The creator of Call the Midwife is set to give life to new projects as she announces she is to quit the hit show.
Heidi Thomas plans to step away from the BBC drama, which has run since 2012, within the next two years to take on other work. The writer and producer says she will ease herself out of the programme.
Heidi, 56, who also wrote BBC’s Cranford, and Upstairs, Downstairs, said: “It’s like owls when they learn to fly – they wriggle along the branch and then suddenly they’re flying. I suppose that will be me in the next year or two.”
She said that the annual eight-part series and Christmas specials left her no time for other work.
“When I look at the casualties along the way, my path for the last eight years is strewn with bodies, corpses, things I was commissioned and couldn’t write.
“What I don’t want, when Call the Midwife ends, is for me to be 60 and redundant so I have to go and do yoga and polish things at church and do all the other things retired ladies do.
“I feel as though there’s a dance in the old dame yet.”
But she pledged: “I will always look after Call the Midwife.”
The drama is currently commissioned for another three series, till 2022.
Featuring a group of midwives in East London in the 50s and 60s, it stars Jennifer Kirby, 30, Helen George, 35, Leonie Elliot, 31, and Jenny Agutter, 66. Heidi is wed to Stephen McGann, 56, who plays Dr Patrick Turner on Call the Midwife.
And she has no regrets about staying on the series for so long.
Heidi’s younger brother had Down’s Syndrome, and she is proud that the show has given a voice to disabled people.
Speaking to Lord Melvyn Bragg for The South Bank Show, Heidi said: “It’s always worth it. I’ve had a few letters from people saying they haven’t aborted a Down’s syndrome pregnancy because we’ve depicted Down’s syndrome positively.
"If you’re creating dialogue in wider society that’s an incredible thing for a drama to do and it makes us take it very seriously.”
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