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Call the Midwife’s Laura Main is Alright with Anonymity

On “Call the Midwife,” Laura Main has triumphed as Shelagh Turner, a kind-hearted nurse, wife and mother. Shelagh knows how to adapt on the fly to challenging health matters that spring up in Poplar, all the while remaining true to her beliefs and family.  

Like many of the actresses on “Call the Midwife,” Main looks drastically different off screen than she does when the camera is rolling. Largely seen in spectacles, light makeup pulled back hair and at one time a wimple, some would not have the easiest time identifying Main if she happened to be walking past them on the street.

As it turns out, there was once a time in Main’s “Call the Midwife” tenure that even those who worked for the BBC (the company that produces the series), as well as people she’s close with, didn’t know that it was her playing Shelagh.

“I was at a BBC drama launch with Jenny Agutter (Sister Julienne) and she kept having to point out to people that I was in the show too,” reflected Main during an interview with The Daily Mail. “Even people I know, people I’ve worked with, have told me a year or so later that they’d watched ‘Call The Midwife’ and not known it was me. The wimple changes you.”

Although Main doesn’t appear to be negatively phased by her relative anonymity, she received the thrill of a lifetime when Scottish singer, Lulu, enthusiastically recognized her.

“I was used to that kind of anonymity,” continued Main. “Then I was introduced to Lulu at a book launch and she said, ‘You don’t need to tell me who Laura is!’ And I thought, ‘Yes! Who cares if I don’t get recognized as long as Lulu knows who I am!’”

This week on the “Call the Midwife” Season 5 finale (Wednesday, January 5 at 9pm ET/6pm PT), The Turners receive news that the drug thalidomide, which the doctor had regularly prescribed for women suffering from morning sickness, has been withdrawn after being linked with birth deformities of the kind observed in recent months in Poplar. Dr. Turner must deal with his own guilt as he and Shelagh, with the help of Phyllis and Patsy, begin an effort to link the drug to the affected patients. Elsewhere, a young man, recently returned to Poplar, makes haste to marry his Australian fiancée before the arrival of their baby, at just the wrong time.

-Adam Grant