Published: 16:27, 03 May 2018
| Updated: 11:13, 04 May 2018
Stars of the popular TV series Call the Midwife were out in force today to launch revamped tours based on the show and a brand new exhibition.
Jenny Agutter, Stephen McGann and Cliff Parisi were among the stars of the BBC1 show, which is watched by some 10 million viewers, who visited Chatham Historic Dockyard, which has been used as a filming location for the series since 2011.
The new tour and exhibition have been put together with the creators and producers of the programme, Neal Street Productions, and features sets from the series, costumes and props.
Visitors are taken on a tour of the dockyard to see key locations used in filming, including HMS Cavalier, which is often used when scenes call for ships and dock sets.
They are also shown iconic buildings including the Admiral's Offices, used as the frontage for the London Hospital, Anchor Wharf, the Lisbon Buildings and the old dockyard church.
An expanded team of eight midwives guide visitors who are taken to the new exhibition as part of their tour.
Inside, there are props and familiar scenes and items used in the series, which fans will recognise.
They include the dining table from Nonnatus House, laid out for a meal, down to its authentic amber glassware and Barbara's wedding dress.
Call the Midwife executive producer Dame Pippa Harris said one of the aspects of the exhibition which she and the cast were most struck by was Barbara's wedding dress, partly as the character (played by Charlotte Ritchie) died in the last series.
"I think we all saw Barbara's wedding dress and there were a few tears. It is a real dress, and she wore it."
Cliff Parisi, who plays Fred in the show, said of the exhibition: "We went in and there was the table set out for the nuns.
"I think they've stolen a few bits - well, borrowed," adding: "It is so nice to come down to the dockyard.
"I love it down here an there's real ships and railways, and real people walking around! It is lovely to be among real moving, working history."
Jenny Agutter said of Call the Midwife's popularity: "For some people the 60s is something way in the past and for some they are really memorable.
"At the centre of the series is birth, and when you look back you think oh goodness, how people had to get over things. The programme is something full of hope."
Paul Barnard, from the dockyard, said: "There is a real sense of birth, because we are celebrating the launch of the exhibition and tours and we are also celebrating a birth of our own as it is our 400th anniversary this year."
The stars also revealed some details of the upcoming eighth series of the show, which is currently being filmed.
Viewers will see the return of Trixie, played by Helen George, after taking a break for Helen to have a baby in real life.
Acclaimed actress Miriam Margolyes will guest star as a spirited nun.
Joining the cast will also be Fenella Woolgar as Sister Hilda, Ella Bruccoleri as Sister Frances and Georgie Glen as Miss Higgins.
The tours with the new exhibition launched today and the exhibition will be at the Chatham Historic Dockyard for the forseeable future.
For details and to book, go to thedockyard.co.uk
More by this authorAngela Cole
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