Jenny Agutter: 'The Call the Midwife Christmas special deals with hard issues'

Call the Midwife Christmas special - Jenny Agutter
(Image credit: BBC/Neal Street Productions/Soph)

Call the Midwife star Jenny Agutter reveals the moving story at the heart of the snow-filled Christmas special

This year’s festive instalment of period drama Call the Midwife sees the residents of Nonnatus House inundated with snow as they face the Big Freeze, the hardest winter for 300 years, that started just after Christmas in 1962 and lasted well into the New Year.

While there’s fun to be had for some in the wintery weather and even a panto to prepare for, the treacherous conditions mean a lack of water and other basic supplies and heart-breaking and harrowing cases that test the team’s festive spirit to the limit.

Here, Jenny Agutter, who plays Sister Julienne, tells TV Times more about the Call the Midwife Christmas special…

TV Times What cases do they deal with at Christmas?

Jenny Agutter “The wonderful thing about the Christmas episode is the extraordinary way that everyone who is in it has their own little story they’re involved with. Sister Julienne meets a lady called Mabel, played by Anita Dobson, after her husband dies and she discovers a whole history of hidden abuse. We can deal with hard issues because there is a sense of redemption that is uplifting. It reminds us that community is important.”

TVT What was it like working with Anita Dobson?

JA “Oh, she’s very funny and wonderful. Anita's one of those people that can just turn it on and off. She can be playing around and then suddenly she’s on it.”

TVT The Christmas Call the Midwife also follows the Big Freeze of 1962-1963, do you have memories of that?

JA “We really see the bad the weather in the Christmas episode. I remember it because I turned nine that Christmas and it was my first year of boarding school. I’d been living in Cyprus so it was exciting to be in England and see icicles hanging from the building. We were allowed to wear as many clothes as we could put on because it was so cold. It felt like something from the Bunty comic with all us girls stuck in the snow!”

TVT Will you watch Call the Midwife on Christmas Day?

JA “I will but where I’ll be is dictated by where my son is. It’s his birthday on Christmas Day and he’s a doctor. He wants to eat goose on the big day, which is great because we don’t have turkey curry for ages afterwards!”

Call the Midwife airs on Christmas Day at 19.40pm on BBC1

Caren Clark

Caren has been a journalist specializing in TV for almost two decades and is a Senior Features Writer for TV Times, TV & Satellite Week and What’s On TV magazines and she also writes for What to Watch.

Over the years, she has spent many a day in a muddy field or an on-set catering bus chatting to numerous stars on location including the likes of Olivia Colman, David Tennant, Suranne Jones, Jamie Dornan, Dame Judi Dench and Sir Derek Jacobi as well as Hollywood actors such as Glenn Close and Kiefer Sutherland.

Caren will happily sit down and watch any kind of telly (well, maybe not sci-fi!), but she particularly loves period dramas like Call the Midwife, Downton Abbey and The Crown and she’s also a big fan of juicy crime thrillers from Line of Duty to Poirot.

In her spare time, Caren enjoys going to the cinema and theatre or curling up with a good book.