As hospital drama Casualty celebrates its 30th series, we reveal the A-list stars who’ve come through its A&E doors

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Casualty is famous for its gory  perations, the more than occasional fire or explosion and an inventively gruesome array of accidents. But what’s less well-known about one of Britain’s most popular shows is the roll call of A-list names who started out their careers in it.

The A-listers who launched their careers with a stint on the ward include Hollywood star Kate Winslet, heartthrob Orlando Bloom, action hero Tom Hiddleston, professional hard man Ray Winstone and Angelina Jolie’s ex Jonny Lee Miller. And there were cameo appearances from the likes of David Walliams and Martin Freeman, too. As the show celebrates its 30th series on our screens, we take a look back at some of those before-they-were-famous scenes…

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Kate Winslet

All the way back in 1993 a fresh-faced 18-year-old Kate starred in an episode as a girl with an abusive boyfriend. The 39-year-old star, who now has six Oscar nominations under her belt, says: ‘In England it almost seems to be part of a jobbing actor’s training [to appear in Casualty]. Being on the show taught me a big lesson in how to be natural in front of the camera.’ Four years later, Kate would shoot to worldwide fame starring alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic.

Kate Winslet June 2015

Kate Winslet now

Tom Hiddleston

Best known for playing mischievous villain Loki in the Thor and Avengers films, not a lot of people know that Tom, 34, also appeared in Casualty. In fact, it was only thanks to his eagle-eyed army of fans – known as ‘Hiddlestoners’ – that we discovered these pics of a then rather more curly-mopped Tom making an appearance in the nation’s favourite A&E drama as an ill-fated rock climber in 2007.

Orlando Bloom 

Orlando, 38, played a builder called Noel who was admitted after self-harming, in 1996. It’s hard to believe now, but with another five years until The Lord Of The Rings shot him to stardom as swoon-worthy elf prince Legolas, Orlando also appeared in one episode as an unnamed extra.

Martin Freeman  

Sherlock star Martin played a 19-year-old youth who took part in a robbery before being stabbed in the leg with a crowbar, in an episode in 1998. Martin’s character makes quite an entrance as he’s brought in screaming while blood spurts from his leg. ‘At the time it was the biggest thing I’d done on telly, so I took it very seriously,’ says Martin, now 43. ‘I took it like it was my gig. I sort of thought I’d be walking up Bethnal Green High Street the next day and people would be going: “It’s him!”  Funnily enough, they weren’t.’

Martin Freeman | Sherlock Series 3 filming | Pictures | Photos | New | Celebrity News

Martin Freeman now

 Ray Winstone

Ray, 58, was cast as prison inmate Terry Brennan back in 1995 – a classic ‘hard man with a heart’ role of the type we’ve since become accustomed to in films like The Sweeney and Sexy Beast. His character caused a panic at the Holby hospital when he gave his guards the slip to confront his wife and her new boyfriend.

Pete Postlethwaite  

Pete, who sadly died at the age of 64 in 2011, played a fireman in Casualty three years before he was nominated for an Oscar for In the Name Of The Father, in 1993.

Aaron Taylor-Johnson  

Aaron, 25, was still a teenager when he had a small role as Joey Byrne in an episode a few years ago. He won the lead role in Nowhere Boy three years later, married its director Sam Taylor-Wood and became hot property after playing the lead in superhero hit movie Kick-Ass. A string of high-profile roles followed.

David Walliams

Now one of the undisputed kings of comedy, Little Britain star and Britain’s Got Talent judge David, 44, played a character called Jon Fielding in the episode Love Hurts in 2003.

Britain's Got Talent 2015

David is now a judge on Britain’s Got Talent

Minnie Driver 

The British actress, 45, had a cameo role in 1991 – six years before she was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 1997’s Good Will Hunting.