Casualty has announced its official return to screens after months off air.

The long-running BBC medical drama went on a break in September due to the "busy Autumn schedule" but is set to return on Saturday 30 December. A first-look trailer has also been released, giving fans a glimpse at what's in store for the characters in the emergency department.

Sunetra Sarker returns to the ED as Zoe Hannah as part of Charlie Fairhead’s (Derek Thompson) final storyline. Derek, 75, has starred in Casualty since it first began in 1986 and will officially depart in early 2024.

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Discussing the exit, Executive Producer Jon Sen said: "It an amazing surprise to me when Derek arrived with a brilliant idea for Charlie’s exit as part of an upcoming storyline, which was too good to pass up. We will all miss Derek enormously."

He isn't the only character leaving as Nigel Harman will make his final appearance as Max Christie in the New Year. The official synopsis for the new run of episodes teases trouble for Max as he battles kidney failure.

The synopsis says: "Time is running out for Max as he faces kidney failure. But when offered a lifeline by Jodie (Anna Chell) he must decide whether he’s ready to accept her help in order to survive."

Opening up about his exit, Nigel told Digital Spy: "I finished my last scene on Monday, [then I] was here on Friday. I’m on screen until the end of February, and [I have] no plans to return at the moment."

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Elsewhere, Coronation Street iconc Melanie Hill will make her debut as Siobhan Mackenzie who is set to "ruffle a few feathers". Melanie said of joining the show: “I am delighted to be joining the cast of Casualty and I can’t wait for fans to meet Siobhan.

"She’s a supremely competent manager, who is firm but fair and expects nothing but the best from her nursing team. However, get on the wrong side of her and she’ll make mincemeat out of you! I’m sure she’s going to ruffle a few feathers in the Emergency Department."

In September, it was announced Casualty was heading on a break and would return at the end of the year. A BBC spokesperson said: "This is not the first time the show has taken a break due to the busy Autumn schedule.

"Our priority is always delivering quality over hours and due to super inflation in drama production we’ve taken the decision to slightly reduce the number of episodes per year in order to maintain the quality on screen for audiences."

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