Casualty – ‘Next of Kin’

Originally broadcast in the UK on November 7th 1998
Season 13 (Episode 11)

Screenplay by Patrick Wilde

Parminder plays Asha Guptah


Asha is the youngest assistant bank manager in Holby (the fictional location where the drama is set). A community of ‘eco-warriors’ are staging a protest in the form of a tree top vigil. Asha is an onlooker but catches the eye of a young man called Kenny who invites her to join him in the trees.

The two reach a platform in the branches where the girl is received with a less than friendly welcome by another activist called Michael. He is apparently jealous because he has feelings for Kenny which are not reciprocated by his ‘straight’ friend.
Asha (rather belatedly) confides to Kenny that she suffers from a fear of heights. They discuss each others backgrounds, though he is rather unforthcoming and says that the protest group are his family and Michael and he are like brothers. He has a real brother who is in the army, but they do not get along. 

Tension at ground level intensifies as the police intervene in an effort to break up proceedings and Kenny attempts to harness Asha to enable a safe descent to the ground. She is panicking and attempts to climb down unassisted but falls to the lower branches. Kenny climbs down to assist, but in the process causes the branch to break and they both fall to the ground.

The pair are admitted to the hospital and it is clear Kenny has sustained a serious head injury and is in a critical condition. Asha injuries are less severe, and the medics are soon able to question her. They can find no identification on Kenny, only a donor card with a blurred signature and are anxious to contact his next of kin. She can only provide his first name and the fact that his brother is a soldier stationed at the local barracks.

Asha’s father arrives and is bemused when told of his daughter’s involvement in the protest. He is escorted to her bedside and asks how she has become embroiled in the event.
She explains that he has never given her the freedom to express herself as an individual and Kenny had offered an opportunity to do this.

The medics inform Asha that Kenny has no hope of recovery and she asks to see him. His brother, Captain Howell, has been traced and has arrived at the hospital. He is approached about Kenny’s donor card but the soldier says that his brother had caused their mother enough heartache with his activities in life, and he would not risk distressing her further by consenting to his “mutilation”.

Michael is another casualty of the melee at the protest site has also been admitted to the hospital. Captain Howell blames Michael for what happened to Kenny. Asha comes up to Michael. Michael says that he loved Kenny and Asha comforts him by saying Kenny loved him and knew of his deep feelings for him. She tells Captain Howell that Kenny had been happy and contented in the community.