Benjamin "Ben" Chiltern, known by his nickname "Lofty", is a nurse who worked in the emergency department of Holby City Hospital from 2014 to 2016 for just over two years. He started working at the ED in March 2014 as a band 5, before being promoted following an interview in January 2016. He left the department in 2016 following complications following an incident where an agency nurse received a fatal shock from a defibrillator.
During his time in the ED, Lofty built friendships with Robyn Miller and Max Walker, as well as being popular among his colleagues. Whilst in the department, Lofty saw the arrival of various staff members including the current Clinical Lead Connie Beauchamp, staff nurse Jacob Masters and barista Honey Wright.
Time in the emergency department (2014-16)
In March 2014, Robyn discovered an intruder in her home, and impaled her foot on a rake after chasing him into her neighbour's garden. He came back to help her, and said his name was Nigel. When she was taken into the ED by Jeff and Dixie, "Nigel" stayed with her, but when he got a phone-call, he left the room where Robyn was being treated and accidentally left his wallet on the seat next to her. Inside, she found an NMC (Nursing & Midwifery Council) card, which had his real name, Ben Chiltern. Upon letting him explain why he was in her house, he said that he had nowhere to stay, so stole a key off of his dad to one of his owned apartments. By coincidence, Robyn had been renting the house owned by his father to which he had the key. He then revealed that he had been staying in her loft for a couple of days until he got an interview, which was that day. Eventually, he chose to stay with Robyn instead of going to the interview as he felt bad for her. She later asked Rita to consider recommending Ben for a position as another nurse in the ED, but she said there wasn't much she could do, as at this point she was only a band 5 nurse. She did say that she would talk to Tess in the morning about it. Robyn then invited Ben to stay with her and Max in Jamie's old room, at which point he received the nickname "Lofty", one which Rita had referenced to Robyn earlier as a joke.
In November 2014, a flare gun was set off in the ED and the fire alarms were set off. However, Lofty stayed behind in cubicles to rescue a young boy. Although the boy later died, Lofty was hailed a hero by the rest of the team. A the beginning of the new year, Lofty encouraged Rita to apply for the new Clinical Nurse Manager position after Tess stepped down, and she later got the job. On Valetnine's Day, Robyn sent Lofty an anonymous Valentine's card but Lofty tried to let her know that he didn't like her back. In April whilst Lofty was treating a patient with an infected tattoo, she kissed him and Robyn saw. She later made her feelings towards Lofty clear and told him she didn't like him anymore. In August, Max asked Lofty to be his best man for his wedding, to which he accepted. On Max's stag night, Lofty accidentally injured Max's eye and they had to go back to the ED so Lofty could treat him. They narrowly avoided Connie but Lofty was successful in patching him up.
In September, Dylan became annoyed with Lofty whilst they were working together on treating a patient. Despite Lofty's incompetence on the day, he later redeemed himself by bringing in the dying patient's dog to comfort her. Over the following weeks, Dylan and Lofty were brought closer together whilst working with each other to treat patients.
In late 2015, Robyn and Lofty both expressed their interest for the band 6 nurse job available, not knowing that the other was applying for a period of time. When Robyn found out that Lofty was applying, she decided not to apply anymore. In January 2016, Jack was auctioning a date with Lofty as part of a fundraiser for the ED. However, as Jack was spray tanning Lofty's bum in the on call room, Rita inadvertently walked in and told Lofty it wasn't doing him any favours for his promotion.
Later in January, Lofty had his interview for the position with a panel of interviewees including Rita. Also to Lofty's surprise, Henrik Hanssen, the hospital's CEO, was also at the interview observing. During the day ahead, in which a black alert was called, Lofty was worrying if he had got the job. Dylan asked Rita how he did, and she told him that his interview was good. When Lofty decided to create a tent outside to deal with the excess patients, Rita and the other members of staff were very impressed. Near the end of the day, Rita approached him and offered him the job, saying that he had shown that he could lead others, as he had done with the innovative idea to be able to treat more patients.
In February, Lofty had a word with Robyn about the fact that she wasn't listening to his instructions even though he was now her senior. She apologised, but the following week she noticed that Lofty had been up all night working. She expressed concerns to Dylan who later spoke to Lofty but he told Dylan that he was fine. Later in the month, Lofty took over charge of the nursing team even though Jacob was meant to. An agency nurse named Diane arrived to assist in the ED due to the chaos. However, she was incompetent and Lofty was forced to speak to her about the severity of her mistakes midway through her shift, and also let her know he would have to contact her agency about it. When an earlier patient of Lofty's was readmitted into the ED with heart problems, Lofty decided to get her up to the heart specialists as soon as possible, and travelled in the lift with Dylan and Diane. When she went into cardiac arrest, Lofty shocked her with the defibrillator. It failed to do anything so Lofty tried again, but Diane's concentration lapsed and her hand was touching the patient when the shock was administered. Despite the team's effort to save her back in resus, Diane died. Dylan told Lofty to think carefully about what he will say in his statement in the investigation which would follow.
Later that day Deputy Director Michael Hall arrived in the ED to proceed with the investigation. He spoke to Rita about organising a meeting with Lofty, and towards the end of his shift it took place. During his shift, Lofty informed Dylan of some pills he had seen her taking earlier in the day before he died, and they located them in her locker. Dylan found that they were legal but could have effects on the heart. However, during the meeting Lofty went against his and Dylan's statements by saying that he couldn't be sure that he had checked to make sure Diane was clear before he shocked the patient. Rita informed him of what it could hold for his career, to which he acknowledged the risks but would rather be truthful.
In March, the investigation continued and Diane's daughter was admitted to the ED. As a result of helping her, Lofty missed his hearing with Mr Hall and Rita, but Rita informed him that she would be able to save his job as long as he attended a training course. However Lofty declined her offer, saying that he still felt bad about Diane and would be taking a break from work to do a charity hike with a friend. He revealed to Charlie that he would be retraining as a palliative care nurse. After his shift, a surprise party was held at The Hope & Anchor as Lofty said goodbye to everyone.
- Lofty got his name after hiding out in the loft of Robyn and Max's flat, which is owned by his Dad.
- He's fond of daydreaming, but his clumsiness and lack of attention can often land him in scrapes.
- Lofty is easily scared, and hates arguments or conflict of any kind.
- His nickname was created by Rita, when she referred to him as "Lofty" when talking to Robyn due to the fact he was staying in her loft. From this point onward, Robyn started calling him it, and by the time he started working there that was what everyone knew him as.
Behind the scenes
Lee Mead portrayed Lofty on Casualty from 2014 to 2016. Mead indirectly announced over Twitter on 17 December 2015 that he had left the cast. His final episode aired on 12 March 2016. Coincidentally, his first appearance was in the 27th episode of series 28 and his final appearance in the 27th episode of series 30.
Following his departure, some sources claimed that he was simply taking a break and would return to the role later in 2016 or 2017. It was announced in February 2017 that Mead would be reprising his role as Lofty on Holby City, not Casualty.
Lofty made his first appearance in the series 28 episode "The Last Chance Saloon" and had his first episode as a nurse working at the ED the following week. His final episode, "High Tide", aired on 12 March 2016 just over two years after his first appearance.