Call The Midwife star Laura Main has told how she made her on-screen husband wait outside the room as she filmed her character giving birth.
The Scottish actress, who plays midwife Shelagh Turner in the much-loved BBC drama, said she only let her co-star Stephen McGann in for the final moments – and even then he was to sit near her head.
“Stephen was very supportive,” she said, “but I made him stay out of the room for most scenes and kept him at the top for the last bit.”
The much-loved drama follows the lives of midwives working in East London’s Nonnatus House in the late 1950s-1960s.
It was an emotional episode for both Laura and her character following Shelagh’s fears that something would go wrong with her pregnancy.
But at the end of the series six finale, broadcast on Sunday, she delivered a healthy baby boy while sitting in the arms of her husband Dr Patrick Turner (McGann) with the help of Sister Julienne (Jenny Agutter).
Laura, 36, added she would “never forget” working on the heart-wrenching scenes.
She said: “The birth was all filmed in one very intensive day … I will never forget that day.
“I couldn’t ask friends and family for advice because it would have given it away.
— Call The Midwife (@CallTheMidwife1) February 12, 2017
“There was the added pressure that I had to play a midwife, who would be the expert, throughout all the stages of the pregnancy.”
Having never had children of her own, Main said she took tips from professional midwives and watched a number of birthing videos posted on Youtube to make sure she did the story justice.
Admitting that some of the more graphic videos had given her a heightened sense of “prudishness”, she said she would not let the experience put her off having children of her own.
The BBC recently revealed plans for a further Call The Midwife series, which will begin filming in May.
Thank you so much for the messages after a very emotional episode last week, I really appreciate getting them. Hope you can tune in at 8pm!
— Laura Main (@LauraMain1) February 19, 2017
Laura, who will return to the set just days after running the London Marathon in aid of African children’s charity Sentebale, said she was excited at the thought of working with a new baby.
Speaking about her love for the show, which has become known for its hard-hitting scenes as well as its heart-warming love stories, she added: “The programme is very educational.
“It shows us a world when we didn’t always have the knowledge to talk about certain health problems and it gives people now the encouragement to talk openly about their experiences.
“It’s very touching and thought-provocative.”
Call The Midwife series six is available on BBC DVD and BBC Store from March 20.