Jes­sica seeks nat­u­ral de­liv­ery

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Cover Story -

CALL the Mid­wife has been a con­fronting ex­pe­ri­ence for star Jes­sica Raine.

Raine had lit­tle ex­pe­ri­ence in TV pro­duc­tion and she’s a novice when it comes to ba­bies. Raine plays Jenny Lee, who had a wealthy up­bring­ing in the English coun­try­side and made the un­likely de­ci­sion to be­come a nurse.

Lee knew noth­ing about hard­ship or poverty. At­tached to an or­der of nuns at Non­na­tus House, she be­came part of a team of mid­wives who look af­ter the poor­est ex­pec­tant mums in the re­gion.

Raine says ‘‘ in­cred­i­bly weird and real-look­ing’’ pros­thetic dolls are some­times used in film­ing, but ba­bies are used as of­ten as pos­si­ble.

‘‘ The rou­tine was quite alien to me be­cause I’ve not done much film­ing be­fore,’’ Raine says. ‘‘ I just had to com­pletely throw my­self in. We have a real mid­wife there . . . and she really helped me out . . . at first I was very ner­vous han­dling ba­bies.’’

Bu­reau­cracy can some­times get in the way when cast­ing ba­bies, screen­writer Heidi Thomas says.

Ba­bies are ‘‘ booked’’ be­fore they are even born be­cause health and safety and BBC guide­lines mean it can take up to a week af­ter the birth to process the pa­per­work.

When the ba­bies are older than 10 days, they look too old.

The drama’s cre­ative team also uses CGI (com­put­er­gen­er­ated im­agery). The tech­nol­ogy helps make the job of us­ing new­born ba­bies a lit­tle less com­pli­cated.

‘‘ In episode four of the new se­ries we have a baby born with spina bi­fida. We used CGI to paint a le­sion, a flesh wound on its back,’’ Thomas says.

When it came to recre­at­ing the look of Lon­don’s East End in the 1950s, Thomas said CGI was very use­ful.

‘‘ The crew film on lo­ca­tion in a cob­bled street then block out mod­ern build­ings and give the im­pres­sion of smoke coming out of chim­neys in post­pro­duc­tion.’’ Call the Mid­wife, ABC1, Sun­day, 8.30pm Con­fronting: Jes­sica Raine was a novice with ba­bies.

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