Call the Midwife is one of my favorite British telly shows, and I thought this past season was made all the better with the introduction of some new faces. One of the new characters I especially enjoyed was Nurse Phyllis Crane, played by Linda Bassett, who of course Afternoon Tea goers also know as Queenie Turrill in Lark Rise to Candleford.
The sixty-five year old Basset, who was born in Kent, is probably one of the few “un-trained” actresses on our screens. In fact, not only did Bassett not attend one of England’s prestigious drama schools, she also never actually completed college. Instead she dropped out of Leeds University after a year, in order to join a local theatre group that devised theatre for children. They performed in adventure playgrounds, at playgroups and street festivals and in schools. Although Bassett is very proud of the fact that before going to University and doing her devised theatre work, she did in fact work for London’s National Theatre at the Old Vic: as an usherette and in the catering department!
Bassett returned to London when she was 32 to make her West End debut in a Caryl Churchill play called Fen. Despite her love of Shakespeare, it took Bassett another decade to break into the Royal Shakespeare Company. Meanwhile she also did film and television work and in 1999 she got her "big break" in the film version of a play she’d starred in on stage; the comedy-drama East is East. In the film, Bassett plays the Catholic wife of a Pakistani Muslim with whom she has seven children and runs a fish and chip shop in Manchester.
Bassett’s films also include The Reader, Waiting for the Moon, and Calendar Girls. Last year, Bassett reprised her role as a “Calendar Girl” when she participated in a charity project in support of the dog rescue organization Save Dog Rescue. As well as adopting a 12-year-old Collie-mix that had been rescued from Romania, Bassett posed with the dog, whose name is Dust, for the organization’s 2015 fundraising calendar.
Although Call the Midwife has now concluded for this year, filming is already underway for season 5. No word yet though as to whether Nurse Crane will be back at Nonnatus House. I do hope so, but we’ll have to wait until next March to find out. Before then, there’ll be a brand new Christmas special airing on Christmas Day and rumor has it it’s another tear-jerker. In fact, writer Heidi Thomas recently reported that she had her husband, Stephen McGann, who plays Dr. Turner in the show, read it while she cooked the tea and found him in tears. Glad I’m not the only one!
If you've got a favorite actor you'd like to know more about let me know, drop me a line.
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