After revealing that they found it hard to find enough babies young enough when filming the first series of Call The Midwife, show bosses have now found themselves inundate with possible applicants!
Heidi Thomas, who wrote the hit series based on the memoirs of the late Jennifer Worth, says she has been “bombarded” with new and pregnant mums, all wanting to be part of the action since the show’s popularity sky rocketed with 10.1 million viewers tuning in to watch Sister Julienne (Jenny Agutter) and her colleagues returned to our screens on Sunday.
Speaking to the Radio Times Thomas explained: “Newborn babies tend not to be on the books of modelling agencies, so we recruit them directly from local hospitals.
“During the first series, Call The Midwife was unknown to the masses and we sometimes struggled to explain what we were up to.
“Second time around we’ve been bombarded, with some expectant mothers calling us direct and emailing photographs.
“Nobody has actually sent us their scan pictures yet, but it’s only a matter of time.”
Heidi, who is also the pen behind Cranford and the recent remake of Upstairs Downstairs, went on to describe how much time and effort goes in to transforming those tots lucky enough to be cast into looking like realistic newborns, with makeup artists bloodying some of them with a red sugar-based colouring to make it look like they have just come out of the womb, whilst others are coated with sudocrem and oil paste to resemble the fatty coating that premature babies are commonly born with.
Not that the stars mind, as all of them have fallen a little bit in love with the babies they have to work with on the show. Jessica Raine, who plays Jenny Lee in the hit drama, says she has now got used to the often demanding task of working with babies:
“This time, Miranda got a wee-er, and I got a poo-er. But you really get used to working with babies. They’re such erratic creatures, there is nothing you can do to control them. You have to go with it and become good at acting with a baby screaming in your ear – they don’t teach you that at drama school.
“Quite rightly, you’re only allowed to work with babies for 20 minutes at a time, and their mums are never more than ten feet away. We have to take great care with them – often they’re naked and slippery. In the Christmas special, during the birth scene at the beginning, the baby decided to poo on the lovely girl giving birth. Because we needed to get the take, we just had to keep going as if it was the most wonderful thing on earth!”
Call the Midwife returns on Sunday at 8pm on BBC1/BBC1 HD
Listen to Heidi Thomas Jenny Lee Pipal Harris and Phillipa Lowthorpe talking to James Rampton about series two of Call The Midwife in the clip below: