From C-sections to the V-word – 11 things we know about Call the Midwife series 5

RadioTimes.com caught up with stars Helen George, Charlotte Ritchie and Emerald Fennell ahead of the return of the hit BBC1 period drama...

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“It becomes Trixie’s passion to make the women of Poplar more self-aware and bodily aware,” reveals star Helen George.

“That idea of women knowing much more about themselves and their anatomy and what rights they have. There’s so much in this series about women making choices about their own futures and children,” adds Charlotte Ritchie, who plays Nurse Barbara Gilbert.

In fact, we have it on good authority that the Nonnatus girls are even going to utter the word vagina…

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“The thalidomide drug really comes into being, which is very very traumatising for the whole community,” Emerald Fennell tells us. “What I didn’t realise before we started doing this was that people really did not know what had happened. It was something that started happening and people genuinely had no way of knowing why it was happening.”

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“It’s pretty much the same colour palette, but the silhouettes are a bit more feminine and ladylike. We’ve got some slimmer stream-lined heels – not my clumpy old laced-up brown sturdy shoes. They’re just a bit more feminine,” Helen George tells us, adding: “We’ve got these new capes as well… You ride on your bicycles and they billow along in the wind and you feel like cat woman or something.” 

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“Trixie starts a keep fit club this year,” reveals George. “She’s recovering from the alcoholism and really focusing on her health; she decides to start this Keep Fit club and is rather gusto and over the top about it. There are slinky leotards and the nuns are not that happy about it, although it’s not Ann Summers!”

“We’re ‘cavorting in our combinations’.” That’s what Sister Evangelina says and she’s really disapproving,” adds Charlotte Ritchie.

“They were quite revealing,” concedes Emerald Fennell. “I did regret having a full fish and chips before getting into a very tight black leotard….” 

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“She’s not focusing on that at the moment,” George reveals. “She’s still quite vulnerable, but she’s definitely matured, is stronger and is getting to know herself better.” 

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“There’s still romance,” George teases. 

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“We really see all the girls become proper mates. They’ve always been colleagues that are jolly together, but we do lots of extra curricular stuff together. It’s really nice to see Patsy warm up a bit and be less of a dry old stick,” laughs Fennell. 

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“Barbara and Tom become a lot closer,” teases Charlote Ritchie. “They have a lot in common, so she goes to him for advice. It’s an interesting new friendship that happens because she’s a vicar’s daughter and he’s a vicar. It’s quite a sweet development for her life in Poplar.” 

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“There’s a tricky situation for her that she’s really going to have to dig deep to overcome,” says George of her character. “There’s a tricky situation at Nonnatus House with relationships.”

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“Another thing that’s happening in this season is people wanting to give birth in hospitals more. Suddenly the midwives question their role in the community because it had been traditional for mothers to give birth in the home, but they’re suddenly going to the hospital more. That’s an interesting dynamic,” says Fennell. 

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“We have a caesarian, which I’d never seen on the show before,” Fennell reveals. “They got a real surgeon in to do all the cutting and make it look real. We see a lot of the medical side of things and I hadn’t seen that before and it was a real eye opener.”

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Call the Midwife series 5 starts on Sunday at 8:00pm on BBC1