Call the Midwife star Laura Main on why the show is ground-breaking

Call the Midwife Shelagh Turner
(Image credit: BBC / Nealstreat Productions)

'These women aren't defined by their relationships,' says the Call the Midwife actress

Call the Midwife star Laura Main has revealed why she thinks the hit show is ground-breaking as it approaches almost 10 years on screen.

The 40-year-old, who plays Shelagh Turner, says the fact that the cast is dominated by women is ground-breaking in its own right.

Speaking ahead of Call the Midwife 2021, which starts this Sunday, Laura says: “There are one or two men around, but it is about a bunch of women and, more importantly, a bunch of women who get on with each other, who are supportive and collaborate with each other.

"Also, these women aren't defined by their relationships. The other massive, massive strength of Call the Midwife is that it isn't trying to be anything else. It is its own thing. People understood that and took to it immediately. I'm also really, really proud of the fact that the show champions the NHS, and it celebrates nurses and midwives."

Call the Midwife 2021

Finally, they're back!

Laura, who has been with the show since the first episode aired in 2012, goes on to say how much life has changed for her character.

“What hasn't changed? The obvious things. She's no longer a nun, and now she's married. She's had a biological child that she didn't think she could have. And she's a step-mum and a foster parent.

"But the main thing is that she is just got more and more confident and comfortable in her life. She is just so utterly content and has a great job that she loves, and a really, really wonderful family, and great partner in Dr Turner. So it's quite a contrast from the unassuming, quiet, quite shy nun she was right back at the beginning."

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Talking about what happens in episode one of the new series, she adds: “Shelagh has got friends and neighbours who are both heavily pregnant and expecting at the same time. For one of those women, it's her second baby. But the other one had previously been trying and trying and still had no baby. So she felt really sad because next door had a baby, but nothing was happening for her. But now they can share being pregnant together. And that's been really lovely."

Call the Midwife returns on Sunday 18 April at 8pm on BBC1 (see our TV Guide for full listings).

David Hollingsworth

David is the What To Watch Editor and has over 20 years of experience in television journalism. He is currently writing about the latest television and film news for What To Watch.

Before working for What To Watch, David spent many years working for TV Times magazine, interviewing some of television's most famous stars including Hollywood actor Kiefer Sutherland, singer Lionel Richie and wildlife legend Sir David Attenborough. 

David started out as a writer for TV Times before becoming the title's deputy features editor and then features editor. During his time on TV Times, David also helped run the annual TV Times Awards. David is a huge Death in Paradise fan, although he's still failed to solve a case before the show's detective! He also loves James Bond and controversially thinks that Timothy Dalton was an excellent 007.

Other than watching and writing about telly, David loves playing cricket, going to the cinema, trying to improve his tennis and chasing about after his kids!