Frankie writer regrets saying no to Call the Midwife

Lucy Gannon has said she made an error of judgment as big as turning down the Beatles by choosing not to write Call The Midwife.

The award-winning scriptwriter told the Radio Times she had the chance to work on BBC One’s runaway success, but said no.

Lucy explained: “I’d been dabbling around with ideas for a series about midwives. I took it to ITV and they said, ‘No. We don’t want a birth-of-the-week story.’

“The BBC said, ‘Well, we’re already thinking of doing a midwifery story, so do you want to do midwives or do you want to do a series about district nurses?’

“And, like the man who turned down the Beatles, I chose district nurses.”

Lucy, who wrote such hits as The Best Of Men and Soldier, Soldier, chose to write the district nurses drama Frankie (BBC1, Tuesday), which is set to be popular viewing. The series stars Torchwood’s Eve Myles (pictured) and is a subject Lucy knows well as an ex nurse and residential social worker.

Eve is hoping Frankie will make people more aware of district nurses: “When I told friends I was doing a drama about district nurses, they said, ‘Do they still exist?’ They’re the ghost of the medical profession because they’re not based on a ward or in A&E.”

Frankie’s district nurse advisor Zara Beeden said some of her strange experiences have been included in the programme. She said: “You never know what reception you’re going to get. I had a situation – it features in the series – where I’ve had to coax a patient to the door by posting biscuits through the letterbox.”


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