We chat to the cast of Call the Midwife on set in South Africa

2017-01-28 09:27
call the midwife

Cape Town – Call the Midwife is gearing up for the premiere of its sixth season in South Africa.

The new season continues the journey from the Christmas special in which the nuns receive an SOS call from a mission hospital in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. Under the hot sun, the Nonnatus family face some of their toughest challenges yet.

Filming took place in Cape Town, South Africa and Channel24 got to sit down with some of the cast members to chat about their experience filming in SA.

In the usually quiet town of Mamre about 30km North of Cape Town we hear orders called out from the director as we enter the hustle and bustle set of the drama series, set in the 1950s.

Local actors and actresses roam around the set, which is built around the Moravian Church, dressed in patient care attire.

Built in the 1800s the old building serves as a perfect backdrop for Hope Clinic, desperate for help from the nuns and sisters of Nonnatus House.

call the midwife

First time filming in South Africa

For most of the cast members this was their first time filming in South Africa. Charlotte Richie (Nurse Barbra Gilbert) was most impressed by the locals, "I’ve got to say the people are so friendly. 

"Culturally it’s quite different here, it’s hard to put your finger on what it is but you are aware that you are in a completely different country and in a different set up."

Linda Bassett, who plays Nurse Phyllis Crane and who has visited South Africa before adds, "Also just to be in one of the most beautiful places in the world as opposed to the ugly old studio back home. We’re working long hours but every time you sit down you realise where you are and that’s wonderful for us."

For Helen George (Nurse Trixie Franklin) filming on the beach was her favourite part. She told Channel24: "We were filming on a beach yesterday and we didn’t mind waking up at four o’clock in the morning because we knew we were going to be working on the beach and it was wonderful."

Although the cast were hard at work with filming, there was definitely some time to do touristy things as well. Adventures including "sight-seeing, eating lovely meals and going to the beach" entertained the cast in their down time.

call the midwife

A familiar place

Victoria Yeates, who plays Sister Winifred, is no stranger to South Africa.

The British actress reveals her parents got married on a beach near Pietermaritzburg and with a group of local friends continuously telling her how much she’d love it, she is definitely coming back for another visit.

She revealed: "My mum and my dad actually got married here. They got married on a beach near Pietermaritzburg and they loved it so much!

"I’ve also got friends in South Africa and they all said the same thing, ‘it will get under your skin because it’s just so beautiful’ and it is, it’s just breathtaking.

"I am definitely coming back!"

call the midwife

Working with the locals

Onscreen couple Laura Main (Shelagh Turner) and Stephan McGann (Dr. Patrick Turner) shared their experience filming with some of the locals.

The show employed more or less 900 South Africans to work on set.

"I like the local actors, they have been great and the people are just fantastic!" Stephen gushes.

For Laura it’s not only working with locals that made the experience amazing, the English actor adds, "I feel like just in this short space of time, through filming at the different locations, that I’m getting to explore and understand the country in a way that I would’ve never as a tourist and that is a great privilege."

call the midwife

Watch season 6 of Call the Midwife from Sunday, 29 January at 20:00 on BBC First channel 119 on DStv.

(Photos: Supplied by BBC)

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