Judy Parfitt (Call The Midwife) talks to Deb Hollywood for Hurst Life

By Deb Hollywood

Judy Parfitt - Call The Midwife star, Hurstpierpoint

I wouldn’t say I was nervous about meeting Judy Parfitt, but on finding myself facing a twitten, still driving the car, I realised I would need to ring for further directions!

These were swiftly given and within minutes I was sitting in Judy’s kitchen ready for a chat.

It’s the feeling of knowing someone via their stage or screen persona that led to the nerves but in reality we don’t know television and film actors and it becomes apparent that Judy Parfitt quite likes it this way. 

Judy is old school when it comes to sharing information about her life. She is happy to answer questions but is frustrated by the accessibility of information via the internet. She hasn’t contributed to facts online about herself and says: “I didn’t put the information there and I wonder who did?” She adds: “Today there is too much importance placed on being famous.”

I mention Judy’s stage career and some of the wellknown names she has worked alongside. “When working with Olivier and Scofield,” she continues, “there was a mystery to them. You had enormous respect for your peers and wouldn’t address them by their first name until asked to do so!” It has not been a question of Judy seeking fame; being recognised is a by-product of what is essentially her work. “It’s doing what I’m good at, what I’m trained in and what I want to do,” adding, “I’m lucky to be working and appreciate it.”

Judy was born in Sheffield but considers herself to be a ‘soft southerner’ now! “I love North country people, but I couldn’t return to Yorkshire, I couldn’t cope with the weather!” Her work took her to Los Angeles in the late 80s when filming the television series, The Charmings.

Judy explained: “I enjoyed my time there enormously but it was important career-wise to have a balance between the UK and America.” In addition to numerous stage roles Judy’s work also includes the 1984 television series The Jewel in the Crown, for which she received a BAFTA nomination. Judy describes the scripts, the cast and the location as all being wonderful and adds: “I was proud to be a part of it.”

Judy is currently known to many of us for her role as Sister Monica Joan, the character she plays in Call The Midwife. Judy appreciates that both the character and the series resonate with the public, and often when entering a shop or café she is told ‘the cakes are over there’! This is a reference to her character’s penchant for eating cake, whether it belongs to her or not!

Judy has just finished a busy filming schedule of the series, with a Christmas Special due to be shown on Christmas Day and a new series starting in January 2017.

(read the full story in the Dec 2016 issue of Hurst Life magazine)