Georgia Humphreys finds out what the snowy scenes were like to film, why the period drama remains so popular and what we can expect from future series.

THIS YEAR'S CALL THE MIDWIFE FESTIVE SPECIAL COVERS THE BIG FREEZE - HOW DID YOU FIND FILMING?

It was wonderful [on set]. We had all the icicles, we had snow around - it really looks amazing. It's not easy to do because it's a big production - there was a lot of work around the snow. Also, it's blindingly white, so if the sun comes out you can't really see. You have to wear glasses because of the light reflecting off it everywhere!

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DO YOU HAVE MEMORIES OF THE BIG FREEZE YOURSELF?

I was living in Cyprus, and I came over to boarding school at that time. I remember this icicle hanging off the roof, and having to wear all the clothes one possibly could because there was no way they could make the school warm.

YOU FILMED THE FESTIVE SCENES IN MAY - HOW WAS THAT?

We like to do everything completely out of order! So, we did have a bit of sunshine - but it looks lovely. And actually, part of the reason it stayed frozen was because the skies were quite clear. If it was heavy and cloudy, it [the snow] would have been melting.

WHAT DO WE SEE THE MIDWIVES DEALING WITH IN THE CHRISTMAS EPISODE, OTHER THAN LOTS OF SNOW?

We've got a pretty heavy-hitting story, because [historic] child abuse comes into it. But all of our Christmas episodes have had quite difficult things in them. The difficulty with this is that something like [historic] child abuse leaves such a lot behind it; you can't repair that damage. You can just show a community that supports somebody. But it is a shocking story to read.

DO YOU FIND IT HARD NOT TO TAKE THE DIFFICULT STORY LINES HOME WITH YOU?

I work anyway with Action For Children; mainly projects that are to do with youth homelessness, but they deal a lot with abuse, whether it's sexual abuse or physical abuse. Most young people end up on the street, not because it seems like a more romantic life, but because they're running away from something ghastly. So, when I get a story like this, it actually deeply affects me, because it rings very true.

WHY DO YOU THINK CALL THE MIDWIFE REMAINS SO POPULAR?

There's always the possibility of a better future when a child is born. Unless they're born into terrible circumstances - but you're always hoping that that child will have a better world, a better place, a better life. And they bring huge hope, it's just gorgeous. That, plus the fact we are moving through time. Young people look at it as very much a period piece, older people look at it and remember the times; I'm hearing music now that I heard when I was first at boarding school.

WHAT IS IT ABOUT HEIDI THOMAS' WRITING FOR CALL THE MIDWIFE THAT WORKS SO WELL?

The stories are extremely strong that Heidi puts together - they are very honest and really dramatic. They portray that people can overcome difficulties and, at times when we are actually facing quite a lot of difficulties, it's quite reassuring to go, 'OK, if our governments fail us, if finances fall apart, in the end it's human nature, human resources, human kindness, humanity's desire to live and share that actually makes it work'.

AFTER THE FESTIVITIES ARE OVER, SERIES 7 STARTS NEXT YEAR. CAN WE EXPECT NEW CAST MEMBERS?

We've got Lucille [the first West Indian midwife to feature as a regular character, portrayed by Leonie Elliott] arriving in episode one, which is lovely. Although we've had many people in the community from different places, we haven't actually had someone that we've employed. But, of course, that time is absolutely right, because they were bringing a lot of people over from the Commonwealth to join medical services. And that has thankfully continued, which is wonderful.

WE KNOW THERE ARE GOING TO BE AT LEAST THREE MORE SERIES OF CALL THE MIDWIFE. SO WHAT WILL WE SEE THE SHOW COVER NEXT?

The exponential changes in science and the arts, and then into society, were enormous in the Sixties. All that stuff that had been held back in the War, was really starting to burst out. As we get further into the Sixties, one will really see the effect of those changes in Poplar. So it's quite exciting!

  • Call The Midwife Christmas Special will air on BBC One over the Christmas period. Christmas Day, 7.40pm