Interview with Helen George, who plays Trixie Franklin in Call The Midwife.
What is happening to Trixie at the start of series eight?
At the beginning of the series Trixie is coming back from her rehab in Portofino. She’s nervous about returning because Tom has left and Barbara has died. She is nervous about facing Nonnatus without Barbara. So she’s not really sure what she’s walking into. But she’s looking forward to seeing everybody, and she’s well in herself. She’s managed to get on top of the alcoholism. She’s coming back fresh. She throws herself into work, which has been great fun to do. This series is focusing on the medical side of things, and there are some really interesting women’s rights stories coming up.
What have you learnt as a person playing this character?
I’ve learnt about babies because I didn’t know much about them before I started on this job. Luckily, I do now because I’ve actually got one! It’s been good training. We’re also better on our bikes as well – we’ve learned how to cycle properly.
We’ve also learned a lot of period stuff about the politics of the time – 1964 doesn’t feel like that long ago in history. The 60s is not hundreds of years ago. But the rules and policies and the laws seem archaic now. We have a storyline on smear tests coming up, which was a new initiative in 1964. Also, abortion was illegal in 1964, and there were loads of backstreet abortions going on. It’s always a surprise to see how far we’ve come since then.
Do you enjoy working with babies?
Yes. They get away with so much more than us on set. It’s so annoying! But they’re great.
What are the hardest scenes to shoot in Call The Midwife?
The days that we do birth scenes are always very tough because they are so long. Everyone has to stay focused for 12 hours. It’s a long stint. But they’re always the most exciting as well because you have to be technically brilliant at it. You’ve got to do it correctly because midwives watch the show! So they’re really hard and long, but they’re fun as well. You feel like you’ve achieved something by the end of the day.
What has been your favourite outfit this season?
We’ve got some really good ones this year. Claire Lynch, the new costume designer, is amazing. I wore one last week that was silver, knee-high boots, which is really 60s and amazing. And then I got this leather hat which is by the same designer who designed John Lennon’s leather hat. So that’s quite cool – it’s just so 60s.
Could you imagine being friends with Trixie in real life?
Yes, I think I’d like Trixie in real life. It’s a weird question because you’re not your character, but there is some of you in there. She’s very different from me, though. She’s much more confident in many ways. I wish that I was as assertive as she is. She’s very sure of herself, which is fun to play. And I wish I had medical training! I wish I could do the stuff the midwives can do because it’s really cool.