Call the Midwife is back – with faces old and new. From Nurse Trixie Franklin to Nurse Phyllis Crane, Nonnatus House’s most experienced midwives return for series seven and we’ll see plenty of familiar characters: Reggie, Fred, Violet, Dr Turner, Shelagh and Sister Julienne, to name but a few.
But there will also be newcomers in Poplar, including Nurse Lucille Anderson who arrives in the middle of a blizzard: this is the Big Freeze of 1962-63, after all. And creator Heidi Thomas has lined up some excellent guest stars, starting when Call The Midwife returns on Sunday 21st January at 8pm on BBC1.
Here are all the characters you need to meet, and where you’ve seen the actors before:
Leonie Elliott – Nurse Lucille Anderson
Who does she play? Newcomer Nurse Lucille Anderson is the first-ever West Indian midwife to feature in the BBC1 drama. Funny and clever, she will soon settle in to life in Poplar, bonding with the rest of the midwives and bringing a “fresh new energy” to Nonnatus House.
Where have I seen her before? Leonie Elliott is best known for her role in Black Mirror episode Hated in the Nation, where she played Fiona. She has also recently been in Casualty, Boogie Man and Damned, and in 2015 she featured in Lenny Henry’s BBC comedy drama Danny and the Human Zoo. As a child actress she appeared on stage in The Lion King and Annie.
Helen George – Nurse Trixie Franklin
Who does she play? Nurse Trixie is one of the most experienced midwives at Nonnatus House. Always well-groomed and fashionable with perfectly-applied lipstick and eyeliner, she can be flirty and fun. She has previously battled an alcohol addiction. In series six she met divorced dentist Christopher Dockerill and started a relationship.
Where have I seen her before? Helen George joined Call the Midwife right at the very beginning. She has appeared in Red Dwarf, Doctors and Hotel Babylon, and in 2015 she starred in Strictly Come Dancing where she waltzed her way to sixth place with Aljaz Skorjanec. Helen actually fell in love on the set of Call the Midwife and began dating her co-star Jack Ashton (who plays Reverend Tom): she gave birth to their daughter, Wren, in September 2017.
Jennifer Kirby – Nurse Valerie Dyer
Who does she play? Valerie is a Poplar native who previously served in the army as a nurse before returning home to work as a barmaid in East London. She’s a relatively recent addition to Nonnatus House and hasn’t really opened up yet.
Where have I seen her before? Jennifer Kirby made her TV breakthrough in Call the Midwife, but she also had an impressive stage career with the Royal Shakespeare Company before joining the BBC1 drama.
Jenny Agutter – Sister Julienne
Who does she play? Good-hearted, softly-spoken Sister Julienne! She runs the show at Nonnatus House and is highly respected by her team of midwives.
Where have I seen her before? Jenny Agutter OBE began her career as a child actress in 1964 in East of Sudan, followed by Star! and The Railway Children – which became a classic movie. She went on to appear in An American Werewolf In London and Logan’s Run, and won an Emmy for her role in The Snow Goose in 1971. She has also picked up a Bafta for playing Jill Mason in the 1977 film Equus. Having quit Hollywood in the 1990s, she moved home to Britain and appeared in The Railway Children again – this time as the mother. In the past few years she has popped up in Monday Monday, Queen of the Desert, and The Invisibles.
Charlotte Ritchie – Nurse Barbara Hereward
Who does she play? Nurse Barbara is a beloved member of of the team of midwives at Nonnatus House, even if she doesn’t actually live there any more: in series six she married Reverend Tom Hereward and they are now settling into their lives as newlyweds. At the end of the Christmas special she and her husband made a big life decision: they would move to Birmingham for six months so Tom could work as a curate at a church called Saint Dionysius.
Where have I seen her before? Before she became Barbara, Charlotte Ritchie starred in Fresh Meat as Oregon and Hannah in Siblings. She is also a singer-songwriter and a member of the classical crossover band All Angels. She took a break from filming series seven of Call the Midwife to perform in the UK tour of Noel Coward’s Private Lives.