It’s just been voted the greatest TV drama of the 21st century but Call The Midwife’s stars haven’t got too much time to celebrate because they’ll soon be back in action working on a Christmas special and the upcoming series seven.
What can we expect when they’re back on our screens? “Challenge, more challenge,” says Stephen McGann when we meet him at the BFI & Radio Times Television Festival.
“Oh, and can I say one more word? Beehive”, he grins. “I think there’s going to be beehives and it isn’t going to be Doctor Turner. I don’t think I can carry the beehive off, but we’re getting closer to your classic sixties look.”
McGann is particularly excited about the upcoming series because it takes us through the year of his birth, 1963. “It’s my living history as well,” he says. “The part we’re filming next is the first year of my life, so now, those scratchy photographs, they’re me!”
The actor, who’s been playing Doctor Turner since the show first aired, is still riding high on the touching series six finale scenes during which his on-screen wife, Shelagh, gave birth to a baby boy. The former nun had been thought to be infertile but finally managed to conceive and – after a tricky pregnancy – safely delivered her son.
“Wasn’t that wonderful? And the response of our fans was just brilliant. It involved a big birth scene for us and we were both fully involved in the birth scene. I even SANG! I mean come on! I even SANG out at the end”, he laughs.
“But it was so lovely. One of the nicest parts for me was the bit I wasn’t in, when it was just the two women doing what women have done for centuries,” McGann adds.
He can’t tell us much about what’s to come for Patrick and Shelagh, but does hint that it’s “all lovely” now that baby Teddy (Heidi Thomas revealed his name during the TV Festival’s Call The Midwife panel) is on the scene.
McGann is also pretty delighted with the show’s continued success off air. 2017 has seen the series pick up the National Television Award for Best Period Drama, the Radio Times Best 21st Century Period Drama award, and that aforementioned Best Drama of the 21st Century overall title.
“We just keep winning awards, accolades, recognition, the series was received so incredibly well,” McGann smiled. “We were gobsmacked by the response but we were also greatly gratified. We work so hard to keep up the standard.”
“As the years go by with Call The Midwife – every series moves forward – there are more challenges in the sixties and so there were so many interesting different grounds to cover, socially and in medicine and for women. And it was just received so well, we’re just so pleased.”
Call The Midwife returns to BBC1 in December 2017