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Call The Midwife

About the show

The heart of the community

Jessica Raine and Miranda Hart return for more touching and compelling stories from the nurses and nuns of Nonnatus House.

Based on the memoirs of Jennifer Worth, Call the Midwife follows nurse Jenny Lee and the midwives from Nonnatus House convent, who visit the expectant mothers of Poplar, providing the poorest women with the best possible care.

Series three sees Chummy, PC Noakes and baby Freddy back in the East End, Sister Bernadette, now known as Shelagh since leaving the convent, preparing for her wedding to Dr Turner and Jenny facing huge challenges both personally and professionally.

At Christmas, when an unexploded World War II bomb is found under a warehouse close to Nonnatus House, the nuns and dozens of local families find themselves homeless. Dr Turner is in a race against time to immunise children against polio, but when the illness strikes closer to home, he finds there’s nothing he can do but hope. When a royal visitor comes to the East End, Chummy persuades them to open the new community centre and it’s a race against time to get everything in place for the big day.

A fascinating portrayal of birth, life, death and a community on the brink of huge social change, Call the Midwife offers a gripping insight into a world that is so drastically different from how we live now.

Cast

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Jenny Lee

Played by Jessica Raine

Born in rural Herefordshire in 1982, Jessica set her sights on dramatic stardom at the tender age of 13 after watching her farmer father perform amateur dramatics in her birth village of Eardisley.

After reading drama and cultural studies at the University of the West of England, Jessica spent a year teaching in English in Thailand. On her return to England, she mastered her thespian craft at London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA).

She broke her professional stride as a theatre actress, making her stage debut playing a young goth in the 2008 production of Simon Stephens’ acclaimed play, Harper Regan, at London’s National Theatre. Her other stage highlights include winning a Manchester Evening News Best Supporting Actress Award for her 2009 portrayal of Lily Cahill in Simon Stephens’ Punk Rock, and her lead role in the Young Vic’s 2012 production of the Jacobean tragedy The Changeling.

Jessica made her first mark on British television in 2009, playing Anne Porter in the hit legal drama series Garrow’s Law. Since rocketing to national recognition as Jenny Lee in Call the Midwife in 2012, Jessica has also gained praise for her portrayals of Jayne Boleyn in Wolf Hall, Jules Sutter in Fortitude and Tuppence Beresford in Partners in Crime.

Jessica’s film credits include playing Isabel of Gloucester in the 2010 Robin Hood, and Nanny in the 2012 Daniel Radcliffe blockbuster Woman in Black.

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Shelagh Turner

Played by Laura Main

Born in the Scottish city of Aberdeen in 1981, Laura took her first steps into the entertainment spotlight at the tender age of 11 playing Louisa von Trapp in the stage production of The Sound of Music.

After studying art history at Aberdeen University, she followed her dream of acting stardom by enrolling at Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London.

Since graduating, Laura has gained momentum as an accomplished stage actress starring in productions with the Royal Shakespeare Company. Her recent noteworthy theatre credits include playing Susan in Southwark Playhouse’s 2011 production of Stephen Sondheim’s musical Company, and portraying Maid Marion in Queen’s Theatre Barnstaple’s 2012 production of Robin Hood.

Prior to becoming a household name as Sister Bernadette/Shelagh Turner in the hit drama series Call the Midwife, Laura made her first big impression on TV audiences in 2004, playing ambitious Detective Constable Alison Bain in the police drama series Murder City.

In addition to acting, Laura is a talented dancer and singer. She sings several solos on the Call the Midwife album, released in 2013.

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Chummy

Played by Miranda Hart

Born in Devon in 1972 to a Royal Navy captain father and aristocratic mother, Miranda was raised in Hampshire and attended the prestigious independent girls’ boarding school, Downe House, in Berkshire.

After reading politics at Bristol Polytechnic, showbiz ambitions lead her to study acting at London’s Academy of Live and Recorded Arts (ALRA). In the following years, Miranda focused on performing stand-up comedy and sketch shows at the Edinburgh Festival and on the London circuit, supporting herself with administrative temping work, including being a PA for the charity Comic Relief.

She first came to public recognition playing clumsy cleaner Barbara alongside Lee Mack in the hit TV sitcom Not Going Out, and went on to earn a Comedy Award nomination for her portrayal of Chloe Alice Teal in the sci-fi comedy Hyperdrive. She has also made memorable guest appearances in the TV comedy shows Nighty Night, Smack the Pony, Absolutely Fabulous, Vicar of Dibley and Lead Balloon.

In 2009, she struck comedy gold as the writer and star of her self-titled sitcom, Miranda – a series that has garnered an enviable four BAFTA nominations, three RTS Awards and three Comedy Awards.

Since 2012, Miranda has gained kudos as a straight actress, starring as a nurse in the hit drama series, Call the Midwife.

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Sister Julienne

Played by Jenny Agutter

Jenny was born in the Somerset county town of Taunton in 1952. The daughter of an army officer father, she spent much of her early childhood visiting and living around the world, including Germany, Singapore and Cyprus.

Back on her native British shores, her showbiz career was ignited at the tender of seven when she was discovered by Walt Disney and cast as a young dancer in the film Ballerina. From there, Jenny’s career blossomed, and she has celebrated four decades in the entertainment spotlight.

In her formative professional years, Jenny was famed for playing Roberta in the 1968 TV series and film The Railway Children, and her Emmy-winning role of Fritha in the 1971 TV film, The Snow Goose.

As a star of the big screen, Jenny’s notable performances include Jessica 6 in the 1976 sci-fi blockbuster Logan’s Run, Nurse Alex Price in the 1981 cult horror An American Werewolf in London, and Councilwoman Hawley in Marvel’s 2012 The Avengers and 2014 Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

In addition to being Sister Julienne in the hit drama series Call the Midwife, Jenny’s other noteworthy TV roles include the scandalous Idina Hatton in the 1995 miniseries The Buccaneers, and MI5 counter-terrorism agent Tessa Phillips in the hit crime series Spooks.

In 2012, Jenny was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for her commitment to charitable service, in particular her patronage of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.

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Cynthia Miller

Played by Bryony Hannah

Born in Portsmouth to a teacher mother and former Royal Navy lieutenant commander father, newcomer Bryony is celebrating a sparkling start to her thespian career.

With her sights set on acting stardom, she shelved her job as pub barmaid when she secured a Laurence Olivier Bursary and a place at London’s prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA).

After graduating, she entered the entertainment spotlight playing Louise the Waitress in Ricky Gervais’ 2010 comedy flick, Cemetery Junction.

Prior to playing Sister Mary Cynthia in the hit drama series Call the Midwife, Bryony ignited her TV career playing Brenda in Ricky Gervais’ 2011 sitcom Life’s Too Short. In 2012, she starred as Felicity Turner in Lynda La Plante's crime-drama series Above Suspicion, and gained comedy kudos playing arsonist jailbird Christine alongside Jennifer Saunders in the cult sitcom, Dead Boss.

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Sister Evangelina

Played by Pam Ferris

Born in Hannover, Germany in 1948, Pam spent her early childhood in Wales and immigrated to New Zealand with her family at the age of 13.

Returning to England in her early twenties, she gained widespread public prominence starring as ‘Ma’ Larkin to David Jason’s ‘Pop’ Larkin in the hit TV drama, The Darling Buds of May, between 1991 and 1993.

In addition to being Sister Evangelina in the hit drama series Call the Midwife, Pam’s other noteworthy small-screen roles include co-starring with Felicity Kendal as a gardening detective in the crime series Rosemary and Thyme between 2003 and 2007, and a memorable cameo as Catherina 'Cath' Smith in the sitcom Gavin & Stacey.

She has also starred in adaptations of period classics like The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1996), Our Mutual Friend (1998), The Turn of the Screw (1999), Pollyanna (2003), Jane Eyre (2006) and Little Dorrit (2008).

In film, Pam first garnered fame portraying cockney mother Mavis in Mike Leigh’s 1983 Meantime. More recently, she played nasty Aunt Marge in the 2004 blockbuster Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, activist Miriam in the 2006 sci-fi thriller Children of Men, and Mrs Bevans in the 2012 improvised Christmas comedy Nativity 2: Danger in the Manger.

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Sister Monica Joan

Played by Judy Parfitt

Born in Sheffield in 1935, Judy studied her performance craft at London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA).

She made her first impression on the theatrical landscape in 1954, starring in Fools Rush In. She went on to gain acclaim for her performance of Gertrude alongside Anthony Hopkins’ Claudius in the 1969 stage production of Hamlet, and has remained a regular on British stages ever since.

In addition to being Sister Monica Joan in the hit drama series Call the Midwife, Judy’s other noteworthy television roles include Lady Catherine de Bourgh in the 1980 serial adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, Mildred Layton in the 1984 series The Jewel in the Crown, and a memorable cameo as Aunt Chastity in Mark Evan’s 2011 comedy series, The Bleak Old Shop of Stuff.

Judy’s expansive film credits include playing the fierce Vera Donovan in the 1995 blockbuster Dolores Claiborne, being Lady Mount-Temple in the 1997 biopic Wilde, and portraying Maria Thins in the 2003 Girl with a Pearl Earring.

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Trixie Franklin

Played by Helen George

Born in Birmingham in 1984 to a politics professor father and mother who works in the social care sector, Helen’s passion for dramatics was ignited starring in a production of Claude-Michel Schönberg’s musical, Les Misérables, at the age of 15.

She mastered her craft at Birmingham School of Acting, and went on to secure a prestigious Ian Fleming Award to study musical theatre at the Royal Academy of Music.

Helen gained her big professional break when she was cast as Laura Fairlie in the original 2004 London production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical, Woman in White, and progressed to garnering critical acclaim for her portrayal of Sharpay Evans in the 2008 touring stage adaptation of High School Musical.

In addition to portraying glamorous nurse Trixie Franklin in Call the Midwife since 2012, Helen’s other TV roles include playing Suzie in the hit drama series Hotel Babylon and frosty Selina in the sitcom Over to Bill.

Helen’s film credits include Valerie in Paul Wilkins’ 2011 flick 7 Lives, and starring as Blonde in Paul WS Anderson’s 2011 remake of The Three Musketeers.

An accomplished singer, Helen has also performed as a backing vocalist on tour with Sir Elton John!