Med­i­ta­tion helps me fo­cus on play­ing such a won­der­ful role like She­lagh

As three more years of Call The Mid­wife are con­firmed, ac­tress Laura Main talks to GABRIELLE FA­GAN about life on and off screen


SHE­LAGH Turner, Laura Main’s char­ac­ter in Call The Mid­wife, has cer­tainly had her share of chal­lenges and tear­jerk­ing sto­ry­lines – re­nounc­ing her vows as a nun af­ter falling in love with Dr Turner, fol­lowed by fer­til­ity strug­gles and the jour­ney to adop­tion.

The hit BBC se­ries’ sen­si­tive and emo­tion-loaded plots have been im­mensely re­ward­ing for Laura how­ever, who’s been on the show since its out­set in 2012.

The 38-year-old from Aberdeen – who is softly-spo­ken, self­ef­fac­ing and down-to-earth in much the same way as her char­ac­ter – ad­mits she “never dreamt” Call The Mid­wife would be such a “huge suc­cess” and would run for so long.

It was re­cently con­firmed that the show will run un­til 2022, cov­er­ing up un­til 1967 (it was 1957 when it started).

Here, Laura talks about what be­ing part of the se­ries means to her, what she’s learnt along the way, and her well­ness regime...

What’s it like be­ing on such a long-run­ning show?

IT’S be­come like a way of life and like a fam­ily. We’re all very sup­port­ive of each other and so­cialise out­side of work, so it’s brought me a whole bunch of new friends as well.

I never dreamt when I first au­di­tioned in 2011 that we’d be film­ing se­ries nine now.

It seems to res­onate with all gen­er­a­tions. For some, it takes them down me­mory lane, while for oth­ers it’s ed­u­ca­tional. It also taps into some real big core hu­man val­ues and de­sires, so an episode can touch peo­ple, be cathar­tic and also funny.

What does your char­ac­ter She­lagh mean to you?

IF she was a real per­son, I think I’d like her. I can see lit­tle bits of her which are like me – she’s quite pre­cise, care­ful and thought­ful – but I think she’s calmer than me. She copes way bet­ter than I ever would with her incredibly busy life, work­ing and bring­ing up a fam­ily.

She’s a won­der­ful role to play be­cause she’s had such an in­ter­est­ing life. Af­ter all this time, she does feel a part of me, al­though with­out her hair style and the glasses I rarely get recog­nised out of work – only some­times when I speak, be­cause of my Aberdeen ac­cent.

Do you feel you’ve changed since the se­ries be­gan?

I FEEL I’ve grown up along with She­lagh in a way. As she’s found con­tent­ment in her life, she’s be­come more con­fi­dent and ma­tured, and maybe I have too.

You work with your on-screen chil­dren all the time – would you like a fam­ily?

I LOVE chil­dren, my sis­ters have three chil­dren whom I adore, and hope­fully at some point I’ll have my own fam­ily.

Work­ing with the chil­dren is an ex­tra treat. I get loads of cud­dles with the tod­dler who plays my son, Teddy. He just wants to ex­plore all the time, but I’ve found one thing that will dis­tract him is my singing, ‘Row, row, row your boat..’.

I’ve known Alice [Brown], who plays An­gela my adopted daugh­ter, since she was six months old and she feels like one of my nieces, and now we’ve got April [Rae Hoang], four, who plays May, who’s come into the fam­ily. Both girls are bring­ing each other on.

You played Princess Fiona in the tour­ing pro­duc­tion of Shrek The Mu­si­cal last year – how did you cope jug­gling that with Call The Mid­wife? IT was the best year in my act­ing ca­reer. Life was pretty hec­tic – for a while, it felt like my feet al­most didn’t touch the ground, but I ab­so­lutely loved it. It was bril­liant to have the con­trast of She­lagh, who’s a lit­tle re­served, while Princess Fiona was very upfront and fun. The only trial was get­ting off the green make-up!

How do you look af­ter your health?

I DO yoga, run, walk and cy­cle. Run­ning the Lon­don Marathon two years ago made me re­alise how ben­e­fi­cial it is to ex­er­cise reg­u­larly. It’s not a level I could sus­tain but now I’m more con­scious about stay­ing fit. I’m a pescatar­ian, not a huge drinker and I don’t smoke.

And how do you look af­ter your well­be­ing? SOME­TIMES you can feel too busy, and then at other times not busy enough, but if I’m lack­ing in mo­ti­va­tion, I’ll go for a run and it al­ways makes me feel bet­ter.

I’ve be­gun med­i­tat­ing. Be­fore I step onto a set or go on stage, I’ll plug my­self into a med­i­ta­tion app for around 20 minutes. It takes me out of my head and my wor­ries and makes me much more in the mo­ment and fo­cused.

■ The Call The Mid­wife Se­ries 8 DVD, which in­cludes the Christ­mas Spe­cial, is avail­able now RRP £20.42.

Laura as She­lagh Turner, with her on-screen brood

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