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Where is the television series Call the Midwife filmed?

Call The Midwife Location tour and new gallery launched by the Cast at The Historic Dockyard Chatham
Call The Midwife Location tour and new gallery launched by the Cast at The Historic Dockyard Chatham

Call the Midwife’s Christmas Day special is now as much part of the festive schedules as the King’s Speech. With the launch of a new tour of the Chatham filming locations we met some of the show’s stars to find out about their favourite seasonal specials

But while the series is firmly set in Poplar, many scenes are actually filmed here in Kent at the historic dockland Chatham.

Earlier this year the show's new gallery and location tour launched at Chatham, and cast members including Stephen McGann, Jenny Agutter, Georgie Glen, Cliff Parisi, and Laura Main attended. They explored reconstructions of the show's most iconic sets, and the TV stars looked right at home as they visited Violet's shop and the Nonnatus clinical room, among others.

We caught up with them while they were there to get some insider gossip...

Great British Life: Helen George play Nurse Trixie Franklin, Linda Bassett plays Nurse Phyllis Crane and Megan Cusack plays Nancy CorriganHelen George play Nurse Trixie Franklin, Linda Bassett plays Nurse Phyllis Crane and Megan Cusack plays Nancy Corrigan

Stephen McGann, who has played Dr Patrick Turner in the BBC show since its launch in 2012, told how alongside his wife Heidi Thomas, who created the show, he takes the Christmas special very seriously and feels 'privileged' to be a part of such a prime time slot on Christmas Day.

'It's the weirdest feeling in the world to do all the things that everybody else does on Christmas Day, particularly Christmas dinner. Of course, I’m married to Heidi, so Heidi writes the series and she does everything every mum does on Christmas Day.

'And when everybody settles down to watch Call the Midwife, we sort of look at each other in the house and go, ‘Here we go again, we’ve got to go to work!’ So it's been a duty and a pleasure for so long, but… to actually be the Christmas special on Christmas Day, it's an incredible privilege and one we all take very, very seriously.'

Great British Life: Call The Midwife Location tour and new gallery launched by the Cast at The Historic Dockyard Chatham Call The Midwife Location tour and new gallery launched by the Cast at The Historic Dockyard Chatham

The Call the Midwife special was filmed back in spring meaning the whole set had to be transformed to mirror the winter season, including fake snow and no blooming trees, making it very different from the rest of the series that follows.

Stephen adds, 'It has a different feel; it’s a different audience, people are staying home with their families and so it's a different vibe. It's also the thing that brings us into a new season. It has all those elements and over the years, we've all gotten used to that rhythm.'

READ MORE: Call the Midwife gives first look at Christmas special 2023

There is no disputing that the Christmas special is often something of a tearjerker. But what storylines have meant the most to the cast?

Jenny Agutter who plays Sister Julienne

'Working on the thalidomide story, that was an over-arching story throughout the series, was one that I was very, very touched by and really pleased to be a part of.'

Stephen McGann, who plays Dr Patrick Turner

'A very sweet one for me here, going right back to the beginning here at Chatham, was the Christmas special with Mrs Jenkins, and the heartbreak, every time I come back there's a little building in the corner back here and that was where Mrs Jenkins house was. And everytime I see that, it still brings me back to those very early days.'

Cliff Parisi who plays Fred Buckle

'There was a small boy, he was under 10 I think, and he had scabies and malnutrition - a neglected kid. He used to look after the baby, while she went to work, and one day he got locked out and he had to pout the milk through the letterbox to the child. And that really upset me. There's been some fantastic storylines.'

How many times has Cliff Parisi played Santa?

'Christmas day on the BBC for the last 21 years! EastEnders every year when I was there I was Santa, every year that I've been here I've always been - and always on Christmas day. So I'm unofficially the BBC's Santa. No one else has done more than me!'

The cast have spent rather a lot of time in Kent now... what to they make of it?

Jenny Agutter

'I lived in Merston in Kent which I loved, it's a very, very pretty village. So I have fond memories of that. My aunt is actually in the naval home at Chatham at Rochester which is an extraordinary place, very much tied in with the Navy and I get to visit her there.

'Kent has played a large part in my life in one way or another, so I love coming here. And I wish that Sister Julienne would come more often!'

Georgie Glen plays Miss Higgins

'I began my adult life in Canterbury because I was born and brought up in Glasgow and as a big adventure when I decided to go to art school I chose as far away as I could from my home upbringing, just to get away and be independent and I spent three very happy years in Canterbury and still have friends there. It's a very precious place.'

Cliff Parisi

'We love fillming down here I love Chatham docks, it's so historic and so interesting to walk around. To get out of the studio and be by the water, the more time we get to spend down here the better.'

Series 13 of Neal Street Productions’ Call the Midwife, will consist of a 90 minute Christmas special followed eight hour long episodes in 2024 for BBC One and iplayer.

The recent BBC announcement of a further two series (14 and 15) means that the multiple award-winning drama will be on air until 2026.

 

Great British Life: Call The Midwife Location tour and new gallery launched by the Cast at The Historic Dockyard Chatham Call The Midwife Location tour and new gallery launched by the Cast at The Historic Dockyard Chatham

The Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust has launched an official tour dedicated to popular British TV series Call the Midwife.

The dockyard and heritage attraction, in Kent, UK, serves as a filming location for the show and was previously home to a smaller version of the tour. It has now been expanded to include a new gallery housing exclusive sets, props and costumes, including Nurse Trixie’s wedding dress worn in the season 12 finale.

Great British Life: Call The Midwife Location tour and new gallery launched by the Cast at The Historic Dockyard Chatham Call The Midwife Location tour and new gallery launched by the Cast at The Historic Dockyard Chatham

The Call the Midwife Official Location Tour was created in collaboration with the show’s production company, Neal Street Productions and invites visitors to explore the dockyard’s cobbled streets and buildings, which double as London’s East End, as well as take a peek inside several of the show’s sets including Violet’s haberdashery and Buckle’s newsagents. The tour is led by costumed ‘midwives’, who share stories about the sisters of Nonnatus House and show photos from the series.

The tour’s launch was attended by several cast members, including lead actress Jenny Agutter, who plays Sister Julienne, Laura Main, who plays Nurse Shelagh Turner and Stephen McGann, who plays Dr Turner.

Great British Life: Cliff Pariris opens Fred Buckle's shop as part of the new gallery at The Historic Dockyard ChathamCliff Pariris opens Fred Buckle's shop as part of the new gallery at The Historic Dockyard Chatham



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