Jennifer Kirby plays Valerie Dyer in Call The Midwife.
Where is Valerie at the beginning of the series?
It’s the month after the death of Barbara, which was hugely emotional. We saw Valerie trying to pull through it, get everyone together and be strong for everyone else. She’s still doing that, awaiting Trixie’s return and doing stuff for the Poplar community. She’s helping out with a baby ballet class and a show where they’re all dressed as angels. She’s trying to rally that good feeling at the start of the series.
Do you think you would like Valerie in real life?
Yes. I really admire her. In many, many ways, she has qualities I would like to have myself. I would like to be as capable and as hard-working as she is. I’m completely useless as a person! I never know where I am or what I’m doing. I’m the least practical person on the planet! So trying to make it look like I know how to do anything is really hard. But as always, there are also similarities between yourself and your character. Valerie is a bit hard on herself, which I have a tendency to be as well. So I would see myself in her, too.
Have you had a favourite outfit this series?
My immediate reaction is to say a pink sparkly one, which is great. But actually, my favourite is one that combines a shirt, a little waistcoat and trousers because I think that’s really my character. It’s really Valerie, and when I wear that I feel really her. It’s the sort of thing she automatically goes to.
What are the babies like to work with?
They are always beautiful and brilliant. The second you have a baby on set, it’s all anybody wants to look at. I can’t take my eyes off them. They’re just fascinating little creatures. No acting is required. As soon as there’s a baby on set, it’s like, “Oh, I feel everything that I’m supposed to feel because there’s this amazing new little life in the room”. They cry a bit on occasion, but babies cry. I love them!
What has appearing in a drama set in 1964 taught you?
We’ve come a long way in a seemingly short space of time. From being on the show, I’ve learned how different things are now, but also how many things we still have to address, such as the abortion issue. A lot of the things we talk about in the show still seem very relevant.
What would it be like if you were asked to deliver a baby in real life?
Chaos! I could stand in the corner and say, “I think at this point you’re supposed to breathe”. People would assume we would have more knowledge than most, but they’d be wrong! I’d know what some of the stages were. But no, if that happened, I’d leave. I would step outside and let the professionals take over!