SPE­CIAL DE­LIV­ERY

THERE ARE NEW CHAL­LENGES for the nuns and mid­wives as the drama re­turns

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IT’S1964 AND a wind of change is blow­ing through Po­plar as the nuns and mid­wives of Non­na­tus House face huge tri­als in a new se­ries of BBC1’S Call the Mid­wife.

‘We have things that re­ally mark 1964, so the Queen is preg­nant with Prince Ed­ward and there are won­der­ful new clothes,’ says Jenny Agut­ter, who plays head nun Sis­ter Juli­enne. ‘But there are so­cial changes, too. We see some of the prob­lems that we’ve had in the past, but ad­dressed in a dif­fer­ent way as things are mov­ing very quickly.’

MODERN PROB­LEMS

The open­ing episode in­tro­duces the se­ries’ dark sto­ry­line as it looks at the con­se­quences of back­street abor­tions in Lon­don’s East End.

‘This se­ries fo­cuses on rights of women at this time, or lack of them,’ says He­len Ge­orge, who plays mid­wife Trixie Franklin.‘there’s an un­der­ly­ing cur­rent about abor­tion, which was still il­le­gal, and it’s re­ally won­der­ful

sto­ry­telling. We have char­ac­ters who have botched abor­tions and we see the is­sues that causes.’

For mid­wife Va­lerie Dyer, the is­sue feels very per­sonal. ‘ Va­lerie takes it all to heart,’ says Jen­nifer Kirby, who plays her.‘she is in­vested in any­thing to do with the com­mu­nity, be­cause that’s where she’s from. The idea that women are end­ing up in this state is very trou­bling to her.’

NEW FACES

The lat­est se­ries also sees Sis­ter Frances (Ella Bruc­co­leri) and Sis­ter Hilda (Fenella Wool­gar), who both first ap­peared at Christ­mas, move into Non­na­tus House to help the team.

‘There’s the start of the smear test and Trixie is in­stru­men­tal in push­ing for that in Po­plar,’ says Ge­orge. ‘We have a baby with a cleft lip and palate and we use an amaz­ing an­i­ma­tronic baby for that. There’s also a young girl we find out is a hermaphrodite.’

While the thought-pro­vok­ing sto­ries show no sign of run­ning out, the heart­warm­ing and at times heart­break­ing births re­main key. ‘When­ever a baby is born on screen, I cry,’ says Kirby. ‘There’s some­thing about lift­ing them up – it’s just re­ally mov­ing.’

SIS­TERS FRANCES AND HILDA MOVE INTO NON­NA­TUS HOUSE

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