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Frederick "Fred" Buckle — our guide to the 'Call the Midwife' character

Frederick "Fred" Buckle in Call the Midwife.
Frederick "Fred" Buckle is a firm Call the Midwife favourite. (Image credit: BBC)

Frederick "Fred" Buckle is a key character in Call the Midwife, as he is the caretaker of Nonnatus House and is responsible for maintaining the building and carrying out odd jobs on site. He has appeared in almost every episode of the series to date, and hails from the East End of London. He spends a lot of time surrounded mainly by women, due to the number of nuns and midwives who work at Nonnatus House.

When actor Cliff Parisi was asked by PBS about working on a female-centric show, he replied: "I haven’t got a clue what they’re talking about half the time. It’s a woman’s world on set and I don’t have anyone to talk to about football – I’m at the mercy of the nuns and nurses! Occasionally all the men are in together and we have a lad’s day but we’re like a family now so it’s all great fun."

Here's everything you need to know about Fred Buckle...

Who plays Frederick "Fred" Buckle?

Fred is played by Cliff Parisi, who is known for his role as Minty Peterson in BBC soap EastEnders. He left the soap in 2010 and has also starred in Casualty, Bramwell, Kiss Me Kate and Kavanagh QC.

In an interview with Good Morning Britain, he reflected on his career and how he's spent quite a lot of time playing one role. He said: "They're lovely jobs aren't they? When you're working with nice people and you're getting good scripts, why leave?"

Frederick "Fred" Buckle's personality

Fred is the kind of character who's always keeping busy and getting involved with projects. In the evenings he volunteers as a scout leader and as a deputy party leader for the Civil Defence Corps, having once served in the British Army. His time in the army was a difficult one as his first wife Betty died during the war, leaving him grief-stricken. 

He is generally a kind and warm hearted character, though he struggles to be accepting of homosexuality when Tony Amos, a member of the Defence Corps, is revealed to be gay. However, he does seem to have some sympathy for Tony, despite following the opinions of the time that gay men and women were "criminals". 

In addition to this, Fred had a difficult childhood and spent it without shoes, as his father was more interested in the pub than providing for his family. As a result of this, Fred vowed to always provide for his own family should he have one. 

Frederick "Fred" Buckle's relationships

Fred was a widower for 20 years, but in Call the Midwife we see him meet and fall in love with Violet Gee, a shopkeeper who is also widowed. He proposes to her and she accepts, but their relationship is off to a rocky start as Fred's daughter Marlene isn't happy about the news and tries to intervene. After causing Violet to believe Fred is marrying her for financial security, and not love, the engagement is briefly called off. However, Marlene comes to her senses and realises she has been selfish, so visits Violet to explain the situation, and emotionally declares that "my mum would tan my hide" if she let her father be unhappy.

Violet and Fred end up getting married, but complications arise in Season 6 after Fred's cousin passes away, leaving her adult son Reggie Jackson alone. Reggie has Down Syndrome and finds it difficult to function on his own, so Fred takes him under his wing. This causes some tension between him and new wife Violet, who believed they'd be unable to care for him properly.

However, Fred and Violet both grow close to Reggie, where they cared for him until eventually making the difficult decision that it would be easier for him to be around people his own age in a group home. Despite moving away, Reggie still visits Fred and Violet.

Fred's relationships with his daughters

Fred has two daughters; Marlene and Dolly. As mentioned above, his relationship with Marlene became complicated after revealing his engagement to Violet, but things calmed down once she realised the error of her ways. As for Dolly, she visits Fred while heavily pregnant, and it is revealed she has pre-eclampsia, causing her to be admitted into the maternity home.

While Dolly is in the home, Fred looks after Dolly's toddler until she gives birth. She eventually welcomes a baby girl, Fred's second grandchild. Whilst their relationship isn't explored in a huge amount of depth, it's clear that Fred really cares for both of his daughters.