Tess Bateman

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Tess Bateman
Casualty character
First appearance "End of the Line (Part 1)"
13 September 2003
Last appearance "Too Old for This Shift"
27 August 2016
Portrayed by Suzanne Packer
Information
Occupation Senior staff nurse (2003-04)
Emergency Nurse Practitioner (2003-05)
Ward Sister (2004-05, 2011, 2015)
Senior ward sister (2005-11, 2011-15)
Clinical Nurse Manager (2005-11, 2011-15)
Retired
Spouse(s) Mike Bateman (until 2006)
Significant other(s) Adrian Fletcher
Children Sam Bateman (son)
Saskia Bateman (daughter)
Relatives Charlie Bateman (grandson)

Tess Bateman is a fictional character from the BBC medical drama Casualty, played by Suzanne Packer. She first appeared in the series eighteen episode "End of the Line (Part 1)" on 13 September 2003. Tess is currently a senior ward sister. From her arrival until 2005, Tess was an emergency nurse practitioner and following that, she was promoted to clinical nurse manager for six years, until 2011. In May 2011, Tess resigned from her position and resumed the role of Band 7 Ward Sister, with Linda Andrews (Christine Tremarco) taking over her previous position. Nine weeks later, Linda resigns and Tess is reinstated as clinical nurse manager. Tess then continues this post for nearly a further four years when, in January 2015, Tess resigns to help set up a new health centre as a secondment. She returns two weeks later as a Band 7 Ward Sister, with Rita Freeman (Chloe Howman) taking over her previous position.

Former Casualty actor, Louis Emerick (who played Tess' husband Mike), revealed on Twitter that Packer had filmed her exit scenes for Casualty,[1] after nearly twelve years in the role. No confirmation was released by the BBC or Packer, herself. Tess made the difficult decision of leaving Holby to live with her son, Sam (Luke Bailey), in Leeds following the birth of his son Charlie, on 15 August 2015. Tess then appeared through a video message to friend Zoe Hanna (Sunetra Sarker), wishing her luck for her wedding and that she is enjoying being a grandmother, on 22 August. Packer reprised her role for the 30th anniversary episode "Too Old for This Shift", which aired on 27 August 2016.[2]

Storylines[edit]

Following her husband's paralysis and their subsequent separation, she struggles to come to terms with her son Sam's bi-polar condition, and is reluctant to see him gain his independence. She has a strong friendship with fellow nurse Abs Denham. After budget cuts, Tess considers taking redundancy, leaving Charlie Fairhead to run the department, but these plans are stymied when Charlie temporarily leaves the department after attacking a patient. Over the course of the show, Tess has several near-fatal encounters. In series 20, she is drugged and left for dead by Sam's unstable girlfriend, Fleur. In series 22, she is injected with a paralysis drug by Bank nurse Lewis, and in series 23, she trips in a building site, impaling herself through the abdomen on a metal pole. In series 25, Henry tried to persuade Tess to take the blame for the death of a young boy. Angry and upset by the unfairness, she resigned from Clinical Nurse Manager and has since worked in the ED as a Staff Nurse and Ward Sister however in series 26 she regained her place as Clinical Nurse Manager from Linda Andrews and Linda then became a staff nurse. She has a very close relationship with Fletch and seemed a bit jealous when he grew close to Aoife although he was not romantically interested in her.

Tess develops a close relationship with nurse, Adrian Fletcher (Alex Walkinshaw), which later develops into an affair. Fletch goes on holiday with his family for two weeks and while he is away, Tess discovers she is pregnant with his baby. She doesn't inform anyone of this but confides in Zoe Hanna (Sunetra Sarker) after deciding to have the baby aborted. When he returns from his trip away, Fletch's wife, Natalie (Claire Cage) starts to worry that Fletch is having an affair and he denies her worries. Tess then ends the affair with Fletch after finding out that Natalie is beginning to worry but they stay friends. Fletch later comes clean to Natalie that he has had an affair but he does not reveal who with. Tess becomes worried when Fletch is involved in an accident and feels guilty when Natalie confides in Tess about Fletch's affair. She feels a further guilt when Natalie wants Tess' help when delivering their baby boy. Tess is injured in a train crash and nearly dies, but Fletch saves her. Natalie then realises that Fletch had an affair with Tess, not an agency nurse and ends her marriage with him. Fletch leaves Holby ED after an emotional farewell with Tess.

Tess is involved in a serious road traffic accident travelling with Connie Beauchamp, Martin Ashford, Ethan Hardy and Lily Chao (Amanda Mealing, Patrick Robinson, George Rainsford and Crystal Yu), which ends in turmoil when the minibus explodes whilst paramedic Jeff is still inside. Her attitude towards her colleagues changes following the death of Jeff and her break-up with Fletch, especially with Zoe and young nurses, Robyn Miller and Lofty Chiltern (Amanda Henderson and Lee Mead). Tess steps down as Clinical Nurse Manager, to help set up a new health centre as a secondment. She returns two weeks later as a Band 7 Ward Sister, with Rita Freeman (Chloe Howman) having taken over her previous position. Following her return, Tess has several quieter months, assisting Charlie with the recovery of his heroin-addict son Louis (Gregory Forsyth-Foreman). After seeing the torment that Charlie goes through with Louis, Tess leaves a voicemail for her son Sam, asking him whether he is happy and telling him she is always there for him. He then returns to Holby, surprising Tess with a visit, alongside his newborn son Charlie. Sam asks Tess to move to Leeds with him and be a grandmother to his son. Tess struggles to make decision as her life is in Holby and the ED, but with Charlie's assistance, she makes the choice of moving to Leeds to be with Sam and his son. Charlie is said to be helping her move to Leeds and settle in. The following week, Tess appears through a video message to Zoe, wishing her luck for her hen party and wedding as well as noting she is enjoying life as a grandmother. Rita also takes over responsibility for leading Zoe's hen party after Tess' departure.

Development[edit]

The BBC described her as "a traditionalist [...] dedicated [and] well-balanced". They expand: "She may be viewed as a kill-joy and inflexible but her immaculate, business-like front masks a wicked, dry, sense of humour. She's a control freak, not to be messed with".[citation needed] In 2012, Inside Soap described Charlie and Tess as 'the mum and dad of Casualty'. Current producer Nikki Wilson talked about the importance of Charlie and Tess saying, "I think it's really crucial that we keep them around. Charlie has been in the show for 25 years, and he's such an iconic character. It's fantastic he's still here. His relationship with Tess is quite important - as you say, they're like the parents of the whole department - so long may it continue."[3] In 2014, series producer Erika Hossington spoke to Digital Spy about the upcoming series and plans for the thirtieth anniversary, and also mentioned that in the first half of series 29, Tess will be driven by the team discovering her relationship with Fletch. "She's got to deal with that discovery and for a while, Tess becomes very starchy and very focused on work. This will impact on Robyn Miller (Amanda Henderson)] and Lofty Chiltern (Lee Mead)]. She soon realises that isn't fair on anyone, though!"[4]

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