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Call the Midwife Roll Call: Linda Bassett (Phyllis Crane)

Almost as soon as Phyllis Crane (Linda Bassett) arrived at Nonnatus House, you could see that she was cut from a different cloth than her counterparts. Phyllis immediately presented a serious disposition and little interest in making friends. For her, patient care comes first and it doesn’t matter which toes need to get stepped on in order for the job to get done.

However, as season four continues on, a softer side of Phyllis has begun to emerge. No, Phyllis hasn’t gotten highly warm and fuzzy quite yet, but her shield is starting to come down and a more compassionate soul is beginning to reveal itself.

“Phyllis is a bit different to the rest of them, explained Bassett during an interview with What’s On TV. “She’s a self-styled spinster, a career woman and dedicated to midwifery. She’s devoted herself to her work…but there are surprises in the life of Phyllis Crane!

“Phyllis so obviously wants to make the world a better place, and is something of a campaigner,” she continued. “When [‘Call the Midwife’] first offered me the job I thought I’d be a nun. But I can’t sing, so it’s just as well I’m bossy Nurse Phyllis Crane!”

Ahead of joining the “Call the Midwife” cast and portraying such an intriguing character, Bassett appeared in several high profile films like “The Hours” (alongside Academy Award winners Meryl Streep and Julianne Moore), “Calendar Girls” and “Kinky Boots.”

So what has kept Bassett in the acting game for nearly 30 years?

“The fascinating thing about this job is that you don’t know everything about your character when you start,” said Bassett. “There’s always surprises in life so it mirrors life in that way.”

On this week’s “Call the Midwife” (Wednesday at 9pm ET/6pm PT): A young diabetic girl faces heartbreak when she falls pregnant as a result of a clandestine romance. Elsewhere, the midwives become involved with a settlement of Irish Travellers and Sister Mary Cynthia delivers her first baby since becoming a nun.

-Adam Grant