Closer (UK)

‘I suggested the cystic fibrosis storyline as I’m a carrier’


Like one in 25 people, Jenny Agutter discovered that she carries the gene for cystic fibrosis. Her niece Rachel,

42, was diagnosed with the condition, which causes frequent lung infections and breathing difficulti­es.

The actress, 68 – who’s played Sister Julienne in the hit drama since the very start – suggested to the show’s creator Heidi Thomas that they include a storyline involving a baby being born with the disability, in order to raise awareness.

Jenny says, “I put forward a propositio­n to Heidi because she loves using medical history. And of course, she developed a wonderful story about a family with cystic fibrosis, and it was something I could recognise. I’m a carrier, but it doesn’t affect me.

“That episode was wonderful for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. They had more hits on their website than ever before. Call The Midwife brings awareness to a lot of issues.”

And Jenny says she was also moved by an episode in an early series when the home of Chummy Noakes (played by Miranda Hart) was turned upside down by the arrival of her snobby mother, Lady Browne (Cheryl Campbell). It turned out that this titled, snooty individual was dying of cancer and the end was near.

Jenny adds: “I found it very touching. A mother dying, and the simple act of just taking care of her – giving her a manicure and a moment to be together; it was just beautiful.”

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