Derek Thompson (actor)

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Derek Thompson
Born (1948-10-23) 23 October 1948 (age 70)
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Years active1961–present
Spouse(s)Dee Sadler

Derek Thompson (born 23 October 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.

Early life[edit]

Thompson was born in Belfast and has a twin sister, Elaine Thompson. From their teenage years, they combined to form the singing duo Elaine and Derek. They recorded four albums and 15 EP's together. They sang in harmonies, and released one eponymously titled album, on the Parlophone label in 1961. They then formed folk trio Odin's People with Larry Johns, who recorded two singles in 1967. Derek appeared in the feature film Gonks Go Beat (1965)[1] and before landing his big break in Casualty, he acted in repertory in places such as Perth, Birmingham, London and Newcastle.[2]


In the mid-1960s, Thompson worked as Stage Manager in the Nonentities Theatre in Kidderminster.[citation needed] In the late 1970s and early 1980s Thompson became a regular face in BBC and ITV dramas. Appearances included Softly Softly, Play for Today, and Rock Follies of 77. He got a big break in Harry's Game, where he played the lead IRA gunman opposite Hazel O'Connor. Later he played another IRA hitman in the TV series The Price and for a British mercenary gang in the Wild Geese II, both shot in 1985.

During late 1970s and early 1980s Thompson had a number of minor film roles in Yanks (1979) and Breaking Glass (1980), and also played Jeff, Harold Shand's lieutenant, in the box office hit Hollywood movie The Long Good Friday. Before he appeared in Casualty, he had a recurring role, as DS Jimmy Fenton, in the ITV police drama The Gentle Touch.[citation needed]


Thompson began portraying Charlie Fairhead in Casualty in 1986. That same year he met his future wife, Dee Sadler, an actress playing Maggie, who had to be rescued from a cave before hospitalisation. Thompson has currently played the role of Charlie for over 30 years, and is the only remaining character from the original cast. 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. Apart from Casualty, he has also played Charlie in the spin-off shows Holby City and HolbyBlue. It was revealed in July 2017, that Thompson was the BBC's highest-paid actor, earning between £350,000 and £400,000 over the last financial year.[3]


As of 2010, Thompson lived in a rented flat in Bristol and also owns a house in Brixton. He and his wife have a son, who appeared as a baby in one episode of Casualty, and he also has an older son by a previous marriage to Christine, a theatre director.[2]

A sufferer of dystonia, Thompson became patron of the Dystonia Society in 2006.[4]


  • Strawberry Fields
  • WC/PC
  • The Bells of Hell
  • The Garden of England
  • Serjeant Musgrave's Dance
  • The Cherry Orchard
  • The Passion
  • Dispatches
  • The Mysteries
  • Weapons of Happiness
  • Lavender Blue
  • Has Washington Legs
  • School for Scandal

Selected filmography[edit]

Year Film Character Type
1965 Gonks Go Beat Ballad Isle Singer (as Elaine and Derek) Film
1977 Rock Follies of 77 6 episodes: Harry Moon TV Series
1978 Me! I'm Afraid of Virginia Woolf Skinner TV Movie
1979 Yanks Ken Film
1980 Breaking Glass Andy Musical Drama
1980 The Long Good Friday Jeff Movie
1980 Minder 1 episode: Harry TV Series
1980-1982 The Gentle Touch 26 episodes: Det Sgt Jimmy Fenton TV Series
1980 Flamingo Road 1 episode: Guest Star TV Series
1981 Bosom Buddies 1 episode: Rodney TV Series
1982 The Greatest American Hero 1 episode: Spielman TV Series
1982 Harry's Game 3 episodes: Billy Downes TV Series
1983 Bergerac 1 episode: Wyatt TV Series
1983-1984 Brookside 6 episodes: Will Thurley Soap Opera
1985 Wild Geese II Hourigan Film
1986 Fighting Back 5 episodes: Bruce Curran TV Series
1986–present Casualty[5] Charlie Fairhead TV Medical Drama
1992, 1994 Children in Need as Himself TV Show
1998 Resurrection Man Herbie Ferguson Film
1999-2012 Holby City [6] 4 episodes: Charlie Fairhead TV Medical Drama
2001 The Parkers Doctor#1 TV Series
2001 Through the Keyhole Show participant TV Game Show
2007 Holby Blue 1 episode: Charlie Fairhead TV Mini-Series
2010 EastEnders Guest Star: Charlie Fairhead TV Soap Opera
2014 You Saw Them Here First Guest Star: as Himself TV Christmas Special


  1. ^ Odin's People - Irish Rock Discography
  2. ^ a b Cheryl Griffin (10 June 2010). "Derek Thompson". Retrieved 12 May 2017.
  3. ^ "Chris Evans named as BBC's best-paid star". BBC. BBC. Retrieved 19 July 2017.
  4. ^ "Derek Thompson Speaks about his dystonia" (PDF). Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  5. ^ "Casualty (TV Series 1986- )". Retrieved 12 May 2017.
  6. ^ "Holby TV - Derek Thompson Interview". 10 June 2010. Retrieved 12 May 2017.

External links[edit]