How will the distraught midwife cope when her abortionist grandmother ends up in court?
Valerie Dyer’s world came crashing down last week in Call the Midwife when she made the shock discovery that her own grandmother, Elsie, was the woman who’d been carrying out backstreet abortions in Poplar.
“Valerie’s devastated,” says Jennifer Kirby, who plays her. “Everything she thought she knew about her life has been turned upside down. It’s not just that Elsie has unwittingly hurt these women, it’s also the fact that Val has been lied to for a long time. The person she trusts most in the world hasn’t been truthful.”
As much as it pains her, Valerie knows she must tell the police about what her gran Elsie (Ann Mitchell) has been up to.
“Val knows that Elsie was meaning to help and that, if the laws were different, they wouldn’t be in this horrible situation and the women wouldn’t have been injured in this way,” says Jennifer. “Although Val has had no part in what’s happened, she feels great guilt.”
As if Val’s not feeling bad enough, a local resident has a go at her for being disloyal to her family and Lucille is forced to step in…
“Lucille and Trixie are Val’s best friends,” says Jennifer. “It is possible Val won’t have a family in the same way as before, so they’re her family now.”
As the case is brought to court in this week’s series finale, will Elsie be found guilty and sent to prison?
Elsewhere, the nuns and midwives attend a charity ball. “It was lovely to have that break from the heaviness, although Val isn’t in the dancing mood – she’s putting on a brave face,” says Jennifer. “Helen George is the best dancer – but Stephen McGann is the best dad dancer by a long shot!”
Call the Midwife concludes on BBC1 this Sunday at 8pm.