A Sister and a donkey on the Midwife set

Tea Time Tidbit for the week of December 31, 2018

We hope you enjoyed the Christmas Day special of Call the Midwife. As usual, filming of the episode took place in May and this year a special guest was invited to attend the filming.

Tea Time Tidbit

Sister Hilda, played by Fenella Woolgar,
chatting to Sister Margaret Angela
on the set of Call the Midwife

Sister Margaret Angela was one of the real sisters who worked at St. John the Devine in Poplar, which was the inspiration for what we know as Nonnatus House. The Community of St. John the Devine was founded in 1848 as a “nursing sisterhood”, whose members worked alongside Florence Nightingale in the Crimean War. Mainly though they worked with the people of London’s East End, until St. John the Devine was relocated to the city of Birmingham in 1976.

Tea Time Tidbit

Peter the donkey

Another visitor to the set of the Christmas Special this year was a donkey called Peter! According to Cliff Parisi, who plays Fred Buckle in the series, the sprout-eating donkey was a little mischievous. Apparently, he was perfectly behaved during the rehearsals, but when it came time to filming, Parisi’s new four legged friend would wander off.

"He ended up running circles around us”, said Parisi, “Literally! I got all tied up with his rope - it was a nightmare!"

In case you missed it, when Fred’s friend turned up with the donkey, he told friend he’d come from Clacton, which is where I happened to be spending Christmas this year and where I actually got to watch the Call the Midwife Christmas Special! Clacton, or Clacton-on-Sea to give it its full name, is a seaside town about 60 miles north east of London. It was immensely popular with Londoners back in the ‘50s and ‘60s. Especially for day trips, which invariably included a donkey ride on the beach!

Tea Time Tidbit

Helen George as Trixie

Finally, it was good to see Helen George back in the series, in the form of her character Trixie, who returned from Portofino where she’d been staying with her godmother. In real-life, George left the series, shortly before giving birth to her first child, a daughter Ivy. George’s partner, and Ivy’s father, is Jack Ashton, who played Barbara’s husband Tom Hereward. No word yet as to whether Ashton will be returning to the series, which returns in the spring.

To contact Heather:
E-mail: heather@mpt.org
Address: Afternoon Tea
Maryland Public Television
11767 Owings Mills Blvd.
Owings Mills, MD 21117

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