Jessica seeks natural delivery
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.