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“As in life, so in drama”: COVID, the NHS and the ‘very special’ return of Casualty

Hamad, Hannah ORCID: 2024. “As in life, so in drama”: COVID, the NHS and the ‘very special’ return of Casualty. Television and New Media 10.1177/15274764241251763

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In January 2021 the BBC continuing medical drama Casualty (1986-present) returned to UK television screens for the start of its thirty-fifth series, with the premiere serving as the first episode of the show to have been produced and broadcast since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic caused production to stop suddenly in March 2020. It was, in many ways, a “Very Special Episode,” and not least because it was the first new episode of the series to be seen by audiences for four months. Set during spring and summer of 2020, the episode begins with a title card that reads “June 2020. Days into the lockdown: 90.” This article takes the position that this first episode of Casualty to screen on UK television following the March 2020 production shutdown (Ritman 2020) is productively understood as a “Very Special Episode” (VSE), with a view to arguing for its status as quietly radical television.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: In Press
Schools: Journalism, Media and Culture
Publisher: SAGE Publications
ISSN: 1527-4764
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 16 November 2023
Date of Acceptance: 14 November 2023
Last Modified: 30 May 2024 15:14

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