Casualty star Sunetra Sarker has revealed the special reason she will be returning to the BBC medical drama after seven years.

The 50-year-old left the series in 2016 to “find something very different” after playing the role of Dr Zoe Hanna for more than eight years.

From 2017 until 2022, Sunetra featured in the Channel 4 drama series Ackley Bridge as Kaneez Paracha, where she received the award for Best TV Character at the Asian Media Awards.

She announced her return to Casualty on ITV’s Loose Women, which Sunetra became a panellist for in 2021.

Speaking alongside Kaye Adams, Dame Kelly Holmes, and Jane Moore as she announced the news to viewers, saying: “This week, I might have gone back to a certain hospital that I used to work at called Holby City hospital.

"I'm going back to Casualty.”

Casualty star Sunetra Sarker set to return to Casualty for emotional farewell

Sunetra explained: “I'm going back for a special double episode because our lovely Charlie who has been there forever is going to leave the show.

“So I'm going back to make sure I get my last little moment with him.”

Earlier this year, Derek Thompson who plays Charlie Fairhead said he will be leaving the show after 37 years.

The 75-year-old who is the longest-serving cast member on Casualty said “the time has come for me to hang up Charlie’s scrubs after the most wonderful 37 years” starring in nearly 900 episodes of the TV programme.

The BBC said he will be filming until autumn, with his final scenes airing next year in the “culmination of a gripping exit storyline which will see the character front and centre of the action”.

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Derek said: “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 judgment 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.”

His character has played a “central part in the show” since it launched in 1986, as the “lynchpin of the hospital’s emergency department” and at the centre of “countless major storylines which explored challenging and thought-provoking subjects”, the BBC said.

What time is Casualty on tonight?

Casualty will next air on BBC One tonight (September 9) at 8.10pm until 9pm.

On the Radio Times website, the episode summary reads: “Jan agrees to go to Switzerland with Gethin.

“When she reveals her plans to Iain, he warns her that the decision could have devastating consequences for her.

“Faith loses her grip on her secrets and watches helplessly as the fallout spreads, and Max play a dangerous game as Donna's sentencing looms.”

On Sunetra arriving back at one of the nation’s most loved fictional hospitals in 2024, the BBC Casualty account posted on X (formerly known as Twitter): “The secret is out!

“Dr Zoe Hanna returns to the E.D next year #Casualty.”