Call The Midwife star details how Doctor Turner was almost cut from BBC series

Stephen McGann discusses his role on Call The Midwife

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Call The Midwife’s Doctor Patrick Turner is a General Practitioner (played by Stephen McGann) who works closely with the midwives and nurses who tend to Poplar’s poorest district. The fan favourite was first introduced to fans at the end of season one and has continued to be involved in the BBC series’ most gripping storylines, but in a conversation with Alan Titchmarsh, the actor confessed his role was only intended to feature in a few episodes. 

Joining the ITV host on Love You Weekend With Alan Titchmarsh, Stephen let viewers in on a secret over the casting on the popular period drama.

Speaking about his role, Stephen confessed to the ITV presenter: “The part [of Dr Turner], as everybody knows when they see series one, wasn’t the biggest part in the thing and they couldn’t get certain actors to do it.

“The part wasn’t big enough?” Alan asked

After receiving a call from his wife Heidi, the actor was offered the role despite not having auditioned and was promised a small part while studying for his master’s degree. The writer also assumed it would only be “six parts”, according to Stephen.

“There I am in university and I get a call this [one] day from Heidi and I say, ‘Hello darling, are you in town today I thought you were casting? [she said] ‘yes, yes, we’re casting for the doctor’. 

“And I’m thinking, ‘Why is she ringing me at university?’ and she said,  ‘I’ve had an idea that maybe you could [play the doctor?’.

“I said, ‘Heidi, I’m a university student, I’ve got my dissertation coming up.’

“She said, ‘We’ve got a plan, why don’t you come in and do this little part [and we] will work around you so you can carry on being a university person.’”

He revealed: “ The immortal line was, ‘And anyway, midwives, nuns [in the] 1950s, we’ll do six parts, nobody’s going to watch it’.”

In amazement, the TV star reflected: “11 years later, here I still am.

”“Have you finished your dissertation?” Alan chuckled.

“Just about,” Stephen joked: “It’s amazing that for the first two series, I was still at University and then I finished up.

“You never know the way things are going to go,” he added.

“When it started, [it] was such a massive success, it took us by surprise. 

“Heidi didn’t know and then, of course, it started changing everything because then we got to make new stories, new things and then I became a part of it.” 

Gushing over his part as the Doctor, Stephen claimed his role was unlike any other, explaining: “It’s the most extraordinary job I’ve ever had. 

“When this job unfolded, I realised there were some elements of it, which were different from everything else I’d ever done.” 


He told the ITV presenter: “The central core of people has stayed with it because it does something beautiful and something different. 

“It’s about goodness and it’s about community and one of the strangest things is it’s often dismissed as being soft but as you will well know as a fan, it also packs a punch as well,” Stephen beamed. 

Love You Weekend by Alan Titchmarsh airs Sunday on ITV at 9:30am

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