Mid­wife has her se­crets

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - TELEVISION -

The Mid­wife screen­writer Heidi Thomas hides the show’s scripts from her hus­band – though he stars in the drama. Stephen McGann plays wid­owed GP Dr Turner, along­side stars in­clud­ing Jes­sica Raine, Mi­randa Hart (pic­tured) and Jenny Agut­ter. The cou­ple, who met af­ter McGann starred in one of Thomas’s first plays at the Liver­pool Play­house, are work­ing to­gether for the first time in 25 years. Thomas, whose cred­its in­clude the TV adap­ta­tion of Cran­ford and the re­cent se­ries of Up­stairs Down­stairs, tells the Ra­dio Times McGann – the brother of fel­low ac­tors Paul, Mark and Joe – did not get to see her scripts be­fore the rest of the cast. ‘‘If he comes into my study while I’m work­ing on them, I cover the screen,’’ she says. ‘‘But it’s won­der­ful hav­ing a project that you can mull over with your part­ner, although I think our son gets fed up with it.’’ The open­ing episode of se­ries two is again based on the late Jen­nifer Worth’s mem­oirs and set in Lon­don’s East End. Thomas will have fin­ished all of Worth’s sto­ries by the end of the sec­ond se­ries but says there is no need for fans to worry about the show’s fu­ture. ‘‘The characters will be well devel­oped by then and Jen­nifer was happy for us to con­tinue.’’ Thomas, who is also Call The Mid­wife’s ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer, says the drama elic­its an emo­tional re­sponse from the crew, as well as view­ers, with cam­era­men and elec­tri­cians al­ways ‘‘get­ting some­thing in their eyes’’. ‘‘The edit suite has a wooden floor and was wet af­ter we watched the Christ­mas spe­cial,’’ Thomas laughs. Bu­reau­cracy can some­times get in the way when cast­ing ba­bies in the drama, says Thomas. Ba­bies are ‘‘booked’’ be­fore they are even born be­cause health and safety and BBC guide­lines means it can take up to a week af­ter the birth to process the pa­per­work. Ba­bies older than 10 days look too old for the sto­ry­lines. ‘‘Some­times we’ve had to wrap a baby tightly in a shawl so it doesn’t look like a re­laxed twoweeker,’’ she says. Thomas says the drama owes a lot to CGI. The tech­nol­ogy helps make the job of us­ing new­born ba­bies on set a lit­tle less com­pli­cated. ‘‘In episode four of the new se­ries we have a baby born with spina bi­fida so we used CGI to paint a flesh wound on its back,’’ says Thomas. When it came to recre­at­ing the look of Lon­don’s East End in the 1950s, Thomas said CGI was 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 post-pro­duc­tion.’’


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