Dr. Patrick Turner — our guide to the Call the Midwife character

Stephen McGann as Dr Patrick Turner.
Dr Patrick Turner is played by Stephen McGann. (Image credit: BBC)

Dr. Patrick Turner is a long-running character on BBC's Call the Midwife, and is the GP who works very closely with the nurses and midwives at Nonnatus House. 

First introduced in the pilot episode, Dr. Turner has been a regular cast member ever since, and has been at the centre of many of the show's biggest storylines. He has appeared in every episode to date, apart from the fourth instalment in season one.

A huge favourite amongst the Call the Midwife fans, Patrick has become something of an icon. His kind and caring nature means he's deeply respected by everyone around him.

Patrick has a brush with death in series 11 when he's involved in a train crash and trapped inside the carriage alongside Sister Julienne. He sustains a head injury and broken wrist, but thankfully lives to tell the tale after son Timothy rescues him.

Dr. Turner is returning to duty for this year's Call the Midwife 2022 Christmas special and Call the Midwife season 12, so here's everything you need to know about the character...

Who plays Dr. Patrick Turner?

Dr. Patrick Turner is played by Stephen McGann, who born on 2nd February 1963, and grew up in Kensington, Liverpool. Stephen's father Joe was a Royal Naval Commando and his mother Clare worked as a teacher.

He has three brothers — Paul, Mark, and Joe, all of whom are actors, and a younger sister named Clare. Joe has starred in Hollyoaks, and Paul is best known for his role in cult movie Withnail and I, and portraying the eighth incarnation of the Doctor in the Doctor Who television film. 

Stephen's has enjoyed a successful career on stage and screen, and his previous roles include playing Mickey in the West End hit musical Blood Brothers, and the character of Sean Reynolds in Emmerdale. He's also starred in The Bill, Doctors and Grushko.

Stephen McGann as Dr Turner in Call the Midwife

Dr. Patrick Turner is played by Stephen McGann. (Image credit: (C) Nealstreet Productions)

Dr. Patrick Turner's personality

Dr. Patrick Turner's exemplary bedside manner and desire to help his patients means he has a great working relationship with everyone at Nonnatus House. 

Patrick has suffered tragedy in his life, losing his first wife Marianne Parker Turner to cancer in 1957. After her death, Patrick became a single father to their son, Timothy, who is following in his father's footsteps by training to become a doctor. 

He is a good father to his children and tries his best to juggle his responsibilities of being a parent with his demanding job of caring for the community of Poplar.

In an interview with PBS, Stephen McGann described his character as: "Enthusiastic, flawed and good. Enthusiastic, because of how much of a firebrand he is, always trying to make things better. He adores his work and never stops. Flawed, because he’s not a perfect person, he makes mistakes."

Dr. Patrick Turner's relationship with Shelagh Turner (formerly Sister Bernadette)

In series two, Patrick marries Shelagh Turner after the two develop feelings for one another. Shelagh was formerly known as Sister Bernadette, before making the decision to renounce her vows and stop being a nun. Patrick and Shelagh marry in the 2013 Christmas Special, but the day takes a dramatic turn when Patrick's son Timothy contracts polio. He manages to recover in time for the wedding, but he had to wear braces.

Following the wedding, Shelagh discovers she's unlikely to ever carry a child of her own, although Patrick doesn't seem as distraught as his new wife. The couple adopt a daughter named Angela, and in season six, Shelagh discovers she's pregnant despite previously being told her chances of conceiving were low.

At the end of the season, Shelagh gives birth to the couple's son who they name Edward Patrick Turner, more affectionately known as Teddy.

Max Macmillan and Stephen McGann in Call the Midwife.

Dr. Patrick Turner with his son Timothy. (Image credit: Neal Street Productions)
Laura Morgan
Freelance writer

Laura has been a journalist for over a decade, writing about soaps, TV entertainment, fashion, beauty, and food. After graduating from university, she started her career working at a national soap and TV magazine. During her seven-year stint there she joined the cast of Emmerdale for a tour around the famous village, partied with soap stars at awards bashes, interviewed her acting idol David Suchet, and sat in the front row of Strictly Come Dancing

Her heart lies with the soaps, and her all-time favourite character has to be EastEnders' Pat Butcher - no one rocked a big earring quite like her. She's also a huge fan of detective crime dramas, particularly old school Inspector Morse, Endeavour, and adaptations of Agatha Christie's Marple and Poirot. When she's not writing, she loves a spot of second-hand shopping and going on adventures with her young son.