Chill out with UK drama's Christmas special
WHILE we swelter through an Australian Christmas, the characters of Call the Midwife are facing a big freeze.
In the drama's Christmas special set in 1963, the midwives are forced to battle against snow, ice, power cuts and frozen pipes to care for their patients in what was the coldest winter to hit England in 300 years.
But Laura Main's character, Shelagh Turner, will offer plenty of heartwarming moments to take the chill off, as she cherishes her first Christmas with baby Teddy.
Shelagh has been a big part of Main's life and the actress says she couldn't be happier for her.
"I can't quite believe the journey that I've got to go on as her," Main tells The Guide.
Shelagh was first introduced to viewers as singing nun, Sister Bernadette, in the series about a group of midwives in East End London during the '50s and '60s.
After leaving the order, falling in love with Dr Patrick Turner and forming a family with his son Timothy, and their adopted daughter Angela, Main says it's been beautiful to see the couple have a child together.
"She didn't think she would be able to have children of her own so that was a wonderful thing to discover and get to play…" she says.
"I'm so happy for her that she got the child that she'd stopped dreaming of really, because they were very happy and content having adopted baby Angela, but it's a real treat to get to do the scenes now with the baby as well."
Despite having a one-month-old son to care for, Shelagh will find herself helping Dr Turner during the Christmas chaos, which will inspire her to hire a Hungarian au pair in the upcoming season.
"She turns up not looking very much like her rather stern passport photo," Main says of the au pair.
"She's actually very glamorous and attractive and initially Shelagh's actually a bit concerned about Patrick's head being turned… so there's a bit of fun there."
Filming has finished on season seven, and season eight of the hugely popular show has already been confirmed. Main says there's a range of reasons for Call the Midwife's success.
"It sort of taps into what it is to be human really and is about love and family and friendship and the challenges that we can face at times, so somehow it just really seems to reach people's hearts I suppose," she says.
"I don't think people leave many episodes dry eyed but there's a lot of laughter too."
She says the show is true to its historic backdrop and could be confronting.
"For some people it's reminding them of their youth and for others it's absolutely shocking for somebody young to find out what it was like," she says.
"I think it's good to be reminded of how some things have moved on, but how some things haven't changed… It can certainly be eye-opening and lessons can be learned, just understanding the challenges people face and different problems people can have."
Call The Midwife's Christmas special airs on BBC First on Tuesday at 7.30pm Qld, 8.30pm NSW.