Hospital drama Casualty raised fansâ blood pressure tonight as the 30th anniversary episode pitched from one disaster to the next during a feature-length thriller.
Viewers saw the bloody aftermath of a car crash from the previous episode where popular character Connie Beauchamp (Amanda Mealing) and her daughter Grace (Emily Carey) pitched off a cliff in their vehicle.
But the list of casualties was set to rise dramatically, as the air ambulance enlisted to lift Grace to Holby City A&E was downed by a rogue drone just as it reached the hospital, taking out various staff and patients as it smashed into the department.
Casualty’s faithful struggled to keep a check on their nerves as the drama unfolded.
Can't cope, ah me nerves #Casualty30
— Lorraine Kearney (@LorraineKearne3) August 27, 2016
Omg no grace can't be dead please no ððð #Casualty30
— Fl0 (@FloDyer123) August 27, 2016
This is going to be the most emotional 100 mins of my life #Casualty30
— charlotte (@satanseyebrows) August 27, 2016
#Casualty30 my hearts beating so fast ð¢
— Kloe Doy (@DoyKloe) August 27, 2016
Thank goodness #Casualty30 is over. I couldn't breathe easy until the credits had fully rolled and the next programme started…
— Eden v Bailey (@Eden_VB) August 27, 2016
Billed as the “biggest ever storyline with far-reaching consequences”, the stunt was designed to celebrate 30 years of the BBC One programme, which first aired on September 6, 1986.
This weekâs landmark instalment centred on Charlie Fairhead (Derek Thompson), the only character to have put in all three decades on the cast. In fact, nurse Robyn pointed out, “Charlie’s been working here longer than I’ve actually been alive”.
It tied the storyline together with the crash taking place during Charlieâs surprise party for working 30 years at the hospital, with ex-stars including Clive Mantle as Mike Barratt, Ian Bleasdale as Josh Griffiths and Martina Laird as Comfort Jones making guest appearances.
People were especially pleased to see the three amigos Charlie, Josh and Duffy (Catherine Shipton) reunited.
I wish @cathship27, Derek & Ian could be back together every week! Fave trio, EVER. Wouldn't be an anniversary without them! #Casualty30
— Miss Maj (@MissMaj_) August 27, 2016
Duffy, Charlie and Josh reunited ððð #Casualty30
— Hannah B (@hannahb39) August 27, 2016
Nana: "I've watched this from the start"
*every time an old character appears* "Well I've never seen them before"#Casualty30
— Greg Walker (@gregwalkeh) August 27, 2016
The regular cast were also joined by former EastEnder Pam St Clement, who made a one-off appearance as a bolshie patient and brought a bit of light relief to proceedings.
Well pat butcher has changed a bit ð #Casualty30
— casey (@casey97a) August 27, 2016
Pat Butchers in #Casualty30. Now I am proper confused, and no earrings.
— Tom Sykes (@tomesykes) August 27, 2016
@BBCCasualty @BBCOne @bbceastenders Blinkin' 'eck. Now Pat Butcher… minus the earrings. I love Casualty! Happy 30th Birthday. #Casualty30
— Nicky (@nicnoi27) August 27, 2016
While the main characters managed to escape being axed from the series despite the helicopter crash and were all accounted for by the end of the episode, fans were left with a cliffhanger when it came to Graceâs fate as the medics warned that she may not be all right, but didnât explain what had happened to her.
Fans were suitably impressed with the efforts the Beeb had gone to.
massive congrats to all who took part in tonight's @BBCCasualty episode. hands down the most amazing episode. #Casualty30 amazing workðð»â¨
— kirstâ (@_kirstysmithh) August 27, 2016
ðð¬ðð³ðð±ð¢ðð·ðªð¼ð¾ððð all the emojis for tonight's #Casualty30
— Nikki Clews (@lfclover_murs) August 27, 2016
@moviegoblin the directing talent in that episode was just amazing, the best episode I've seen ð #Casualty30
— I s l a (@islafraser87) August 27, 2016
What an amazing episode of @BBCCasualty tonight. Well done to all cast and crew involved. Emotions were up and down like a yoyo! #Casualty30
— Catherine (@KatieQ1878) August 27, 2016
#Casualty30 It almost feels as if Charlie and Duffy are actual nursesð Well done on the best acting I've seen in a long whileâï¸âï¸
— Christina (@Catspaws97) August 27, 2016
However, you can’t please ‘em all.
Sadly, no one died in Casualty. What an end to Charlie's special episode it would have been if he had died #Casualty30
— Chloe. (@fictionholmes) August 27, 2016
Tonightâs episode, entitled Too Old For This Shift, was the longest the series has aired in its history, running at one hour and 40 minutes.