IT has warmed the hearts of Britain’s Sunday night TV viewers for eight series.
And Call The Midwife has become a festive blockbuster with last month’s special crowned the most-watched programme on Christmas Day for the first time, with viewing figures of 8.7 million.
Now the show’s loyal fans could well drive the stars to National Television Awards glory on Tuesday night when it’s nominated for best drama.
But actress Laura Main insists the cast never take success or their viewers for granted. Or, for that matter, their role in the show.
For a cosy 1960s period drama, the series is never afraid of giving viewers a start and the sudden departure of Charlotte Ritchie at the end of the last series was one of those moments when nurse Barbara Hereward died after contracting septicaemia.
Laura said: “We have a WhatsApp group that we are all on, from whatever series. You don’t get dropped just because you’re no longer in the programme. We’re all still friends.”
“I don’t want killed off yet,” she said.
“In fact, I don’t ever want killed off.
“Shelagh has changed over the years with the things she’s gotten to do. I’m so proud to be a part of it.
“Three more series were commissioned after series six and this is number eight, so we’ve got one more series anyway.”
Laura, 37, is grateful for the loyalty of the show’s “amazing” viewers.
“We were anxiously looking at the long list for ages and wondering if we’d make it, but they got us on to this shortlist,” she said.
“Call the Midwife did well from the opening series but it feels like it has even grown in popularity.
“They care passionately about the show and want to share that. Seeing we were the most-watched show on Christmas Day was almost humbling.
“We were genuinely excited and, really, you never lose that. We never take it for granted and the feelings the cast and crew have had since the first series has never changed. We all love it dearly.”
Two of TV’s longest-running dramas, Casualty and Doctor Who, provide the opposition, alongside Our Girl and Peaky Blinders.
Bodyguard, starring Richard Madden, and Killing Eve will do battle in the best new drama category.
Aberdeen-born Laura has been with the show since the start, initially as Sister Bernadette and now as Dr Turner’s wife, Shelagh.
A stylist has been on hand this week to help her choose the right outfit for the big night.
“I was talking about a beautiful ball gown I get to wear in one of the episodes,” revealed Laura.
“But it’s one thing having a costume designer dress you for a character and another going as yourself to something.
“It’s just nice to have a stylist helping me so I’m not doing it all on my own.
“They can be quite nerve-racking nights but at the same time you’re going along with your friends and it’s a celebration of your efforts over the year.”
Laura has kept busy with other projects away from Call the Midwife, including touring the UK as Princess Fiona in Shrek The Musical last year.
It meant, for the most part, less opportunity to get back to see her folks in Aberdeen.
“I just finished the tour last week in Leeds and my family came down to see it one last time,” added Laura. “They were there at the start when we opened in Edinburgh and I had two weeks when were in Aberdeen.
“Getting to stay with mum and dad was lovely but I was away at lot. Once I’ve got the NTAs out of the way I’ve told them I’m definitely coming up to hang out.”
The NTAs will be screened live on ITV on Tuesday. You can vote for your favourites at nationaltvawards.com
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