Call the Midwife star Laura Main on the 'devastating' finale and why she won’t be leaving the hit period drama any time soon

Nurse Barbara Hereward (Charlotte Ritchie) bowed out of Call the Midwife in harrowing style on Sunday when she succumbed to meningitis, but Laura Main, who plays doctor’s wife and efficient nurse Shelagh Turner, has no intention of leaving the hit drama.

Here, Laura Main reveals all to TV Times about this week’s moving finale of Call the Midwife which sees Barbara’s funeral and what’s in store for the next series…

TV Times: How is everyone at Nonnatus House coping after Barbara’s death?

Laura Main: “It is really sad to lose someone so young and so loved, so it’s really hard. They have to find a balance between grieving and carrying on with work, but they do buckle. The funeral this week was so sad to film and viewers will be devastated.”

TVT What will you miss about working with Charlotte?

LM: “We’ll really miss her on set. She is hilarious, a real laugh-a-minute great girl and such a witty, bright person but we’re not losing her as friend because we will all stay in touch.”

TVT Shelagh is busy arranging for patients from a closed down maternity home to be dealt with by the Nonnatus House team this week. Is that a welcome distraction?

LM: “Yes it gives her a focus but it’s bittersweet because she knows she is only back in uniform because Barbara was ill and now she is gone. But she gets everything shipshape. She’s also organising her daughter Angela’s birthday party. That was fun to film to and we got little Alice, who plays her, a real present. Alice gets so excited about being on set and playing with her big friend Laura!”

TVT So much has happened this series, what have been your highlights?

LM: “I’ve loved filming in the Turner’s swish new house! It is always entertaining being around Stephen McGann [Dr Turner] and the children and when the other cast saw that set they were envious and said, ‘Why don’t we get invited round here more often?!’”

Call the Midwife Turners

TVT What’s coming up in series eight?

LM: “It’ll be lovely to have Helen George back as Trixie. Hopefully there’ll be less snow in this Christmas special compared to the last! I haven’t read scripts yet and it’s nice to have a surprise but I know everybody will have something good to do and be challenged. It’s wonderful that we’ve been commissioned for the next series as well. Who’d have believed when we began in 2011 that we’d be talking about a series nine airing in 2020, that’s almost a decade, it’s amazing. I’ve loved going on this ride with Shelagh, it has been beyond anything I could have imagined. She has changed so much as a person over the years.”

TVT You’re currently touring as Princess Fiona in Shrek The Musical. Has it been fun to do something so different?

LM: “I’m really enjoying it but I keep finding bit of green ogre makeup still on my face! It’s so great to be acting, singing and tap dancing too. I feel very lucky that I get to take on different challenges and still play Shelagh. No way am I saying goodbye to Call the Midwife, I love being part of the show.”

Call the Midwife concludes on Sunday on BBC1 at 8pm