Call the Midwife – BBC1

Call The Midwife S8 - EP6
(Image credit: BBC/Neal Street Productions)

Mother Mildred (Miriam Margolyes) returns to Nonnatus while Nurse Crane (Linda Bassett) is in hospital in this week's Call the Midwife

Mother Mildred (Miriam Margolyes) returns to Nonnatus while Nurse Crane (Linda Bassett) is in hospital in this week's Call the Midwife

There’s bad news when our favourite midwife, Phyllis, is laid up with her bad back, but we’re thrilled that Mother Mildred (Miriam Margolyes) returns to Poplar to step into the breach.

She’s soon making her presence felt by recruiting Fred as her chauffeur and causing offence to all and sundry!

Look out for the fantastic Ann Mitchell (EastEnders’ Cora) as Val’s (Jennifer Kirby) gran Elsie.

TV Times rating: *****

Call The Midwife S8 - EP6

Valerie (Jennifer Kirby) with her Auntie Elsie (Ann Mitchell)

In an exclusive interview with TV Times, Ann, 79, and co- star Jennifer, 30, describe their relationship on and off-screen…

It seems like Valerie and her grandmother Elsie get on very well. Are they very alike?

Jennifer: Yes, there are similarities between the two of them – they’re both forthright, determined and independent women.

Elsie’s very proud of Val and what she does as a nurse. Elsie is a very loving person and an interesting character.

Ann: Elsie’s very strong and pretty fiery, but also gentle. She’s lived in Poplar all her life and has worked hard and is now a widow.

She has the greatest love for her granddaughter, who’s the apple of her eye, which is beautiful to see. But we’ll get to see their relationship develop and it’s a journey for them.

What was it like working together on Call the Midwife?

Ann: It was an absolute delight and Jenny plays Val so beautifully. We had very good chemistry and a similar way of working.

We’re both very focused, and before we started filming, Jenny rang me and we had a long conversation about their relationship and our backgrounds. It was just lovely.

Jennifer: We wanted to be clued up because we are playing very close relatives and you want that familiarity to come across on screen, so we laid down stories from when Val was little.

It was a real joy to work with Ann. I’d seen her in EastEnders and the original Widows [ITV’s 1980s drama in which Ann played gangster’s widow-turned-robber Dolly Rawlins] and I knew she was a brilliant actor, so I was overjoyed to learn she was playing Elsie.

We had a real laugh together and I just love her. She’s so glam – not quite so much when she’s dressed as Elsie, but her real-life outfits are fab. In the end, I did feel a bit like she was my gran!

Ann: That’s a lovely thing to say!

Mandy Cooper
TV Times Highlights Editor

As TV Times Highlights Editor I get to hear about all the latest TV shows coming soon. Here at TVT HQ we are in the privileged position of selecting the best programmes from across all the channels and streaming platforms. Our mission is to make it easier for our readers to decide what to watch - and give them lots of choice of genres - all the latest shows, plus some nostalgic choices we call hidden gems, too. My career began with a postgraduate degree in periodical journalism (ahem, yes old school!) in 1991 and I’ve worked in TV media since 2000.