Call the Midwife: Jenny Agutter discusses clothes on the show
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Call the Midwife fans have grown fond of Doctor Patrick Turner, who works alongside the midwives and nurses in Poplar, since his arrival on the BBC period drama. The general practitioner, played by Stephen McGann, gets rushed off his feet in the show’s Christmas special to help those in need. Ahead of the festive special airing, Stephen detailed filming a particularly worrying medical moment involving actual leeches.
The special centres on Lucille Anderson (played by Leonie Elliot) and Cyril Robinson’s (Zephryn Taitte) winter wedding which involves the use of leeches.
During the feature-length episode, bride-to-be Lucille suffers a facial injury and fears her big day could be ruined.
Doctor Turner attempts to come to the rescue using unconventional leech therapy to suck the wound clean and aid healing – but will it work?
Actor Stephen revealed filming with the leeches, which were often used by Victorian doctors, was incredibly difficult.
The 58-year-old explained: “It was very funny when we came to do it because we thought, ‘Right OK leeches’.
“They were medical-grade leeches that came in a jar with a leech wrangler – there are jobs in this world you didn’t realise you could do.”
To handle the leeches, Stephen had to use a pair of tweezers to get hold of them before holding them over Leonie’s face.
“You grab a leech in the middle and leeches are quite autonomous things and alive in every part of their bodies,” he added.
“Of course, I picked this thing up and pretended to put it on her face.”
However, the star said he was concerned about what would happen if he accidentally handled the leeches incorrectly.
Stephen admitted: “It could have gone very wrong and it was very funny as they had more care taken of than the actors.”
Call the Midwife viewers will have to wait until the episode airs to find out how Lucille injured herself and the reason Doctor Turner used leeches.
The special is filled with highs and lows as well as “more births than ever” at Nonnatus House.
Talking about his favourite part of the episode, Stephen said: ” I loved seeing the women get tipsy and it was lovely to see the Christmas wedding and also the trajectory of it and all the obstacles involved.”
Series 11, which begins with the Christmas special, is set in 1967 and Stephen recalled being unwell as a child during that year.
He said: “I remember I was a sickly child. I was in the hospital all the time as a kid. I had all sorts of sinus trouble.
“They would take you into hospital for a week as they do on Call the Midwife.
“Even just for a quick sinus washout, you’d be there for a week. The NHS I remember as this tiny child is the one we’ve got in Call the Midwife.
“I can remember the nurses and the clank of the trays as they brought them around in the hospitals – which look like our hospitals.
“The most arresting thing is my earliest memory of being in hospital when I was a young child.”
The Call The Midwife Christmas special airs on Christmas Day at 8pm on BBC One.
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