Holby Wiki - Casualty and Holby City

Although writing articles from an in-universe perspective has its benefits, one inevitable issue comes in the form of retcons, or retroactive continuity. This is where established facts are adjusted or entirely discarded in order to support a new narrative.

Casualty and Holby City are no strangers to practices like retconning and rapid ageing, and these problems complicate the in-universe nature of the wiki. Therefore, it is sometimes necessary to take new, contradictory statements with a grain of salt.

When to accept a retcon

If an event or character is only ever mentioned, and an aspect of them are altered retroactively, it is generally acceptable to accept the retcon as a fact.

When a subject has been retconned several times, the iteration of the fact with the most in-universe weight should be accepted as the true fact. For example, Charlie Fairhead's age and year of birth has changed many times through the history of Casualty. Charlie celebrated his 40th birthday in February 1994 and his 50th birthday in January 2005, and he attended his 50-year school reunion in 2016, meaning that he was 15 years old in 1966. In this case, we should go with the 2016 retcon because, for legal reasons, the people least likely to get Charlie's date of birth wrong would be the people at his school.

When not to accept a retcon

If an event occurs or a character appears in an episode, they are set in stone. Viewers of Doctor Who should be familiar with the concept of fixed points in time — events that are permanent and cannot be altered without causing catastrophic damage to the timeline. Holby Wiki operates on a similar principle.

For example, in the Casualty episode "Chain Reactions", Louis Fairhead was born in September 1996. However, in 2007, to help facilitate one of Charlie Fairhead's storylines, the writers suddenly had Louis experience a bout of soap opera rapid ageing syndrome which left him a moody, disobedient teenager. Despite Louis obviously being a young adult in 2007, this contradicted the established fact that Louis was born in 1996; we watched Baz giving birth to him. Therefore, no matter what birth year the show's writers throw at us, we have to list Louis' birth year as 1996.

However, this does not mean that his age has remained the same. For example, Grace Beauchamp was born in the 2007 Holby City episode "Deep Dark Truthful Mirror", but she was 16 in 2020. Grace being born in 2007 is an immutable fact, but her being 16 in 2020 should also be treated as a fact. This can be extremely confusing, so you should generally avoid mentioning the ages of characters unless it is absolutely necessary. When a character's retconned age is mentioned, a cited explanation contained within <ref> tags should suffice.

When it isn't clear

If you're unsure which version of a fact deserves precedence, you are encouraged to start a discussion either on the article's talk page or on the wiki's discussion board so the wiki's community can evaluate the issue and reach a consensus.