Former EastEnders star Cliff Parisi made a comeback to our TV screens – having left EastEnders and his role as mechanic Minty Peterson in 2012 – in hit BBC drama Call The Midwife in which he plays the part of handyman, Fred…
And today, the Daily Mirror reports that Cliff has revealed the details of a shocking set of incidents from his childhood that could easily have been penned by the Call The Midwife writers!
Cliff, who’s 52, explained that his mother Irene told him a few years ago that when he was a baby, he and his older sister were taken into care after Irene and her husband George were made homeless.
They found themselves cast out onto the streets after refusing to hand over one of their children to their landlady, who was desperate for – but couldn’t have – a child!
Cliff said of the shocking ultimatum, “She [the landlady] told Mum and Dad they couldn’t stay unless they gave her the child…
“So they had to do a deal with her just to stay in the accommodation.
“When my mum came back from hospital with me, she wouldn’t give me or my sister up so the landlady threw us all out.”
The paper adds, “Irene and George were just 17 and 18 at the time and already had Cliff’s one-year-old sister to look after.
“It was just after the Second World War and there was a housing shortage so their own families just didn’t have enough room to take them in.”
So George and Irene, and of course their children, were homeless and spent several nights sleeping rough.
Cliff said, “My parents came from big families but they were all cramped in one room…
“No one physically had the space for my parents or they would have taken them in.”
So inevitably, Cliff and his sister were taken into care, and the tale of how that happened is a harrowing one.
Cliff explained that at first, his parents tried their best to keep their children with them.
He said, “Mum and Dad jumped on a bus with us but it was chased by a police car and stopped.
“Me and my sister were ripped from their arms and they were both left sobbing by the side of the road.”
He added, “When my mum told me that story last year, I was quite upset.
“I didn’t know who I felt more sorry for, them or me. It was a bit shocking.”
Cliff makes further revelations about the real-life story in a book about the show which is entitled, The Life and Times of Call the Midwife, which is written by series writer Heidi Thomas. The book, published by Collins, is available now and priced at £20.
A new series of Call The Midwife begins on January 20th. Here’s the show’s trailer…