Stephen McGann plays Dr. Turner
How would you describe Dr. Turner?
He is a deeply good man. He is a vocational doctor who works desperately hard. He is always tired. He works incessantly for the people on his watch. However, he’s also a man of his time. In the 50s nurses had to defer to the doctor in a way they don’t quite so much now. Doctors did have a habit of swanning in and taking all the credit, at the time when the groundwork had been done by women. The suit he wears has a small darn on the knee that seems to say so much about this dedicated doctor. He works among the poor and isn’t that well off himself. He is literally kneeling at his patient’s bedsides wearing himself to a thread in their service.
How was it filming the Holiday Special?
For the special I was trained in exactly how to conduct an ear examination using an instrument correct for the period. Everything is so carefully researched, both at the script stage and during filming.
Ben Caplan plays PC Peter Noakes
How would you describe PC Peter Noakes?
There's a real sense of chivalry about him, he’s very straight but always very respectful. I really warm to him as a character.
What is the relationship like between PC Noakes and Chummy?
They come together because there are similarities between them. Neither is particularly comfortable in their own skin. We had a rehearsal before we started filming and it felt very easy. And Miranda and I got on well together when we were just hanging out. I identified with him, and I think she identified with Chummy. I love PC Noakes’ simplicity – he loves Chummy for who she is, and he’s not worried by appearances. She is very authentic.
Cliff Parisi plays Fred
What is Fred’s relationship like with the nuns and midwives?
Fred lost his wife and several of his children in the Blitz. Now, he sees the nuns and the girls as his family. They are pretty much all he has got. At the same time, he sees opportunities to make a few quid presenting themselves. He is still looking to make his fortune. He hasn’t given up on life at all.
Weren’t your own beginnings in the East End quite tough?
When my mum came back from hospital with me she wouldn’t give me or my sister up so the landlady threw us all out. My parents came from big families but they were all cramped up in one room. No one physically had the space for them or they would have taken them in. Mum and dad jumped on a bus with us but it was chased by a police car and stopped. Me and my sister were ripped from their arms and they were left sobbing at the side of the road. We were put into care but they both found jobs and worked tirelessly towards reclaiming us and we were reunited.
George Rainsford plays Jimmy
How is it playing opposite Jessica Raine?
We already knew each other socially, and we laugh together very easily. Jimmy and Jenny have known each other for years and it was great it was great to just use that rapport.
What have been your most memorable days on set?
Last series we visited an abandoned country house in Jimmy’s car and I had only had three lessons in my life. But we were on private land so they put me behind the wheel. Then the three leading ladies got in the back and I was told to drive towards the house at thirty miles an hour. Between Season 1 and 2 I made sure I passed my test!
How did it feel joining the cast of Call the Midwife?
I was very happy to join the cast. It all happened very quickly so I didn't have much time to think about it. I felt like I'd won the lottery. The cast and crew were very welcoming and so it was never daunting to get stuck in.
Were you a fan of the show before you started?
I was a fan of the show yes. I always thought that the production values were so high and the characters very real. The stories really draw you in. Oh and the beautiful babies in 50s home knits.
What is Jane like?
Jane is a very interesting character with a difficult past. She spent her life in various institutions and finds adjusting to her new life in the outside world pretty daunting. She arrives at Nonnatus as a medical orderly and quickly has to cope with the real world. She does well with the help and encouragement of all the women at Nonnatus. She is a bit of an odd-bod and quite innocent.
Do you have any favorite episodes?
My favorite episode to film was episode 4 because such a lot happens for Jane and she only just manages to hold it all together. She is really thrown in at the deep end professionally and personally.
What’s it like wearing the 1950s outfits?
I love wearing the outfits. Jane started the series in very drab clothes and only one pair of shoes but slowly the wardrobe is getting more extensive. I love getting the costume right for the character, it's really important to me. The wardrobe team are brilliant on the show and the costumes look and feel so authentic.