Soap fans will recognise a familiar face in Sunday's Call the Midwife, as one-time Coronation Street favourite Paula Lane plays a mum-to-be whose daughter is showing symptoms of a rare medical condition.
Expectant mum Vera Sands’ pregnancy is progressing well but Sister Julienne (Jenny Agutter) is concerned about Vera’s four-year-old daughter Elaine, who’s still in nappies and doesn’t appear to be developing like other children her age.
Sister Julienne confides in Dr Turner (Stephen McGann) and, as he examines Elaine, Vera admits she suspected her daughter had a problem but was hoping she would grow out of it…
“I think Vera sees it that she's failed," reveals actress Paula Lane — better known as Corrie's Kylie Platt — who plays Vera. "I think she really blames herself and is not really wanting to admit to herself that there’s something wrong with Elaine. It's easier to just shy away from it."
Dr Turner arranges for Elaine to have tests to determine what might be causing her issues. When Elaine is then diagnosed with a rare illness — which could have been detected with a simple test after she was born — Vera’s attentions then turn to the baby she’s carrying…
"When it’s confirmed, Vera has then got this major concern that maybe her unborn child will be suffering from the same condition as well," says Paula. "So there's a whole host of emotions going on for her. It's heartbreaking."
Although Paula — who played Corrie’s Kylie until the character was sensationally killed off in 2016 — describes working on Call the Midwife as "a wonderful experience", it seems she couldn’t wait to ditch the giant prosthetic bump she had to wear as pregnant Vera.
"The bump was so uncomfortable," she reveals. "You automatically arch your back and you find yourself waddling. I was like: 'I don't want to go back to wearing this thing ever again!'"
Call the Midwife continues Sundays at 8pm on BBC1.
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