BBC drama Casualty has seen its episode count cut in a bid to save money amid the cost of living.
The show, which first debuted in 1986, is the world’s longest-running medical drama and has seen itself grow from 15-part series to 48 episodes per year by 2022.
But due to the increased cost of living and TV budgets needing to increase to match Netflix, the latest series, which ended last week, contained 41 episodes.
A source said The sun: ‘The number of victims peaked in the 1990s when it was on our screens almost year-round on Saturday evenings, and that is what many people now expect.
‘The only year in which a shorter series was shown was in 2021 due to the pandemic, when all TV productions were severely affected.
Slashed: BBC drama Casualty has seen its episode count cut in a bid to save money amid the cost of living
Iconic: The show, which first debuted in 1986, is the world’s longest-running medical drama and has seen itself grow from 15-part series to 48 episodes per year by 2022
Adding: ‘Now it appears the cost of living crisis could be just as devastating.’
A BBC spokesperson said: ‘This is not the first time the show has taken a break due to its busy autumn schedule.
‘Our priority is always to deliver quality across hours and due to the massive inflation in drama production we have made the decision to slightly reduce the number of episodes per year to maintain the quality on screen for the audience. We have received no complaints from cast and crew and the film will be back on air later this year.”
Last year the show had an eleven-week break due to the Queen’s death and the World Cup in winter.
It comes after Sunetra Sarker announced she will make a shock return to the wards of Holby City Hospital and Casualty.
The actress, 50, who played doctor Zoe Hanna, revealed her return will coincide with Charlie Fairhead’s (Derek Thompson) departure from the show.
She said: ‘This week I was in hospital – but not as a patient. I may have gone back to a particular hospital I worked at a while ago called Holby City Hospital.
‘I’m going back after about… it must be seven years. I left in 2016, so it’s been a while.
‘I’m going back for a special double episode because our dear Charlie, who has always been there, is leaving the show.
“So I’m going back to make sure I get to spend my last moment with him.”
The feeling of bottlenecks: But due to the higher cost of living and TV budgets, TV budgets had to increase to be supplemented by Netflix, the latest series, which ended last week
Exciting: During an episode of Loose Women on Friday, Sunetra Sarker announced she is returning to the wards at Holby City Hospital
Derek, 75, revealed in May that he was finally hanging up his stethoscope and quit BBC drama Casualty after almost four decades.
The actor revealed that ‘the time has come’ – and his final scenes will air next year.
Derek has played a central role in the show since it was first shown in 1986, and the BBC said his departure would culminate in a “gripping” storyline with his character “front and centre” of the action.
Discussing his departure, Derek said: ‘The time has come for me to hang up Charlie’s scrubs after the best 37 years.
‘Charlie Fairhead was inspired by a real nurse: Pete Salt. Together with the writers and producers, I have tried to convey to Charlie the compassion, kindness, heroism and good judgment that we all see and appreciate in Pete, and I want to thank Pete and everyone else who has inspired me during that time. bringing this character to life.”
Emergency room nurse Charlie Fairhead has appeared in nearly 900 episodes and is the longest-serving cast member on the medical drama.
Charlie is the backbone of the fictional emergency department at Holby City Hospital, with the character having been involved in some huge, hard-hitting storylines over the years.
He was run over by an ambulance on his wedding day, suffered a near-fatal cardiac arrest during a gang siege and had a loving relationship and a heartbreaking parting with his fellow nurse Duffy (Cathy Shipton).
Duffy died on the show in 2020 after being diagnosed with dementia. In heartbreaking scenes, Charlie found her in the snow after she wandered off.
Duffy was taken to hospital with hyperthermia and subsequently suffered a bleed in her brain, causing Charlie to realize that nothing more could be done for her.
Charlie recently faced further devastation when he was forced to say goodbye to nurse Robyn Miller (Amanda Henderson), whose daughter, Charlotte, was named with him in mind.
Robyn was involved in a catastrophic car accident while on her way to start her new life with Charlotte and partner Paul (Paul Popplewell).
Jon Sen, executive producer of Casualty for BBC Studios, said: “Derek and I often joked that, after such a long and dramatic career in the NHS, there was almost nothing Charlie hadn’t seen.
“So it was a wonderful surprise for me when Derek arrived with a brilliant idea for Charlie’s departure as part of an upcoming storyline that was too good to pass up.
Hanging up his stethoscope: Derek, 75, revealed in May that he was finally hanging up his stethoscope and quit BBC drama Casualty after almost four decades
Throwback: Since appearing in the first series in 1986 (pictured), the 75-year-old star has appeared in almost 900 episodes and is the longest serving cast member in the BBC medical drama
‘We will all miss Derek very much. Over almost four decades, Derek has created an iconic character intertwined with British TV history.
“We will miss his craftsmanship, his humor and his screen presence.
“We’re also going to miss a friend, so over the next few months we’re going to spend the next few months filming Charlie’s final chapter.”