For more than a decade, Call the Midwife has been one of the most reliably popular series on British television – and star Stephen McGann has outlined one of the reasons he thinks the show has such enduring appeal.
Speaking at a panel celebrating the show as part of the BFI & Radio Times Television Festival, McGann pointed to the depiction of his character Patrick Turner's marriage as a key factor in the show's success.
"One of the most simple things about the relationship with the Turners – and one of the most enduringly successful things – is actually that they are a functioning marriage," he explained.
"Very often in drama – and this is a TV festival – drama is predicated on tension. And everyone says, you know, 'Drama is conflict', well that's a kind of a truism, but often it's negative conflict – marriages break, people betray, people do this."
He added: "But actually a lived experience through the Turners is very many marriages out there are full of basically decent people, to whom things happen – bad things, good things, normal life.
"And one of the secrets of the Turners is actually, why not have a functioning marriage long term on television? And then you can feel their pains and their joys, but actually they're not taking chunks out of each other.
"Because not all drama is about negative projection of conflict in story. Sometimes it's about people being nice to each other, because out there people are also nice to each other."
McGann's comments were greeted with enthusiastic applause from the audience before series creator Heidi Thomas added: "We made a whole episode out of you two going to see The Sound of Music!"
Call the Midwife will return to BBC One and BBC iPlayer. Seasons 1-11 are available on BBC iPlayer now. Looking for something else to watch? Check out the rest of our Drama coverage or take a look at our TV Guide.
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