Skip to main content

Phyllis Crane — our guide to the 'Call the Midwife' character

Phyllis Crane from Call the Midwife
Phyllis Crane from Call the Midwife is played by Linda Bassett. (Image credit: BBC)

Phyllis Crane is one of the nurses in Call the Midwife, and first joined the programme in Season 4. She is a private district nurse and arrives in 1960 as temporary cover for Sister Evangelina who is on sick leave at the time. She is very different from Sister Evangelina, and the two often clash throughout the series.

Nurse Crane is quite the character and refuses to conform to society's standards. She is a proud vegetarian and arrives at Nonnatus House in a Morris Minor, definitely making a statement!

If you need a recap of who Phyllis is ahead of Call the Midwife 2021, we have got everything you need to know...

Who plays Phyllis Crane?

Phyllis Crane is played by Linda Bassett, who has previously starred in Dinnerladies, Lark Rise to Candleford and the 2003 film Calendar Girls

Speaking about her role to What's on TV, she said: “Phyllis is a bit different to the rest of them. She’s a self-styled spinster, a career woman and dedicated to midwifery. She’s devoted herself to her work… but there are surprises in the life of Phyllis Crane!

“The fascinating thing about this job is that you don’t know everything about your character when you start. There’s always surprises in life so it mirrors life in that way.” 

Phyllis Crane's personality

Phyllis Crane is an incredibly forceful character, and a bit of an outcast. She doesn't follow the crowd and has very strong opinions on things that matter to her, such as her vegetarianism. 

She is a strong, career driven woman and when she first arrived at Nonnatus House, she came across as stern, uncaring and a bit of a snob. 

But her personality shifts the more time she spends working there, and she becomes more caring as she mentors the younger midwives.

We have also seen some emotional moments in Phyllis' storyline, when she faces charges for accidentally hitting a child with her car and when her best friend Barbara dies. She reads a poem at Barbara's funeral, unearthing a more compassionate side.

Phyllis Crane's family and relationships

Phyllis is a self-proclaimed spinster, but it was revealed she has had at least one relationship in the past. During World War II, she and a pilot met and there was an instant attraction between the two. He was later shot down during a fire fight, and Phyllis revealed it made her glad she had 'seized the moment' at the time.

Not a lot is known about Phyllis' family, but it is revealed that she adored her mother. She was an illegitimate child and her mother was thrown out by her own parents, with Phyllis revealing she 'did anything she could' to provide for her and raise her well. 

Phyllis is originally from Leeds and speaks with a strong Yorkshire accent.