Call the Midwife's Bryony Hannah: 'It was no surprise to me Cynthia became a nun'

Bryony Hannah, who plays Call the Midwife’s Cynthia Miller, returns to the hit BBC1 show this week a changed woman!

Find out how both novice nun, Cynthia, and talented actress, Bryony, are adapting to their shared new habit…

Midwife Cynthia Miller is back this week in a habit, having become Sister Mary Cynthia. How has she changed?

“When she comes back, you see she’s very happy with her decision and really at one with herself for the first time. Cynthia is on a voyage of self-discovery. She’s grown in confidence and grown into herself as a woman.”

Is it odd for you, having to adapt to your new role and costume?

“It’s strange for both me and Cynthia not to be in my usual uniform and now sitting with the nuns on the other side of the dining room table!"

On screen it seems to be really hard for Helen George’s character Trixie. Was it the same off screen?

"On such a long-running series you have a real shared history with the other actors. Helen and I’ve known each other for years, and suddenly not to see each other so much or have our bedroom scenes together is quite upsetting! I think that really fuelled what we were playing because it felt so real.”

Were you as surprised as many viewers when Cynthia felt the calling to become a nun?

“No, we’ve been talking about it for a long, long time, because Jennifer Worth mentioned in her books [the basis for the series] that Cynthia becomes a nun. It was only a few sentences, but I’ve had it in mind since the start. You probably wouldn’t notice it, but for a couple of series now I’ve been wearing a crucifix – I liked knowing it was there! So it felt like a very natural transition.”

Sister Mary Cynthia hasn’t lost her nursing skills when she returns this week and has to treat a pregnant woman, desperately ill with diphtheria….

"Yes, it’s challenging stuff. The brilliant thing about Call The Midwife is the combination of being quite merry and beguiling but then you’ve also got these incredibly harrowing stories that will touch viewers deeply. The scripts are so heart wrenching, sometimes I have a little cry. The show can be very cathartic!”

See Bryony in action as Sister Mary Cynthia on BBC1, Sunday, February 15 at 8pm.


Elaine Reilly
Writer for TV Times, What’s On TV, TV & Satellite Week and What To Watch

With twenty years of experience as an entertainment journalist, Elaine writes for What’s on TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite Week and covering a variety of programs from gardening and wildlife to documentaries and drama.


As well as active involvement in the WTW family’s social media accounts, she has been known to get chatty on the red carpet and wander into the odd podcast. 

After a day of previewing TV, writing about TV and interviewing TV stars, Elaine likes nothing than to relax… by watching TV.