The Version Interview... Call the Midwife's new girl, Jennifer Kirby

Call the Midwife continues to be a huge ratings hit for BBC One on Sunday nights.  The Version had an exclusive chat with new girl Jennifer Kirby, who plays Valerie.

 

Call The Midwife is a rather big deal isn’t it?

 

It definitely is, it's become almost a national institution over the past few years. It's surreal and wonderful to be part of it. 

 

Tell us about the casting process you went through?

 

I was away at the time in New York performing with the Royal Shakespeare Company (I'd also broken my foot so was spending a lot of my time with it propped up on a hotel bed... Long story), so my auditions were via tape. They sent me the script and I immediately thought what a wonderful part Valerie was and I really enjoyed being able to play her scenes. I sent many tapes over and eventually when I flew back home they collected me from the airport and I immediately went to meet with one of the Producers Annie. I found out that I'd got the part the following day.

 

There’s a large ensemble cast, mostly women of course. What’s it like on set?

 

It's so much fun. As with any set there's a fair amount of waiting around and so I had a lot of opportunities to get to know everyone. They're such a fantastic, lively, fun, clever bunch of people. And of course each episode brings a new set of characters, so there's always someone new to meet. I think with a show that focusses on the joys of friendship and love, you can't help but feel a lot of affection for the people you work alongside. 

 

Why do you think the show is so huge?  

 

It's so essentially human, and centres around themes that are universal. Love, friendship, loss, hope. They're things we can all relate to and I think the viewers do relate to it. Every week there is such an emotional connection. It's joyful because not only does it show the happiness in life, but also the sadness, and without the lows we cannot truly appreciate the beauty of the highs. 

 

How would you describe your character?

 

In Valerie I think Heidi has created a very well rounded character, she's funny, warm and takes her job incredibly seriously but she can also be a little impulsive. That's something that I'm really grateful to Heidi for, and something that I think the show is really good at. The characters are beautiful because they have flaws as well as great virtues. 

 

How would you like to see Valerie evolve?

 

I'd love to see how she evolves as a midwife and how she handles different cases, and I'd also like to see how her friendships develop with the other women in the house. 

 

Other than Holby, you’re quite new to television.  How does it compare to

working in theatre?

 

Filming is quite different to stage and I enjoy each in different ways. Filming can be a bit more of an endurance test, as it takes a while to film each scene. Someone once said to me that on stage you're always focussing on pushing your energy out to an audience and on screen your focus is on drawing the viewer in, inviting them to see what's going on inside your mind. I think that's a really good way of putting it. 

 

You’ve already achieved a lot, but what are your acting ambitions?

 

To keep doing my absolute best with what I do, whatever that may be. 

Here you go! Hope this is alright xx

 

Call The Midwife is a rather big deal isn’t it?

It definitely is, it's become almost a national institution over the past few years. It's surreal and wonderful to be part of it. 

 

Tell us about the casting process you went through?

I was away at the time in New York performing with the Royal Shakespeare Company (I'd also broken my foot so was spending a lot of my time with it propped up on a hotel bed... Long story), so my auditions were via tape. They sent me the script and I immediately thought what a wonderful part Valerie was and I really enjoyed being able to play her scenes. I sent many tapes over and eventually when I flew back home they collected me from the airport and I immediately went to meet with one of the producers, Annie. I found out that I'd got the part the following day.

 

There’s a large ensemble cast, mostly women of course. What’s it like on set?

It's so much fun. As with any set there's a fair amount of waiting around and so I had a lot of opportunities to get to know everyone. They're such a fantastic, lively, fun, clever bunch of people. And of course each episode brings a new set of characters, so there's always someone new to meet. I think with a show that focusses on the joys of friendship and love, you can't help but feel a lot of affection for the people you work alongside. 

 

Why do you think the show is so huge?  

It's so essentially human, and centres around themes that are universal. Love, friendship, loss, hope. They're things we can all relate to and I think the viewers do relate to it. Every week there is such an emotional connection. It's joyful because not only does it show the happiness in life, but also the sadness, and without the lows we cannot truly appreciate the beauty of the highs. 

 

How would you describe your character?

In Valerie I think Heidi has created a very well rounded character, she's funny, warm and takes her job incredibly seriously but she can also be a little impulsive. That's something that I'm really grateful to Heidi for, and something that I think the show is really good at. The characters are beautiful because they have flaws as well as great virtues. 

 

How would you like to see Valerie evolve?

I'd love to see how she evolves as a midwife and how she handles different cases, and I'd also like to see how her friendships develop with the other women in the house. 

 

Other than Holby, you’re quite new to television.  How does it compare to working in theatre?

Filming is quite different to stage and I enjoy each in different ways. Filming can be a bit more of an endurance test, as it takes a while to film each scene. Someone once said to me that on stage you're always focussing on pushing your energy out to an audience and on screen your focus is on drawing the viewer in, inviting them to see what's going on inside your mind. I think that's a really good way of putting it. 

 

You’ve already achieved a lot, but what are your acting ambitions?

To keep doing my absolute best with what I do, whatever that may be.

 

Call the Midwife, Sundays at 8pm on BBC One.  Catch up via BBC iPlayer.