As Call the Midwife returns for a ninth series on BBC One (after a magical Christmas in the Outer Hebrides), there will be plenty of new guest stars alongside our old favourites.
But who plays who? And what other films and TV shows have they been in? Here’s the full run-down of the cast for 2020:
Helen George plays Nurse Trixie Franklin
Who is Nurse Trixie Franklin? Trixie is a capable and talented midwife who is now one of the most experienced members of the team. In previous series she has battled alcoholism, and we’ve seen her put in the work to stay sober. She is also extremely fashion-conscious and loves beautiful things.
What else has Helen George been in? Helen George has been with Call the Midwife since day one. Her other TV appearances have included Red Dwarf, Nativity Rocks!, Doctors and Hotel Babylon, and in 2015 she came sixth in Strictly Come Dancing with her pro partner Aljaz Skorjanec. Helen actually also met her partner Jack Ashton when they co-starred in Call the Midwife; he played the Reverend Tom until the end of series seven and they had a daughter, Wren, in 2017.
Jennifer Kirby plays Nurse Valerie Dyer
Who is Nurse Valerie Dyer? Val Dyer is a native of Poplar who grew up in the area and knows the East End well. She previously served in the army as a nurse, before returning home to work as a barmaid and then as a midwife. Last year, Val had a traumatic experience when she discovered that the her own grandmother Elsie Dyer (Ann Mitchell) was the illegal abortionist operating in the area.
What else has Jennifer Kirby been in? Val in Call the Midwife has been one of Jennifer Kirby’s first on-screen roles, but she also had an impressive stage career with the Royal Shakespeare Company before joining the drama.
Leonie Elliott plays Nurse Lucille Anderson
Who is Nurse Lucille Anderson? Originally from Jamaica, Lucille travelled alone to England in 1960 to train as a nurse. After she qualified, she became the first West Indian midwife ever to join Nonnatus House – arriving in the snowy first episode of series seven. Since then she has gained a reputation as a talented, level-headed midwife with a sense of humour and a kind heart – but she has faced racism from some of her patients and their families. Lucille has a strong Christian faith, and a fledgeling courtship with local mechanic Cyril (Zephryn Taitte).
What else has Leonie Elliott been in? Call the Midwife was a breakout role for the young actress, but she’s also appeared in the Black Mirror episode Hated in the Nation and TV movie Killed by My Debt. Leonie Elliott’s other credits include in Casualty, Boogie Man and Damned, and 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.
Stephen McGann plays Dr Patrick Turner
Who is Dr Patrick Turner? The local GP, who works closely with Nonnatus House. He is devoted to his job and works tirelessly to serve the people of Poplar. Dr Turner is married to Shelagh and has four children.
What else has Stephen McGann been in? Conveniently, Stephen McGann is actually married to Call the Midwife creator and writer Heidi Thomas. He is also the brother of Doctor Who actor Paul McGann, and like his character Dr Turner he is a man of science – having studied for a Masters in Science Communication and written a book, Flesh and Blood, based on the personal and medical history of his family. McGann previously played Sean Reynolds in Emmerdale.
Laura Main plays Shelagh Turner
Who is Shelagh Turner? When we first met her, she was Sister Bernadette – but then she gave up being a nun and left the Order to marry Dr Turner. The Turners now have four children together (adopted and biological), and Shelagh continues to work closely with Nonnatus House; she often steps in to work as a midwife or lend a hand when help is needed.
What else has Laura Main been in? Laura Main’s acting career has mainly been in theatre, after she first starred in a production of The Sound of Music at the age of 11; recently she played Princess Fiona in the UK tour of Shrek The Musical. On TV, she’s played DC Alison Bain in ITV’s Murder City and starred as Rebecca Howlett in TV mini-series The Mill.
Cliff Parisi plays Fred Buckle
Who is Fred Buckle? A handyman. He is married to Violet, and they’ve now been joined by orphaned young man Reggie, who has Down’s Syndrome. The midwives can always count on Fred for help, no matter what.
What else has Cliff Parisi been in? He’s only just left our screens after starring in 2019’s I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! (though he didn’t get very far). The actor’s most famous role is as Rick “Minty” Peterson in EastEnders, a role he held for eight years. Since then he’s appeared in Hollyoaks, Midsomer Murders, and Shakespeare & Hathaway.
Annabelle Apsion plays Violet Buckle
Who is Violet Buckle? Back in series four, Violet – a widow without children of her own – married Fred, and in series six Reggie joined the family. Violet owns a shop and is deeply involved in the local community, organising events and festivals and always trying to help out, and now she’s taken things one step further by becoming a Councillor.
What else has Annabelle Apsion been in? The actress starred as Monica Gallagher in Shameless and as Joy Wilton in Soldier Soldier. Last Christmas she was on TV as Betty Calloway in Torvill & Dean, and in recent years she’s appeared in The Village, Holby City, The Halcyon, and Doc Martin.
Miriam Margolyes plays Mother Mildred
Who is Mother Mildred? Initially described as “a forthright and indefatigable sister from the Order,” Sister Mildred became Mother Mildred when she was chosen by the nuns as their new Mother Superior (leaving Sister Julienne extremely relieved to escape back to Poplar without having to take on the top job). Since arriving back from Hong Kong in the 2018 Christmas special, Mother Mildred has made sporadic and memorable appearances; she has a big personality and a sense of humour, and is also extremely chatty.
What else has Miriam Margolyes been in? Many people will recognise her first and foremost as Professor Sprout from the Harry Potter movies – the Professor of Herbology and Head of Hufflepuff House. Miriam Margolyes won a Bafta for her role in The Age of Innocence (1993), and has also starred in Bucket, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, Trollied, Rake, and Bottersnikes & Gumbles. She was also the Nurse in Romeo + Juliet (with Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes).
Linda Bassett plays Nurse Crane
Who is Nurse Phyllis Crane? Nurse Phyllis Crane is a bit of a battleaxe but has a dry wit. She a diligent, dedicated senior midwife who will do what it takes to protect and serve her patients. Phyllis is particularly close to Trixie, and also leads a group of Scouts.
What else has Linda Bassett been in? Linda Basset was nominated for a Bafta for her performance as Ella Khan in the 1999 film East Is East – a role she reprised in West Is West. Since then, she’s played Malka Rosen in Spies of Warsaw, Queenie in Lark Rise to Candleford, and Mrs Smike in The Life and Adventures of Nick Nickleby. Other credits include The Reader, Calendar Girls, and Sense & Sensibility.
Jenny Agutter plays Sister Julienne
Who is Sister Julienne? The big boss at Nonnatus House. She is highly-respected by her team of midwives, who trust her judgement and guidance. Mother Mildred is her superior, but within Nonnatus House she leads the nuns of the Order.
What else has Jenny Agutter been in? Having begun her career as a child actress in The Railway Children and East of Sudan, Jenny Agutter won an Emmy for her performance in 1971’s The Snow Goose and a Bafta for 1977 movie Equus. She starred in Logan’s Run, Amy, An American Werewolf in London, and many more – but having quit Hollywood in the 1990s, she moved home to Britain and appeared in The Railway Children again – this time as the mother in a 2000 TV adaptation. Her more recent credits have included Sometimes Always Never (alongside Bill Nighy), Queen of the Desert, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and Avengers Assemble.
Judy Parfitt plays Sister Monica Joan
Who is Sister Monica Joan? Sister Monica Joan has been a part of Call the Midwife since she opened the doors of Nonnatus House to welcome us inside for episode one. She was one of the first women to qualify as a midwife in Britain, but is now retired and feeling the effects of dementia. Sister Monica Joan continues to live at Nonnatus House where her former colleagues care for her with love (and sometimes with exasperation). She is distressed by her limitations and by her mental confusion, and needs to feel useful.
What else has Judy Parfitt been in? Judy Parfitt’s Bafta-nominated performances include Maria Thins in Girl With A Pearl Earring and Mildred Layton in The Jewel In The Crown. The 84-year-old’s more recent credits include Up the Women, The Game, and Little Dorrit – in which she played Mrs Clennam.
Ella Bruccoleri plays Sister Frances
Who is Sister Frances? A newcomer to Nonnatus House in series eight alongside Sister Hilda. At that time, this young nun had only just taken her vow of obedience and joined the Order when she was sent to serve God as a midwife in Poplar. Sister Frances was scared and uncertain of herself, but has now begun to gain confidence.
What else has Ella Bruccoleri been in? The actress has actually already played a nun, in an episode of The Last Kingdom – and she made an appearance as a maid in the TV series. However, she’s still a relative newcomer and only graduated from drama school in 2017.
Fenella Woolgar plays Sister Hilda
Who is Sister Hilda? A relatively recent arrival from the Order’s mother house, who has been sent to Nonnatus House to work as a midwife. She was already familiar with the East End and had been in the WAAF during the war, and she had been a nurse before – so she arrived full of confidence. She had to rein in her bossy tendencies once she arrived in Poplar… nevertheless, Sister Hilda remains a practical, enthusiastic and jolly sort of person.
What else has Fenella Woolgar been in? She recently played Margaret Hamilton in Renée Zellweger’s Judy Garland biopic, Judy – and has appeared in the movies Victoria & Abdul and Mr Jones. Having first caught the public’s attention in in Stephen Fry’s film Bright Young Things back in 2003, she has since starred in Home Fires, Harlots, Mr Turner, Scoop, Vera Drake, and War & Peace. Fenella Woolgar also took on the role of Agatha Christie in Doctor Who.
Georgie Glen plays Miss Higgins
Who is Miss Higgins? Miss Higgins is the receptionist at Dr Turner’s surgery. She is formidable and bossy, but is also kind-hearted. In series eight there was a fledgeling romance between her and Sergeant Woolf (Trevor Cooper).
What else has Georgie Glen been in? Georgie Glen is one of those actresses whose face has been everywhere. Recently, she’s played the Judge in TV drama The Victim, Lady Grenford in Hetty Feather, Pat in Sally4Ever, Rose Kennedy in Oscar-nominated movie Jackie, and the Abbess in Les Misérables; she also put in a long stint as Head of History Audrey McFall in Waterloo Road.
Daniel Laurie plays Reggie Jackson
Who is Reggie Jackson? Reggie’s first appearance in Call the Midwife came in series six. His mother had recently died, leaving him orphaned, and the nuns and the community stepped in to help him. He has Down’s Syndrome, and is now the ward of Fred and Violet Buckle; together they are a loving and affectionate family. Reggie had a special role in the Call the Midwife special and helped bring everyone together.
What else has Daniel Laurie been in? Back in 2016, he played the role of Jamie in the TV series Stella. In 2014, he also led the cast of the Radio 4 adaptation of Charles Dickens’ Barnaby Rudge.
Alice Brown plays Angela Turner
Who is Angela Turner? Patrick and Shelagh Turner’s daughter. She was adopted as a baby in series four, gaining an older brother in Timothy Turner (Max Macmillan); since then, the family has expanded to include a new baby brother and another adopted sister, May.
What else has Alice Brown been in? Alice has been playing little Angela Turner since she was only eight months old. Back on series six, Alice’s dad told Radio Times how she ended up involved: “Annabel, my wife, just knew someone on the production and Alice’s arrival coincided with the storyline. It simply started from there.” He added: “Do I now have any interest in her being a child actor in any other way? Zero interest. To be honest, we will simply enjoy playing the episodes back to her when she is older, and embarrassing her on her wedding day, and of course she now has quite a nice nest egg in her savings account.”
April Rae Hoang plays May
Who is May? May Tang first arrived in the 2018 Christmas special, in the arms of Miriam Margolyes’ Mother Mildred who turned up at Nonnatus House with a group of Chinese child refugees who’d been sent to the UK for adoption. Sadly, May’s placement fell through and her family weren’t able to collect her – leaving Patrick and Shelagh Turner to take her in as a foster child. They then decided to adopt her for good. May is best friends with her new sister, Angela.
What else has April Rae Hoang been in? Call the Midwife is her first on-screen appearance.
Zephryn Taitte plays Cyril Robinson
Who is Cyril Robinson? In series eight, Phyllis hired a mechanic to fix her car – and while working on the car outside Nonnatus House, Cyril first laid eyes on Lucille and fell head-over-heels for her. He is an immigrant from Guyana and spends his evenings studying civil engineering, and likes to enjoy the West Indian social scene. Cyril and Lucille have been enjoying a slow courtship.
What else has Zephryn Taitte been in? He played Dorian in the TV series Brothers with No Game, and has also appeared in The Hour and Doctors. Zephryn Taitte’s stage work includes Nora: A Doll’s House, Trust, and The Tempest.
Read on for this year’s guest stars…