Jenny Agutter reveals all about filming the Call the Midwife Christmas special in the Outer Hebrides
There’s an extra chill in the air this Christmas as the nuns and midwives of Nonnatus House head to the Outer Hebrides in the festive instalment of BBC1 period drama Call the Midwife.
Forthright Mother Mildred (Miriam Margolyes) takes them to the Scottish islands to set up a new branch house and clinic as there are no doctors or nurses nearby to treat the locals.
Here, Jenny Agutter, who plays stoic Sister Julienne, gives us the lowdown…
Tell us about the Christmas episode
Jenny Agutter: “This community has nothing so it’s important we go there. We’ve been living in a changing urban community in Poplar but it’s different seeing a remote community struggling to survive. It’s an interesting storyline with magical, spiritual qualities. The Outer Hebrides is like Cornwall, where I live part of the time, and you feel you’re somewhere untouched by human hands where nature is so strong.”
What was it like filming in the Outer Hebrides?
Jenny: “Stunning. I remember filming one scene by some standing stones, which was beautiful but so misty – we could hardly hear or see one another. We were looking to see if our mouths were moving! It was cold too. Laura [Main, who plays Shelagh] is from Scotland and at the airport I saw she’d packed several hot water bottles. I said, ‘Really, is that what we need?!’ And it was!”
You all stayed in a castle during filming. Was it nice to be away together?
JA: “Yes, there was something lovely about just sitting around talking – Miriam’s a wonderful raconteur – because we’re such an eclectic group from very different backgrounds.”
The Christmas episode is always a highlight in the festive schedule, will you be watching with your loved ones?
JA: “The 25th is my son’s birthday so it’s a birthday day. We have Christmas the day before so on the 25th everyone relaxes, watches the show and isn’t caught up with turkeys. But it’s heart-warming to think that so many people want to watch us!”
Call the Midwife airs on Christmas Day on BBC1 at 7pm