Tonight’s episode of Casualty saw the beginning of a new storyline for Connie Beauchamp (Amanda Mealing). Since her attack back in February, Connie has struggled to get back to her usual self and has hid away in her office from colleagues and patients. On the times she came out of her office she struggled hugely to keep her anxiety under control and maintain a high professional standard as Clinical Lead.
As she continues to battle her anxiety and PTSD, tonight saw the arrival of Ciaran Coulson (Rick Warden), a trouble shooter trying to fix the way the ED is ran in just under three months.
But what happens next with Connie? Why is she finding it so hard to talk to someone? Metro.co.uk caught up with Amanda to find out…
Connie has been involved in a lot of storylines since arriving at the ED, how does this storyline differ from the rest?
What we’re doing here is we’re showing Connie’s post-traumatic stress. She was attacked a few months ago and in her inimitable way thought she could deal with it herself and she has spiralled into this world of anxiety and doubt, and has locked herself away in the office. Elle (Jaye Griffiths) got a bit close to the truth so she got her out of the picture, but she is just falling and falling deeper into the depths of post-traumatic stress.
They have called in a troubleshooter for the ED, which is possibly the worst thing for Connie because she is now under scrutiny, so this just adds to her anxiety. On one hand it’s brilliant because I always think Connie works best when she has a really good adversary and her nemesis is this troubleshooter Ciaran. I think we always see the best of Connie when she’s verbally jousting and having to fight with someone!
It brings out the best in Connie, but for Connie herself it’s the worst because she’s now having to step outside into the ED, she’s been hiding in her office and she’s now having to step out and not only that, everything she does is being watched.
She is nervous and anxious and we’ve never seen this from Connie before. This is kind of new territory for her and for the viewers. The worst thing is not only is this troubleshooter here, in one way it’s fine because he’ll just be watching the processes of the department, but Connie finds out he actually has authority over her. It’s her worst nightmare that’s coming true! He plants himself in her office which is her safe space – she now doesn’t even have anywhere to hide. I think it’s an interesting time for her, this is the beginning of the end – the start of her breakdown. She is openly about to fall apart here. It’s really sad but makes for interesting viewing!
Why do you think she finds it so hard to open up? Do you think it’s because of her strong character she once used to be?
She’s her own worst enemy, she positions herself away from people and she doesn’t make friends. In her mind you can’t make friends if you’re managing people because at one point you’re going to have to critique their work or fire them. She’s always been a loner because she used to be a heart surgeon and there are only four female heart surgeons in the UK so she’s had to work twice as hard as the men to be proven as equal.
She doesn’t understand that post-traumatic stress doesn’t care how intelligent, how clever, how rich you are, it affects you in really small ways but very powerful ways, and once it’s in, if it’s not dealt with it will begin to break you down.
It’s dreadful and that’s what we’re showing, one attack that happened in a matter of minutes can affect someone for weeks, months, years if it’s not dealt with, and that’s what we’re able to do in continuing drama is show the manifestation in real time, and this is what’s happening.
These episodes are the beginning of the breakdown and the evidence of the PTSD in full flow. What we see from now on is how untreated something like that can manifest and the effects it has on every aspect of your life. I think we’re doing it really well. To be able to show something like this in real time is the privilege we have in continuing drama.
Ciaran arrived in tonight’s episode, why do you think Connie finds it so hard to get on with him? He’s there to help but she doesnt exactly get on with him lets say!
Under usual circumstances she wouldn’t like the troubleshooter coming in because firstly, it means she’s not running the ED well enough so it challenges her work processes but also, she’s in a really really vulnerable state at the moment, she’s struggling with anxiety anyway and self doubt so having someone come in, challenging her procedures and her modes of running the ED and her actual ability herself is just the worst thing that can happen – she’s full of self-doubt at the moment anyway. The challenges would be bad under normal circumstances but at the moment it’s the worst possible thing that could happen. He’s a real villain. He’s Connie in male form!
She’s had some great one-liners in tonights ep!
On a personal level I love it because it’s Connie at her best. But for Connie it’s not good, for Amanda, it’s brilliant! Rick is such a brilliant actor and we had so much fun doing all those scenes – Connie and her one liners are her at her best.
The last time we saw them together, Connie appears quite anxious around Iain – did she perhaps want to confide in him because he had experienced the same feelings she’s going through right now?
I thought, yes! Connie recognises Iain has gone through this, he is a kindred spirit and would understand but Connie being Connie she just can’t confess it – she just can’t confide in someone. But yes, absolutely, in Iain she sees someone who would absolutely understand the things she’s going through but she just can’t bring herself to talk to him.
It’s been announced that Mike is going on a well deserved break, what’s it like working with him?
Do you know what? He’s as lovely as you think he would be. He’s an absolute joy, he doesn’t have a bad bone in his body. He’s just the nicest guy, he really is and always has a smile for everyone. He is just a delight to work with because we’ll always have a laugh. But it’s absolutely the right thing for him to do – he didn’t want to burn out. He lives in the Midlands and drives in every morning and drives home every night – his life is full on. I will miss him like you wouldn’t believe! All round lovely guy – I think he should be the next Bond!
We end tonight’s episode with Connie taking the prescription pills instead of returning them to the Pharmacy – what happens next? Where do we go from there?
I think you get it all in that. She has come to the point where she has stolen someone’s medication. We start to see the beginning of the end for Connie, this is not going to go well. She’s now started taking prescription drugs that are not even prescribed to her – this is a one way street and it’s a dead end. This is it now, I think we are witnessing her fall apart. There’s much more to come!
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