Derek Thompson (actor)
4 April 1948|
Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK
Derek Thompson (born 4 April 1948) is a Northern Irish actor, most notable for playing Charlie Fairhead in the long-running BBC television medical drama series Casualty. Thompson has played the role since the series' inception in 1986.
Thompson has a twin sister, Elaine, who was born ten minutes after him. From the age of thirteen they combined to form the singing duo Elaine and Derek. They released one eponymously titled album, on the Parlophone label in 1961, before going on to appear in the feature film Gonks Go Beat (1965). They then formed folk trio Odin's People with Larry Johns, who recorded two singles in 1967.
In the mid '60s Derek worked as Stage Manager in the Nonentities Theatre in Kidderminster. In the late 1970s and early 1980s Thompson became a regular face in BBC and ITV dramas. Appearances include Softly Softly, Play for Today, Harry's Game, and Rock Follies. Before he appeared in Casualty, he had a recurring role, as DS Jimmy Fenton, in the ITV police drama The Gentle Touch. He had minor film roles in Yanks (1979) and Breaking Glass (1980), and also played Jeff, Harold Shand's lieutenant, in The Long Good Friday (1980). He played an IRA hitman in the TV series The Price and the film Wild Geese II, both in 1985.
Thompson began portraying Charlie Fairhead in Casualty in 1986 and is the only original cast member remaining on the show. Thompson has currently played the role of Charlie for over 30 years. In 2004 his character went on a six-month sabbatical, which remains his most notable absence from the show. Currently, he is allowed a few months off from filming per year. In August 2015 Suzanne Packer departed and this now means Derek Thompson is the longest serving cast member.