Interview with Miriam Margoyles who plays Sister Mildred in Call The Midwife.
Were you an avid watcher of Call the Midwife before you were invited to play Mother Mildred in the Christmas special and series eight?
Yes, I’m a huge fan of Call the Midwife. I have been since it started. I desperately wanted to be in it. I asked everyone I knew how I could get into it, and every time I was on television on a talk show, every opportunity I had, I said, “Please can somebody cast me in Call the Midwife?” Well, I never expected that I would be cast and I never expected to be a nun! That was the last thing I expected! So, that really was a big surprise. I’m a nice Jewish girl. I thought I’d play an East End housewife. But here I am as a nun!
Tell us how your character comes to join Call The Midwife.
Mother Mildred is one of those nuns who went to work abroad. She travelled to Hong Kong where she was looking after children who had been abandoned for various reasons in the stairwells of great big apartment buildings. She arrives unexpectedly at Nonnatus House with her hands full with four Chinese orphans en route to the Children’s Home at the Mother House.
How do the other nuns react to her arrival?
They are wary of her. They find her bossy and greedy – she always wants to finish the cake. She has a tussle with Sister Monica Joan, who is also partial to a bit of cake. Some ugly scrapes arise!
What has the atmosphere been like on set?
It’s been glorious. You can feel the happiness when you watch it. I’ve always loved institutions. I’m a fan of them. I went to an all-girls’ school and an all-girls’ college. So I find being in the company of these women absolutely delightful.
Can you expand on that?
Jenny Agutter is a marvellous head of house. She’s very interesting, thoughtful woman who loves to laugh. In fact, they all love to laugh. It’s a beautiful, remarkable team of women.
Why is the drama such a success?
Call The Midwife is the number one show on British television, and I don’t think it’s difficult to see why. The characters and the actors who play them are superb. Also, the scripts are outstanding. The success of the show all springs from the scripts. The producers take endless trouble with them. The scripts are truthful, they are about real people and real things that happened.
How do you respond whenever you sit down in front of an episode of Call The Midwife?
Every time I used to watch, I cried. I felt so involved in what was being created. Call The Midwife has reached the hearts of its audience, and that’s why people love it. It’s not just a story. It touches people’s hearts, and I’m very proud to be a tiny part of it.