When Nurse Barbara Gilbert (played by Charlotte Ritchie) burst onto the “Call the Midwife” scene during season four, she brought with her a fresh energy and another sizeable heart to the lovely group of women at Nonnatus House.
In season five, Barbara has become a more confident, upfront member of the Poplar community and is really coming into her own, both personally and professionally.
During an interview with The Daily Mail, Ritchie reflected on landing the role of Barbara and how superstitious she was about it at the beginning.
“When I was offered the role I thought it was too good to be true,” said Ritchie. “I didn’t tell anyone until I’d been filming for a few days – because when dreams come true it does worry me that something bad might happen. And I’ve ruined ‘Call the Midwife’ for myself because I can’t bear to see my ugly old face on it.”
What really seemed to help Ritchie along was the bond she quickly formed with a larger-than-life cast that not only made her feel welcome, but also positively surprised her along the way.
“It was strange when I went to the read-through and met all the actresses for the first time,” noted Ritchie. “It was hard to remember not to call them by their character names. I tried to be as cool as possible.”
She added: “And I loved working with the nuns. On telly they seem so good, like there is this endless purity about them, and then you’re on set with Pam Ferris, Jenny Agutter and Judi Parfitt and they’re always making rude jokes and swearing. I love being with them.”
This week on “Call the Midwife” (Wednesday, December 21 at 9pm ET/6pm PT), Thora, a middle-aged woman, is pretending to be pregnant in order to conceal the fact that her unmarried daughter is expecting a baby. The Turners go on holiday, necessitating the appointment of a locum doctor. When the locum gives bad advice over the phone to Thora, she unwittingly places her daughter’s life in danger. Trixie has to use all her skill to save the situation. A number of violent assaults take place on women in Poplar, and a key character becomes the latest victim.