If you’re a regular reader of Tea Time Tidbits, you’ll know by now that many of the actors we enjoy watching are highly trained in their craft and when not working on a television series, they can be found treading the boards. Right now one of my favorite actresses, Linda Bassett who plays Queenie Turrill in Lark Rise to Candleford and Phyllis Crane in Call the Midwife is doing exactly that. Bassett is currently appearing in a play at the Royal Court Theatre in London called Escaped Alone, by Caryl Churchill.
The playwright Churchill was very instrumental in Bassett’s career, as it was her play Fen back in the early 1980s that really kick-started Bassett’s career. Before then, the closest Bassett had come to appearing in the West End was as an usher at the Old Vic. (For more about Bassett’s acting career, click here.
Escaped Alone stars just four characters: all women supposedly in their 70s. Joining Bassett, who falls short of her character’s supposed age by about a decade, in the play is June Watson, who plays Mary in The Café and a couple of other actors you might recognize; Kika Markham, who played Lois Selfridge in Mr. Selfridge and Deborah Findlay who appeared in Cranford, Foyle’s War and Midsomer Murders. This isn’t the first time that Bassett has appeared with a primarily female cast; she was in Calendar Girls, and also did an all-female season at Shakespeare’s Globe in 2003. As Call the Midwife fans know, there’s also not a lot of guys around in Nonnatus House, where Bassett’s Nurse Crane character resides!
Talking of Call the Midwife, we’ve got the fifth series coming up in a few weeks – stock up on your hankies! I hear it’s more of a tear jerker than usual. The show has now entered the 1960s, which was a time of big social changes and advances in medicine. 1961, when series 5 takes place, is the year that the drug thalidomide was banned. Thalidomide was prescribed by well-meaning doctors, such as the character Dr. Turner, for expectant mothers to alleviate their morning sickness. Its effects were devastating and resulted in about 2,000 babies being born with missing, or mis-formed limbs. Of that number less than 25% have survived. Call the Midwife Season 5 takes the brave step of highlighting the issue.
We’ll let you know as soon as we have an air date for the new season of Call the Midwife. In the meantime, if you want to catch up on the entire series, set your recorders for Wednesday, March 2nd at 2am: that’s when we start airing the show weekdays on MPT2.
The Café airs Wednesdays at 1pm on MPT and Saturdays at 9:30pm on MPT2.
Lark Rise to Candleford airs weekday afternoons on MPT at 4:30pm.
To contact Heather:
Address: Afternoon Tea
Maryland Public Television
11767 Owings Mills Blvd.
Owings Mills, MD 21117