Interview with CALL THE MIDWIFE star JENNIFER KIRBY, who appears as Valerie. She discusses Series 7, the National Television Awards and acting alongside Linda Bassett.
Series Seven picks up from the Christmas Special, which was set during the Big Freeze of 1963, and it has tons in store for the midwives. Also starring in the show is Jenny Agutter, Judy Parfitt and Helen George.
Kirby says you can expect a lot to happen, “I’ve seen bits and pieces and it really looks incredible. Every episode is beautiful, forthright and powerful in its own way. It is getting a little further into the sixties now, so the fashion and music are phenomenal. You can look forward to a new midwife and the Turners getting an au pair.”
Introduced in Series 6, Kirby’s character Valerie is still a newcomer. “She has so far tackled one complicated case in the episode focusing on female genital mutilation. We also saw her confidence shaken by what happened in The Christmas Special.”
“We will definitely see the aftermath of that in Series 7 because it causes her to open up more, and we find out about her story before she joined Nonnatus (home to the nuns). Valerie will form a firm bond with the new midwife Lucille (Leonie Elliott) and we see that friendship develop.”
“She helps run a kids dancing class for a while! She will be part of a beauty pageant. You will see her deal with a case in which there are complications. We see many sides to her character.”
Jennifer recently described her character as brave, on the ball and passionate. So what scene shows this best? “There is an episode in the upcoming series in which Valerie runs what is effectively a sex education class for teenage girls. At the time this would have been quite revolutionary.”
“There was definitely an eagerness to keep girls innocent, but Valerie is determined. She thinks it is incredibly important that young women should be educated in this way.”
Call The Midwife began in 2012, and has been nominated for Best Drama at the National Television Awards on three separate occasions (2014, 2017 and 2018). Though what makes it so successful? “The show is warm and comforting, but it also sheds light on a lot of tough and sometimes uncomfortable issues.”
“It’s truly brave and doesn’t shy away from anything. It is beautifully made, with a lot of care and love from every member of the crew. It’s also female led with a strong emphasis on female empowerment – people want to see those stories told.”
Jennifer also saved special praise for Linda Bassett (Nurse Crane). “I’ve been a fan of Linda for many years, and she exceeds every expectation.”
“Not only is she one of the finest actors we have, she is also one of the kindest person I’ve ever met. She cares deeply about the character and is always developing her further. Her care and innovation inspire me.”
Telly Binge spoke to Jennifer Kirby in January 2018. Follow her official Twitter for updates.