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How a Salford student secretly shot Call the Midwife during Freshers’ Week

Lucy Burrows, left, and Helen George

A University of Salford student has made her TV debut to millions in the BBC’s period drama Call the Midwife, but she had to secretly film her scenes during Freshers’ Week.

BA Media and Performance student Lucy Burrows appeared in the BBC One series’ most recent episode on Sunday, February 5 in which her character, feisty teenager Heather, gave birth and had to come to terms with being a mother whilst dealing with her unsupportive parents.

Burrows’ breakthrough performance saw her share numerous scenes with star Helen George, who plays the character Trixie Franklin, and was shot over nine days in September 2022 just as she should have been indulging in costumed pub crawls and settling into student life in Salford.

Instead, Burrows spent Freshers’ Week driving her up and down the country to the Surrey set with her parents.

The 19-year-old was sworn to secrecy on the role, and admitted that she felt ‘a lot of relief’ to be finally able to talk about her performance following the episode’s airing.

She said: “I had to keep it a secret for five months so I just felt a lot of relief to have it out there. It’s a massive show and I’ve had so many lovely messages from people who have been so supportive of my performance.

“I had gone home before the weekend so I could watch it with my family. There was such a big build up to that day and my family were all bunched up together watching it. It took me about 15 minutes just be able to relax and watch the show as a viewer and not just focus on my performance. I found the first few scenes very nerve-wracking.”

Burrows has been acting on stage through youth groups since the age of nine and previously fronted a campaign advertisement for homelessness charity Centrepoint, as well as playing an extra in the Apple TV+ miniseries The Essex Serpent where she filmed a number of background scenes and had an on-screen interaction with British actress Hayley Squires.

Burrows said her Midwife experience has emboldened her to pursue her career in acting: “When I was on the set, I felt like I was in my element. Just being able to say that I was going to ‘work’ and that work involved doing something I had always wanted to do was an amazing feeling. I broke down in tears on the last day of shooting as I couldn’t believe it was all over.

“I learned so much, particularly from Helen who was so lovely and helped teach me on working with the camera,” she said. “She told me to look at the eye closest to the camera when speaking to another cast member and I found that instantly helpful for me when it came to shooting.”

Lucy is continuously pursuing more acting work to fit around her studies at Salford and says chose Salford after hearing glowing reports from previous graduates of the course.

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