The Gold Coast Bulletin




FROM shy nun Sister Bernadette to wife and mother-of-four Shelagh Turner, it’s been quite the journey for Laura Main on Call the Midwife. As the beloved British drama notches up 10 years on our screens, the Scottish actress still pinches herself that she landed the role and that the series has resonated across the globe.

“I had no idea – I just hoped that we could do a second series, you know,” the 40-year-old explains from her Aberdeen home. “Each (subsequent) series was just a lovely surprise. And then there was a point where we knew we had three more series. “It’s a very nice position to be in.

And the fact that it’s extended over a decade – I feel really fortunate and lucky.”

She’s loved watching her onscreen persona change dramatical­ly over that decade.

“She’s no longer a nun, and now she’s married,” Main says. “She’s had a biological child that she didn’t think she could have. And she’s a step-mum and a foster parent.

“But the main thing is that she just got more and more confident and comfortabl­e in her life. She is just so utterly content and has a great job that she loves, and a really, really wonderful family.“

It’s her favourite part of being Shelagh – watching the Turner family grow from just herself, Patrick (Stephen McGann) and his son Timothy to their current brood. And watching those actors who play Timothy (Max Macmillan), Angela (Alice Brown), May (April Rae Hoang) and Teddy (Ned Shaw) grow up.

“I just love all those kids,” Main says. “And the partnershi­p with Stephen - we are genuinely great, great friends. Max was tiny when he started. Just a little 11-year-old and now he’s one of the adults.”

Starring Emmy Award-winning actress Jenny Agutter, Linda Bassett, Helen George and Leonie Elliott, this 10th season is set in 1966, and it’s a testing time for the midwives. But there’s excitement, too, as the women’s rights movement intensifie­s. The season begins with change on the horizon in Poplar. Sister Julienne (Agutter) must determine whether a private clinic venture that will generate much-needed income for Nonnatus House is a suitable workplace for the sisters. The plan causes great tension between Sister Julienne and Dr Turner, who is strongly against private health care. Their first falling out in over 20 years is felt by all, in particular Shelagh, who feels caught in the middle.

Main realises just how lucky she is to be working in an ensemble cast dominated by women. There are one or two men around obviously – but essentiall­y “it’s about a bunch of women and, more importantl­y, a bunch of women who are supportive and collaborat­e with each other”.

“Back in the day, I just could not believe that I was a nun alongside Jenny Agutter, Judy Parfitt and Pam Ferris,” Main shares. “You know, these incredible actresses. These famous actresses that I admire.

“I remember thinking this program is unique. There is nothing else like it.”

“And they would say to us this doesn’t happen every time ... that (a series) takes off in this way. And that we should appreciate it.”



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