Bafta bosses are too woke to nominate Call The Midwife for an award says star Judy Parfitt as she hits out at critics who prefer ‘dramas with lots of breasts’

  • Call the Midwife has only received one Bafta, which was voted for by the public
  • In nine series it has been regularly snubbed for best drama despite huge ratings
  • Judy Parfitt believes it isn’t seen as edgy as winners such as Peaky Blinders 

Call the Midwife star Judy Parfitt has slammed Bafta bosses and critics for being too ‘woke’ and preferring ‘dramas with lots of breasts’ over the hit BBC series.

The period show has never been shortlisted for Best Drama at the awards show despite attracting huge audiences for nearly a decade.

Parfitt, 85, who plays Sister Monica Joan, believes the programme is not edgy enough to appeal to award shows.

Call the Midwife star Judy Parfitt has slammed Bafta bosses and critics for being too ‘woke’ and preferring ‘dramas with lots of breasts’ over the hit BBC series

She denied the hit drama was too ‘cosy’, saying the series has dealt with major issues including thalidomide and incest.

The actress told the Radio Times: ‘What’s interesting is that you don’t see it nominated for Baftas. 

‘People want to be “woke” and feel that they can’t nominate Call the Midwife.’ 

The long-running drama will return to BBC One this weekend with its tenth series following the lives of midwives and nuns in the 1950s and 60s.

It regularly attracts more than 10million viewers making it one of the most successful shows on British TV.

But it has only ever won one Bafta award, the Radio Times Audience Award in 2013, which was voted for by members of the public.

It has not received a single nomination since that year in any category, with the Best Drama award often going to thrillers such as Peaky Blinders or Broadchurch. 

Parfitt herself was nominated for a Bafta for her performance in Girl with a Pearl Earring in 2003.

Parfitt, 85, who plays Sister Monica Joan, believes the programme is not edgy enough to appeal to award shows

Winners are decided by juries and voters in the film and TV industry with at least five years experience in a senior role. 

The actress said: ‘The press like programmes where they can go on about a man taking his shirt off. Or dramas with lots of breasts.’

She is not the only Call the Midwife actor to complain about its lack of gongs, with Stephen McGann, who plays Dr Patrick Turner, criticising the snubs.

The show was written and created by his wife Heidi Thomas based on the memoirs of a nurse.

He said: ‘Since it started, she’s never been shortlisted for a major television screenwriting prize.’ 

Parfitt says she often fears that her character Sister Monica Joan, who’s physically frail and suffering from dementia, doesn’t add much to the show – but fan letters say otherwise.

Stars of Call The Midwife have delivered the popular BBC1 drama for a decade (L-R: Sister Julienne, nurses Trixie and Shelagh, and Sister Monica Joan)

‘I sometimes say to the producers, “If you want to kill me off, I won’t mind”, but there’s obviously something about the character that strikes a chord with people,’ she says.

‘She has dementia and that is something many of us know – I watched my own husband go through it.

‘Sometimes Sister Monica Joan is away with the fairies, but at other times she’s incredibly perceptive. I loved her phase when she was going around nicking things.

‘I’d go into supermarkets and they’d say, “She’s here! Quick, lock everything up!” Even though I was in The Jewel In The Crown, I’ve never had a reaction like it.’

This tenth series will feature the 1966 World Cup, problems with the finances at the convent Nonnatus House, a confusing case with echoes of the thalidomide scandal and a crisis of faith. 

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