Hit BBC One drama Casualty is to welcome Lee Mead to the cast, as the show continues to entertain millions on Saturday nights.

Star of the stage Lee Mead will play Lofty, a likeable and popular nurse with a less-than-ordinary background. This will be Lee’s first full-time on-screen role, having made his debut as a guest star on the show back in 2011.

Commenting on his role, Lee Mead says: “I’m thrilled to be joining Casualty. I really enjoyed my guest appearance in 2011, but this will be a completely different challenge. When I first read about the character Lofty I didn’t imagine I would be in the frame to play him. I am hoping he will charm audiences and they will get behind him. I can’t wait to get started and to learn all of the medical jargon!”

He will begin filming at BBC Cymru Wales’ Roath Lock Studios later this year, with audiences able to catch him on screen for the first time in early 2014.

Oliver Kent, Casualty Executive Producer, adds: “As the character Lofty was being developed, we couldn’t think of anyone else to better to play him. We can’t wait to start filming and are thrilled to have Lee join the team. With a very different background to most of the other nurses, his clumsy charm is sure to win everyone over.”

Kate Harwood, Head of BBC In-House Drama Production England, says: “Delighted to welcome the multi-talented Lee Mead to Casualty where I am sure he will be a popular figure on the wards and an exciting new face for the audience.”

Jamie Davis (Footballers’ Wives) will also join the cast later this year as Max, a cool, laid-back porter.