Call the Mid­wife

Jen­nifer Kirby, He­len ge­orge, Leonie El­liott and Jenny Agutter on the changes on their way in Call the Mid­wife…

TV Times - - My Tv Week - Call the Mid­wife Caren Clark & Vic­to­ria Wil­son

Sun­day / BBC1

I’m de­lighted we’re head­ing back to Non­na­tus House for an eighth se­ries. Jen­nifer Kirby, He­len Ge­orge, Leonie El­liott and Jenny Agutter tell us about the changes in store as we head into 1964… see page 10

Spring is in the air, hem­lines are ris­ing, and there’s fevered spec­u­la­tion about whether the Queen’s fourth baby will be a boy or a girl! It’s 1964, and a wind of change is blow­ing through Po­plar as the nuns and mid­wives re­turn for the eighth se­ries of BBC1’S pe­riod drama Call the Mid­wife.

As well as some snazzy new mid­wifery bags and the usual range of dra­matic births, this time they will also en­counter huge so­cial and med­i­cal chal­lenges.

Luck­ily, they have the help of new nuns Sister Frances (Ella Bruc­co­leri) and Sister Hilda (Fenella Wool­gar), who made their de­but at Christ­mas and are sent to live and work at Non­na­tus House fol­low­ing the death of much­missed mid­wife Bar­bara (Char­lotte Ritchie) and the de­par­ture of

Sister Winifred (Vic­to­ria Yeates) to the Mother House.

Here, Jenny Agutter, 66, who plays Sister Juli­enne, He­len Ge­orge, 34, aka Trixie, and Jen­nifer Kirby and Leonie El­liott, both 30, who play Va­lerie and Lu­cille, tell

TV Times more…

The new se­ries is set in 1964. What can we ex­pect?

Jenny: You have things that re­ally mark the year, so the Queen is preg­nant and you see won­der­ful de­signs com­ing in with the clothes. But there are also so­cial things hap­pen­ing, so in the first episode we see the same prob­lems that we’ve had in the past, but ad­dressed in a dif­fer­ent way, be­cause things move on quickly. He­len: This se­ries is fo­cus­ing on the rights of women, or lack of them. There’s an un­der­ly­ing cur­rent about abor­tion, which was still il­le­gal. Char­ac­ters have botched abor­tions and we see the is­sues that causes, and by the end of the se­ries we get to the root of it. Jen­nifer: There are fur­ther abor­tion cases down the line and Va­lerie takes it per­son­ally and is up­set. She’s in­vested in the com­mu­nity be­cause it’s where she’s from. So the idea that some­body’s do­ing this in the area and women are go­ing to those lengths and end­ing up in this state is trou­bling. What other big med­i­cal cases are tack­led dur­ing the course of the new se­ries?

He­len: There’s the start of the smear test and Trixie’s in­stru­men­tal in push­ing for that in Po­plar. It is in­cred­i­ble to think it’s not that long ago. We also have a baby with a cleft lip and palate and we use an amaz­ing an­i­ma­tronic baby. There’s also an is­sue with a young girl who we find out is a her­maph­ro­dite. In the 1960s, it was not re­ally dis­cussed so it’s in­ter­est­ing for Trixie to learn about. The se­ries sees Sister Frances and Sister Hilda set­tling in at non­na­tus House. is it nice to have new faces on board? Leonie: Yes, it’s great to have fresh blood and I don’t feel as much of a new girl as last year now. The place also feels fuller.

Jen­nifer: It was get­ting sparse at the ta­ble! It’s nice to have new peo­ple and that’s how the char­ac­ters feel as well about hav­ing fresh faces and dif­fer­ent en­ergy around. Ella and Fenella are both re­ally great ladies, too.

The drama is now in its eighth se­ries – what keeps it spe­cial? Jenny: I still wait with great anx­i­ety for the scripts to come along and then I read them and get re­ally up­set!

Jen­nifer: For me, no mat­ter how many times we see it, when­ever a baby is born on screen, I cry. There’s some­thing about lift­ing them up – it’s just re­ally mov­ing.

Sun­day / bbc1 / 8Pm

The mid­wife’s fam­ily be­come more prom­i­nent. ‘We’ve delved into who she is when she’s around her fam­ily. ann mitchell [Easten­ders’ Cora] plays my gran,’ says Jen­nifer,‘and she is amaz­ing!’ The plucky mid­wife tries to put her al­co­holism and dis­as­trous love life be­hind her. ‘What’s good is that Trixie is fo­cus­ing on her ca­reer and not think­ing aboutboys,’ says He­len.

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