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Call the Midwife’s Laura Main: I feel so lucky getting to do what I love… and with the people I love

Call the Midwife star Laura Main.
Call the Midwife star Laura Main.

Call The Midwife star Laura Main is making dreams come true in her role as the Fairy Godmother this Christmas.

But the popular actor has already had her own wishes granted for the festive season.

The 38-year-old, who plays former nun Shelagh Turner in the BBC Sunday night drama, is back in Aberdeen for an extended two-month stay while she appears in panto at His Majesty’s, the theatre where her career began.

Being able to spend so much time in her home city, while also doing what she loves, is the perfect scenario for the star.

“I’m always on the move, going wherever the work is, but I live in London,” Laura explained.

“That’s where we film Call The Midwife, and although I get up the road as much as I can to see everybody, it’s never been for a period as long as this.

“It’s been that way ever since I left home to go to drama school. I come up often, but there’s always something pulling me back.

“I always hope to be home for Christmas, but last year I was in Leeds with Shrek The Musical. The year before I was in Edinburgh, again with Shrek, so I was able to go home for Christmas Day.

“This year, though, I was back in Aberdeen before the decorations were up and it’s been really lovely.

“I’m staying at my mum and dad’s and being well looked after.

“It’s quite a unique set-up for me, to be with the people I love and also getting to do what I love.

“I’m always very envious of folk who can pop round to their parents’ place for Sunday lunch, because I don’t get to do that, so this is pretty special.”

The Cinderella panto isn’t the only time she’s been in Scotland for work this year.

Call The Midwife’s festive special, which goes out on Christmas Day, was filmed on the Outer Hebrides in March.

The Nonnatus House midwives swap Poplar for the Scottish islands after Mother Mildred (Miriam Margolyes) believes she has been called by God to set up a clinic there.

“It was an amazing experience getting to film up there for two weeks,” continued Laura.

“I had never been before, as had none of the cast, and I fell in love with the place and its people.

“It’s wonderful to sometimes work away on location because you get to spend more time together.

“We were all put up in a castle and had meals together each night. Jenny Agutter and I had a few days off, so we did lots of touring and sightseeing. We were in places like Harris and Stornoway.

“I’ve seen the episode already and the islands look beautiful – it takes your breath away.”

She might have already seen it but there is every chance Laura, who is single, will sit down with her mum and dad, Lorna and Robert, and her sisters Rona and Julia and their families, to watch the show again on Christmas Day night.

They will be joining plenty of others in doing so, as last year’s special was the most watched Christmas Day programme with 8.7 million viewers.

Series nine will be shown in the spring and another two series have already been commissioned.

“It’s unheard of to know by the end of 2018 that we’ll be on until 2022, at least.

“Heidi Thomson still writes the scripts and it’s still made in the same way it was in 2011.

“It’s so well researched and I’m proud of the way it tackles so many important subjects and issues. We often work on the subjects with the relevant charities or experts to make sure it’s portrayed and represented properly.

“Some of the topics have never been dramatised or discussed before, and there it is at 8pm, playing to all ages.”

Watching TV will be as vigorous as it gets for Laura on Christmas Day, as she takes advantage of a rare day off in a packed panto schedule.

“I’m not sure yet whether everyone will descend on my parents’ house or if we’ll all get together another time.

“If it’s just me and my parents, I plan to do nothing but rest!”

Despite being part of a long-running ratings winner, Laura is still able to walk down the street without being spotted.

“I don’t get recognised terribly often,” she said. “I’m able to go about my business, especially in London. I’m noticed a wee bit more in Aberdeen.

“I find it’s when I start to talk that people realise who I am. It’s nice when fans of the show do recognise me and stop to talk, because they all like to share why they love the show.

“They all have different reasons, some personal, and they’re so passionate about it. When I was wearing the wimple and glasses in series one and two, people didn’t have a clue who I was, so I didn’t get to hear all of their great stories.”

Laura is just as passionate about the drama as its fans, so hopes to be a part of the show for the foreseeable future.

“As long as Call The Midwife will have me, I’ll be there.

“I feel so lucky to have been a part of it. It’s so loved but we also love making it and we enjoy each other’s company.

“We have a great bunch on the show and some of us go back almost a decade.

“It’s not common in an actor’s life to have continuity.”

While Call The Midwife feels very familiar to Laura, the same can’t be said for pantomime. Cinderella is only her second panto, having previously been part of North Devon Theatre’s show in 2012.

She is part of a strong cast that includes dancer and TV personality Louie Spence, Two Doors Down’s Joy McAvoy, Paul-James Corrigan and Sally Howitt from River City, Emmerdale’s Paul Luebke and His Majesty’s panto fave, Alan McHugh.

“It’s really exciting to be part of this, because this is where I came to see the panto growing up, and in recent years I came back with my nephews and niece,” said Laura, who made her professional debut at the theatre in The Sound Of Music when she was 11.

“It’s a great cast and even in the early read-through everyone was very funny.

“I have old school friends coming along with their kids and my family will see it a few times. This one is much easier for my parents to get to – they had to catch two flights and a train to see me in my first panto in North Devon!

“I’m also hoping to catch up with people I haven’t seen in years, maybe a surprise or two at stage door or a message on Facebook from yesteryear.

“I’m having a great time and I love being part of it.”

Cinderella, His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen, until January 5; Call The Midwife, Christmas Day, BBC1, 7pm