'Call the Midwife' star Stephen McGann reveals personal heartache behind the season 11 finale

Stephen McGann as Dr Turner in Call the Midwife
Stephen McGann as Dr Turner in Call the Midwife. (Image credit: (C) Nealstreet Productions)

Call the Midwife season 11 came to a dramatic end last night (Sunday, Feb. 20) as the team at Nonnatus House pulled together in epic fashion to deal with a huge train crash that saw lives lost while others were changed forever. 

But amongst the hard-hitting storylines, Call the Midwife star Steven McGann, who is best known to fans as Dr. Patrick Turner has revealed that he has a particularly personal connection to one plot in particular. 

While everyone was relieved that Dr Turner and Sister Julienne, who had both found themselves caught up in the train tragedy, walked out of the wreckage alive, there were others who weren't so lucky. 

Call the Midwife season 11 - final episode

It was touch and go as to whether Dr Turner and Sister Julienne would pull through last night.  (Image credit: BBC)

Alongside the train drama was another storyline, which featured a 15-year-old mother who discovered she was pregnant with her second child.

Carole Reece (Ellie-May Sheridan) was a child who had grown up in care and ended up in the family way after seeking love and attention from anyone who would give it. But while Carole was already raising her firstborn, last night's episode saw her give birth to a second, child, this time a daughter.

However, sadly Carole's baby was born too early and she was stillborn, leaving the teenager heartbroken. As always, the show dealt with the hard-hitting storyline with perfection, even down to what happened to Carole's baby after she was born.

The Call the Midwife storyline revealed that with Carole's baby being so premature she wouldn't have been given a funeral or a proper burial, and it was common at that time for little ones to be buried with another deceased person as a way to make sure they had a proper final resting place.

Call the Midwife Carole

Sister Frances helped give Carole's baby the burial she deserved.  (Image credit: BBC)

In the story, Sister Frances saw that Carole's daughter was placed in the coffin of Dorothy Carnie (Stephanie Jacob), one of the victims of the train crash and actor Stephen has revealed that the same thing has happened in his family in the past.

He shared with Call the Midwife fans on Sunday night some heartfelt words: "Some personal context to tonight's #CallTheMidwife ep. I've been in a deadly disaster myself. It's cruel, but ordinary in its cruel lottery. Absolutely part of life. Also, my mum lost twins like Carol. My brothers. They were placed in a coffin with a stranger."

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Many fans were quick to send their support, condolences, and to share their own experiences of similar things happening in their family history. Viewers were also quick to point out this is why Call the Midwife is such a brilliant show, highlighting important issues and reminding those who have suffered that they're not alone. 

And there is good news for Call the Midwife fans because the show will be back at Christmas, likely on Christmas Day if previous years are anything to go by, and season 12 is set to air in early 2023. 

You can catch up on all seasons of Call the Midwife on BBC iPlayer now. 

Call the Midwife season 11 will air in the US on PBS at a later date.

Claire Crick
Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch

Claire is Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch and has been a journalist for over 15 years, writing about everything from soaps and TV to beauty, entertainment, and even the Royal Family. After starting her career at a soap magazine, she ended up staying for 13 years, and over that time she’s pulled pints in the Rovers Return, sung karaoke in the Emmerdale village hall, taken a stroll around Albert Square, and visited Summer Bay Surf Club in sunny Australia. 

After learning some tricks of the trade at websites Digital Spy, Entertainment Daily, and Woman & Home, Claire landed a role at What’s On TV and whattowatch.com writing about all things TV and film, with a particular love for Aussie soaps, Strictly Come Dancing and Bake Off

She’s interviewed everyone from June Brown — AKA Dot Cotton — to Michelle Keegan, swapped cooking tips with baking legend Mary Berry backstage at the NTAs, and danced the night away with soap stars at countless awards bashes. There’s not a lot she doesn’t know about soaps and TV and can be very handy when a soapy question comes up in a pub quiz! 

As well as all things soap-related, Claire also loves running, spa breaks, days out with her kids, and getting lost in a good book.