Casualty actress Cathy Shipton says her character’s dementia diagnosis has made her less fearful of getting the disease herself.
The star, who has been a regular on the show for 33 years as Lisa “Duffy” Duffin, said: “The thought of getting dementia is frightening. I was scared of it before I started working on this storyline, but it has made me less afraid.
“But that’s what the show has done to me over the entire years I’ve been involved.
“You can’t come to a show like this and be a hypochondriac.”
In one of the BBC drama’s most heartbreaking storylines, the veteran medic will have her diagnosis confirmed on this Saturday’s episode.
Cathy added: “I think one of the most important things is to destigmatise any subject, really.
“I hope our storyline will be part of our awareness of what people are living with and also because the character is based, from research, on a nurse who was diagnosed with early onset dementia and her experience was massively valuable in the department.”
Producer Simon Harper said Casualty had a record of covering big health, social and emotional issues.
He said: “We are mindful of telling them authentically and sensitively.
"Which is why we are always so grateful to fantastic charities like Dementia UK, who give us invaluable advice.
“Depicting this cruel disease will help raise awareness, and Cathy is knocking it out of the park with her heartbreaking performance.”
Cathy, 61, who has a daughter Tallulah, 18, with long-term partner Christopher Guard, 65, said of the subject: “It’s very important, which is why the show is doing it.
"Undoubtedly, it’s been the most challenging plot-line I’ve ever done since I’ve been on Casualty.”
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