Jessica Raine on Call the Midwife series 3: a new home, new faces and new romance

The actress who plays Jenny Lee also reveals one of the surprising secrets of the birth scenes: “There’s loads of condoms always floating around set...”


Sunday sees the start of the third series of Call the Midwife (as if you didn’t know).


Yes, the midwives are back, bicycle bells and all, but with the Christmas episode spelling the end for their home, Nonnatus House, it’s time for change on the streets of Poplar…

“In episode one we move into a whole new building,” says Jessica Raine, who plays Jenny Lee. “It feels like a fresh new start for everyone in Nonnatus.”

“It’s another huge old house that they kind of wedge themselves into,” adds Raine. “They’ve built beautiful streets outside the house so there’s lots more scope for goings on around Nonnatus.”

Formerly the midwives’ newest recruit, Jenny is now an experienced member of the team, ready to take newcomers under her wing. “We get a lot of new faces as well which is always good,” she says.

Those newcomers include new nun Sister Winifred (played by Victoria Yeates) who we are introduced to in episode one. “She’s from the countryside so she’s quite naive. She finds her feet amongst us during series three,” reveals Raine.

New recruits aren’t the only thing concerning Jenny as we move into the new series. She’s only gone and got herself a little bit smitten with Jimmy’s friend Alec…

“It’s going really well which is quite unusual for Jenny because she’s often quite emotionally closed off to men in general,” says Raine. “But Alec really falls for Jenny, understandably!”

She’s not ready to give up her red cardi and skip off down the aisle though…

“Jenny really likes him, but she’s still very much of the feeling that her work is her vocation and that’s her real first love. In that day and age, if you found someone then you got married. She doesn’t want to do that yet, which I think is quite a refreshing thing to see on screen.”

Whatever dramas end up befalling Jenny during series three, you can be sure the episodes will be filled with births and babies. Scenes which Raine tells us are incredibly messy to film – and require unusual props…

“They use a condom filled with blood so whenever you see a gush of water coming out of the woman you have a real midwife standing above with a condom and she just releases it,” laughs Raine. “So there’s loads of condoms always floating around set.”

Call the Midwife series three starts on Sunday at 8:00pm on BBC1