Derek Thompson as Robin in Blue Lights

Casualty legend Derek Thompson in ‘hard-hitting’ storyline as he joins cast of BBC One’s Blue Lights

From nurse to former RUC Special Branch officer Robin Graham

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Former Casualty actor Derek Thompson has joined the cast of police drama Blue Lights series 2 for a “hard-hitting” storyline.

TV fans were gutted last year when the actor announced he was leaving the medical drama after 37 years. Derek was the longest serving cast member, having played Charlie Fairhead since 1986 – in the first ever episode!

However, the character of Charlie was written out earlier this year. After he finished filming, he promptly began working on Blue Lights series 2.

Today (Monday, April 22, 2024), Derek Thompson appears for the first time in the cast of Blue Lights. Here’s everything you need to know about his upcoming role…

Derek Thompsom as Charlie Fairhead in Casualty
Derek Thompson as ED fave Charlie Fairhead in Casualty (Credit: BBC/Alistair Heap)

Derek Thompson joins the cast of Blue Lights series 2

Belfast-born actor Derek Thompson, 76, has joined the cast of Blue Lights series 2. The 75-year-old plays retired cop Robin Graham in the upcoming BBC One series.

New pictures show Derek in character as Robin. And his bearded face, and somber expression is a far cry from the lovely Charlie in Casualty!

Robin will make his first appearance in the second episode of the season, and will star in all subsequent episodes. We’re told that his past and conscience catch up with him when trainee solicitor Jen Robinson investigates a decades-old case – one that has dangerous implications for the present.

Derek Thompson said: “I loved the first series of Blue Lights and thought, as did the majority of my friends and colleagues, that it was the best new TV series of last year. I was thrilled and excited when I got the invitation to take part in series two.”

He continued: “I was born in Belfast and was equally excited to travel over to work on the show and pleased to report, having read the scripts, that I’m sure the fans will love the second series every bit as much as the first. Greatly looking forward to it myself as I’m one of them.”

Robin will be Derek’s first role since leaving the cast of Casualty.

Derek Thompson plays former RUC Special Branch officer Robin Graham

Talking to, Derek Thompson reveals his storyline is “a phenomenal tale”.

His character, former RUC Special Branch officer Robin Graham, is at the heart of a powerful storyline with roots in the darkest days of Northern Ireland’s past.

Solicitor Jen Robinson (Hannah McClean) discovers that Robin tried to sue the government for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder related to the 1978 bombing of a Belfast fish and chip shop.

Derek said: “Eventually Robin realises Jen is the route to salvation and he wants to tell his story. That’s the only way his conscience will do what it has to do. It’s a phenomenal tale.”

He added: “I can’t tell you how hard-hitting it was to be stood there with Hannah McClean. Her character is just refusing to go away and when he shares his story you see the relationship that builds between the two of them.”

Derek Thompson as Robin Graham in Blue Lights
Derek Thompson as Robin Graham in Blue Lights (Credit: Two Cities Television/Christopher Barr)

What else do we know about series 2 of Blue Lights?

In the second series of Blue Lights, viewers see that Grace, Annie and Tommy are no longer rookies. They face a whole new set of challenges as they mature as police officers. Meanwhile, there’s a vacuum being filled by rival gangs.

The action is set a year after the fall of the McIntyre crime gang – and a year after the tragic death of Constable Gerard. Constable Shane Bradley (newcomer Frank Blake) is drafted in to help, but his motivations are unclear.

When a young loyalist threatens to take over the city, an explosive situation arises. A major gangland feud is in the making, which could have devastating consequences for everyone.

Meanwhile, Tommy takes an interest in intelligence policing, while Grace (Siân Brooke) struggles with her feelings for Stevie (Martin McCann). And who can blame her? Nobody else can wax lyrical about food like he can!

How can I watch Blue Lights series 2?

Filming for Blue Lights series 2 took place in summer 2023 in and around Belfast, where the first season was also filmed and set. The series landed on Monday, April 15, 2024 at 9pm.

All episodes of series 1 and series 2 are current available to watch in BBC iPlayer. Meanwhile, BBC One has renewed Blue Lights for season 3, and 4.

Derek Thompson as Robin in Blue Lights
Derek Thompson joins the cast of Blue Lights series 2 at the centre of a powerful storyline with roots in the darkest days of Northern Ireland’s past (Credit: Two Cities Television/Christopher Barr)

When did Derek Thompson leave Casualty?

Derek Thompson left Casualty in March 2024, in an episode that fans declared a “masterpiece”.

In May 2023, the veteran actor revealed he would be leaving the BBC drama after 37 years in the role of Charlie Fairhead.

Derek filmed until the autumn, and his final scenes as Charlie aired in March this year “in the culmination of a gripping exit storyline which will see the character front and centre of the action”.

He said at the time: “The time has come for me to hang up Charlie’s scrubs after the most wonderful 37 years. Charlie Fairhead was inspired by a real nurse – Pete Salt.

“Together with the writers and producers, I have tried to bring to Charlie the compassion, kindness, heroism and sound judgement that we all see and love in Pete. And I want to say thanks to Pete and everyone else over that time who has inspired me in bringing this character to life.”

Blue Lights series 2 promo shot of Stevie and Grace
Martin McCann as Stevie Neil, and Siân Brooke as Grace Ellis in Blue Lights series 2 (Credit: Two Cities Television/Christopher Barr)

What was Charlie Fairhead’s exit storyline?

Charlie’s final nailbiting episode opened with him being wheeled into resus after being stabbed by patient Kyle. There were fears the knife wound had done damage to Charlie’s liver.

However, Stevie was in meltdown and as she and Zoe argued over how best to treat Charlie, everyone was confused. Eventually Dylan took over, agreed with Zoe and Stevie walked out.

As they fought to save Charlie’s life, Stevie was called to another emergency. Mel had been found at the scene of the car crash and the paramedics needed a doctor on site to save her life. Stevie was the only one available, but she feared she wasn’t up to it.

At the scene, she panicked, so Iain calmed her and helped her through. Although she stabilised Mel, Stevie knew she was an emotional wreck and not fit to be working. She signed herself off the shift as soon as she returned to the hospital.

Heading to say goodbye to Charlie, Stevie was called into action by Cam as Charlie’s vitals were dropping. Dr Nash realised the CT scan had missed that the knife had perforated the lung and Charlie was bleeding internally.

Did Charlie die in Casualty?

Knowing there was no time to waste, Stevie jumped into action to save his life. And that she did: Charlie did not die in Casualty. Instead, Charlie made the decision to retire, and do “whatever the hell I like”.

The ED were sad to see him go as he tried to leave without a fuss, but they threw him a send-off. Josh, who had returned to be by his side when it looked like the worst would happen, gave a moving speech and they presented Charlie with an iconic yellow Beetle that matched the one he had all those years ago.

Charlie drove off into the sunset with Josh as his passenger and smiled at Stevie as he left.

Read more: Casualty airs exit for Max Cristie as Nigel Harman leaves the show – and fans are fuming

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Derek Thompson joins the cast of Blue Lights series 2 on Monday, April 22, 2024. Series 1 is currently available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

Are you excited to see Derek Thompson in Blue Lights series 2? Leave us a comment on our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix.

Helen Fear
TV Editor