Newlywed Shelagh, formerly Sister Bernadette, is given devastating news in Call the Midwife, shattering her hopes and dreams for the future…

“Shelagh discovers she’s unable to have children because of the effects Tuberculosis has had on her body,” reveals Laura Main, who plays her. “It’s a devastating blow, as she’s dreamed of her and Patrick having their own child to add to their family with Timothy.”

Having given up her life as a nun at Nonnatus House to marry widowed doctor Patrick Turner, Shelagh has been excited about having a baby of her own and Shelagh has even been knitting in anticipation of a new arrival.

This week, Shelagh’s thrilled when she thinks she’s pregnant. But a test comes back negative, and Shelagh is convinced something is wrong. Her doctor husband arranges for specialised tests in Harley Street, only for the results to bring heartbreaking news.

“This is her biggest challenge. Shelagh gave up being a nun for a number of reasons, but I think a big part of that was a desire for a family,” explains Laura, who recently starred in BBC daytime drama Father Brown.

“She’s surrounded by women giving birth and is at an age where it became an urge she could no longer resist. She has no regrets, but she’s a bit lost. Her life has changed so much and hasn’t turned out as she dreamed.”