Call the Midwife's Helen George on childbirth, Lena Dunham's Girls and on-screen kissing

"My first screen kiss was mortifying – all the crew were there wolf-whistling. And watching yourself kissing is the weirdest thing ever"

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Call the Midwife's Helen George on childbirth, Lena Dunham's Girls and on-screen kissing
Written By
Ellie Austin

How are the birth scenes in Call the Midwife made to look so realistic?

A condom filled with fluid is held over the actress, and, just as the prosthetic baby’s head appears between her legs, it’s burst over her. I’m not sure filming a birth is as hard as actual labour but it’s a really long, arduous day!

Do pregnant friends ever want your advice?

They don’t ask me to deliver their babies, if that’s what you’re asking!

Is it true that your husband [actor Oliver Boot] cries at every episode?

No! I said in an interview that he has cried in the past. It was an example of how men seem to be very touched by Call the Midwife, which is unexpected.

Why do you think that is?

Older male fans have said that it’s interesting to watch because their children were born in the 1950s and they never saw the birth, as men weren’t allowed in the room.

Are you surprised that the show, now in its third series, is still such a ratings success?

After the first episode of this series we were all saying how crazy it was to get such a ridiculously high figure three years in. There’s always a sense of waiting for people to go, “Actually, we’re over this now,” but luckily that hasn’t happened yet.

Trixie has taken quite a shine to the new curate, Tom, who’s played by Jack Ashton. Do you enjoy on-screen romance?

I find it really nerve-racking. Tom was my first screen kiss and it was mortifying – all the crew were there wolf-whistling. And watching yourself kissing is the weirdest thing ever.

Growing up, was there anyone who inspired you to become an actress?

I loved Truly Madly Deeply and all those 1990s romcoms because you had great actresses like Juliet Stevenson and Emma Thompson starting out.

What do you watch when you have time off?

I love Girls. The writing is so clever. I think Lena Dunham is a genius. I can’t believe she writes it, directs it and stars in it. It’s really exciting that a young woman has been able to achieve all of that.

Do you have a guilty pleasure?

Keeping Up with the Kardashians. I don’t agree with everything they stand for but I did shed a tear when Kris and Bruce announced they were getting a separation.

What makes you switch off?

Breaking Bad, even though I think it’s amazing. I watched the first few episodes and started getting really bad insomnia. I kept thinking, “What am I going to do with the body in the bath?” It really affected me and I was starting to live the characters’ lives, so I had to turn it off.

Do you think it’s true that acting is becoming more elitist?

I think it’s tougher for actors starting out now. I’ve heard that it’s harder to get grants to go to drama school and it’s difficult to get into the industry if you haven’t been. It’s a shame if people aren’t being given the opportunities because of money. When you’re in the profession, it’s the greatest thing in the world.


QUICKFIRE Q&A

1. Hostages or Line of Duty?

I’ve been very busy with the theatre so I haven’t seen either of them but Jess Raine’s in Line of Duty.

2. One Born Every Minute or Casualty?

One Born Every Minute.

3. Jonathan Ross or Graham Norton?

Graham Norton.

4. X Factor or The Voice?

X Factor. I talk about it with the girls at work when we’re in make-up. We quote Louis Walsh a lot...


Call the Midwife is on Sunday at 8:00pm on BBC1. 


 


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