone. Connie and Jac are both there entirely for their work!”

Is Connie still recovering from her recent assault?

“Yes, Connie has been attacked quite brutally by an unknown assailant. When the cyber attacks happens she is called in. While filming the crossover I’m covered in blood and bruises. At the end of the day sometimes I forget, get changed and rush home, wondering why I’m getting looks!”

Casualty airs on BBC1 at 8.40pm this Saturday. The crossover concludes in Tuesday’s Holby City at 8pm

INTERVIEW BY VICTORIA WILSON