BBC One calls midwife Helen George’s first short marriage, ‘terrible divorce’ and how he fell in love with co-star

Call the Midwife series Eleven has begun on BBC One this month, following a “magical” special on Christmas Day.

The most famous cast members are returning, including long-time stars Helen George, Leonie Elliott, Jenny Egger, Judy Parfitt and Stephen McGann, and they’ve promised a “big” mystery story for this latest series.

Helen George plays nurse Trixie Franklin, one of the most experienced members of the babysitter team whose character has struggled with alcoholism in the previous series. In 2015, Helen came in sixth place on BBC Strictly Come Dancing – leading to the use of that famous phrase “The Strictly Curse” in some newspapers, as news of her marriage ending came out around the same time.

Helen was married to fellow actor Oliver Boot for three years, but separated before Strictly began that year. Indeed, a spokeswoman on her behalf said she had parted ways “for some time” before the report surfaced.

Helen, 37, later found love with her Call the Midwife co-star Jack Ashton, whom she met in 2016. They kept quiet about their relationship at first but in 2018 they spoke warmly about falling in love with Jack, who is 35: “He’s incredibly kind and down to earth, and he’s such a great father.” are,” she said to Hello! “It was a slow process. We’re all mates on the show. We all hang out together and Jack always makes me laugh.”

Helen shared family photos of Jack with his kids on Instagram, recently wishing him a happy birthday while embracing his youngest daughter and saying: “Happy birthday my love. What a week. And forever You will share the week of your birthday with your other born, sorry I couldn’t cross my legs now.”

Regarding her divorce, she said: “Going through a divorce is terrible. I was told to be strict and feel weird, I thought it would be like a kind of therapy after my divorce. I talked a lot There were some people who said how it really helped them through difficult times. You’re focusing on this one thing, it’s an emotional journey. I was so naive I thought no one would be interested in me, so It was a shock. I soon realized I didn’t want all that celebrity stuff.”

Helen George at the Local Best of Broad Street Awards at Hard Rock Cafe in Birmingham in 2007

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High School Musical performance at the Hippodrome in Birmingham in 2008

Helen and Jack have two children together, Wren Ivy and Lark, but she has gone through two complicated pregnancies, a dangerous buildup of bile acids in her body before she was taken to the hospital for a caesarean three weeks ago: ” I felt my blood boiling and itching everywhere – even in my ears and eyes,” she later described.

During her second pregnancy she was determined to continue working, saying: “I was adamant enough to work during my pregnancy, which was absolutely fine. I think there’s a bias sometimes that pregnant women should have.” Shouldn’t work, especially in our industry. . It was important for me to keep it going.”

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Helen in 2014, a year before starring in Strictly Come Dancing

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Helen Trixie plays Franklin in Call the Midwife Christmas special

Before becoming famous, Helen worked in a florist’s shop in Birmingham to fund her studies at drama school, but her career took off when Sir Elton John came to the Royal Academy of Music, where she was studying musical theatre, And chose him as a support. Singer. After getting a role on West End while working with Andrew Lloyd Webber, she got another big break.

But the meteoric rise wasn’t easy: “I was a very shy kid and I was really struggling with my nerves. I was being presented with massive auditions that I just wasn’t ready for.” Instead, she went to work at the Perfume Hall in Harrods, which she described as “perhaps the most gloomy I’ve ever seen in her life”.

She continued: “That’s not to say it’s not a great job, but there are a lot of people out there who are actors, dancers or singers out of work. Harrods is a lovely shop, but we had to wear three-inch heels for seven – Hour shifts and full panto makeup! By the end of it I was really sick of all that. I hadn’t worn perfume for years.”

Eventually, Helen was signed by an agent: “She picked me up, helped give me courage and pushed me really hard. I even thought ‘I have to do something now, otherwise I’m going to have to give up’.”