30 things you need to know about Helen George

Find out more about the Call the Midwife actress.

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by Lorna White |

From playing Nurse Trixie Franklin in Call the Midwife, to taking part in Strictly, falling love on set with partner Jack Ashton to life with her baby Wren, here's all you need to know about the 36-year-old actress.

1. She fell in love with partner Jack Ashton on the set of Call The Midwife

Helen met her now partner Jack Ashton in 2015 on the set of BBC One medical drama Call the Midwife. At the time she had recently split from her husband Oliver Boot.

As Jack played the Reverend Tom Hereward opposite Helen's Nurse Franklin, Helen recently revealed in an interview that it was "a slow process" moving from friends to something more.

She said “All of us on the show are mates. We all hang out together and Jack always really makes me laugh.”

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The pair apparently became especially close while filming scenes in South Africa for the Christmas special.

2. She wowed with her singing on VE Day

We all know Helen George is a great actress - from her time on Call the Midwife - and can dance too as we saw on her stint on Strictly Come Dancing. But turns out she's actually an all-round triple threat as she showed on VE Day 2020 when she revealed her spectacular singing voice.

Appearing on a BBC special to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day in Buckingham Palace, she sang the Vera Lynn classic White Cliffs Of Dover, prompting viewers to immediately take to social media to share their surprise at her incredible voice.

This isn't the first time Helen has sung in public, though. She also sang two years ago for the Queen as part of her 92nd birthday celebrations at the Royal Albert Hall alongside actor Luke Evans and 2008 Strictly champion, Tom Chambers.

3. She's got a fantastic short new hair style

We're used to seeing her in her Trixie-style Sixties hairdo but now Helen has branched out with a totally new look.

Last March she wowed fans when she showed off her great new bob on Instagram alongside a snap of a night out in London.

4. She's 'fearful' of the impact of coronavirus on the entertainment industry

Helen has spoken out to say she's concerned the entertainment industry is being ignored in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking to the PA news agency she said: “It’s a huge crisis, and it really is a crisis for the arts, because in times like this, pandemics and war, people need entertainment and people need the arts.

“Coming out of it, people will want to go to the theatre by Christmas, people will be ready to go and laugh and to go to pantos to enjoy themselves, but I don’t know how the industry is going to survive if he (Mr Johnson) doesn’t officially close us down, if we don’t get insurance payments. It’s terrifying.”

Nevertheless she thinks the themes of Call the Midwife, which follows a group of midwives working in London’s East End during the Sixties, may help people make sense of the current situation.

She says: “I think there is definitely something to be said about that,” she said. “I think people will turn back to that. And I can’t imagine they will want to watch awful films about viruses spreading and alien abductions; you want to watch happy things in a time like this. Comedies, and warming shows.”

5. Helen had two complicated pregnancies

We were overjoyed when Call the Midwife star gave birth to her baby daughter Wren Ivy last year but we had no idea of the terrible health scare she had just the day before she gave birth. Helen shared her very moving story on Instagram to try and raise awareness of the condition she suffered from.

ICP is actually quite common in pregnancy affecting one in 140 pregnancies despite not many women being aware of it. In her heartfelt social media post, Helen recalled what happened.

‘The day before we had been out walking the dog when I had the feeling of my blood literally boiling, and an itchiness all over my body even in my ears and in my eyes. I had scratched myself so much that my shellac nail varnish had chipped and I was black and blue from bruising.’

Unlike many women, Helen was very lucky that she was already aware of ICP: ‘I knew that ICP ran in my family, I knew I had a 50/50 chance of having it during my pregnancy. Luckily I was able to call @icpsupport on a Sunday and the magnificence Jenny Chambers talked me through exactly what I should do, “go to the hospital NOW and get your bloods checked”.’

Thankfully, Helen made the trip to the hospital and her baby was born safely and now she’s wanting to raise awareness of the condition and support for ICP Support.

Her second baby, Lark, also arrived safely this year, despite her suffering with ICP as she did in her first pregnancy.

6. She gave birth to her second baby in 2021

Although she previously claimed she had no plans to have another baby with partner Jack Ashton, she revealed that she was pregnant with her second child in June 2021.

Speaking about working on Call the Midwife while pregnant, Helen said in an interview with the Mirror, that she was keen to carry on working during the pregnancy.

"I was quite adamant to carry on working through my pregnancy, which was absolutely fine. I think sometimes there is a prejudice that pregnant women shouldn’t work, especially in our industry. It was important to me to carry on."

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7. She saw a ghost while filming Call the Midwife

While filming last year's Christmas special of Call the Midwife in the Outer Hebrides, Helen claims to have felt the presence of a ghost.

In an interview with The Guardian she said: "We all stayed in an incredible castle, which was supposed to be haunted by the former lady of the house. We had these grand dinners every night, and the waiting staff always left an empty chair for her ladyship at the end of the table. Through a trick of the light, or the wine, you’d sometimes feel someone sitting there. I didn’t sleep at all when we were staying there."

8. Her daughter could appear on Call the Midwife

One of the best things about Call the Midwife is, of course, the multitude of cute babies and tots who appear in it. Now it appears viewers might be in for a treat - a peek at Helen George and Jack Ashton's daughter! Helen recently told the Radio Times: "I'm sure at some point she will make an appearance, I've already had my dog in one of the episodes."

9. Call the Midwife had to hide her baby bump

In series 7 of Call the Midwife, Helen George looked just as slender and glamorous as ever, even though she was actually pregnant with baby Wren.

It turns out that it was just a matter of clever wardrobe choices! Look again and you'll see that Trixie gave up on her fitted dresses, in favour of roomy capes, bulky fur coats and the odd shawl - just as well this series was set during an extremely cold winter!

10. She's never afraid to slam a body-shaming Twitter troll!

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We've always loved Helen but we're even more impressed by her after she called out a Twitter troll following an episode of Call the Midwife.

The offensive tweet called her 'massive' and said she 'should be put on a diet'.

Helen was pregnant with baby Wren for most of the filming of series seven. She answered back:

'Sorry if my chins offended you, I chose to feed my baby healthily and not starve myself in a selfish act to look good on TV.

'Would you say this to a pregnant lady's face? You should look on pregnant ladies' multiple chins with love, they are busy making the future.'

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Well said, that lady!

11. She gets frustrated by Call the Midwife's fluffy reputation

From abortion to alcohol addiction, Call the Midwife has dealt with some pretty hard-hitting storylines over the years. Which is why Helen George gets annoyed when she thinks people underestimate what it's about.

“It’s very frustrating sometimes!" she said in an interview with whatsontv. "I remember somebody referred to it as ‘Mrs Beeton’, the Victorian cook, a really nice homely BBC programme, which of course it is. I think that’s the brilliant thing about it. We have very hard-hitting issues, but they’re wrapped up nicely in this lovely fruit sponge.”

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“It’s about life and society nowadays, too. It’s about holding a mirror up to our own society. We saw that in the last series with the abortion storyline when the laws were being passed in Ireland. That’s why the writing is so great. It is underestimated as this lovely little BBC period drama, and it’s not – it’s gritty!”

12. Becoming a parent changed her life

Helen George and her partner Jack Ashton have said that becoming parents to little Wren Ivy in October has changed how they feel about Call the Midwife. Helen, who has always loved babies, said she found her scenes on the hit show especially emotional after becoming a mum.

She also revealed that seeing the various possible complications of childbirth on the show encouraged her to have a C-section for her own baby. Meanwhile Jack has said he feels 'enlightened' since becoming a dad. Any parents will surely remember the feeling of the world shifting on its axis!

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13. She's struggled with 'mum guilt'

Thanks to Helen's busy filming schedule on Call the Midwife, she recently revealed she struggled with the guilt of not always being around for her little girl.

Helen confessed that "filming six months of the year" has made her miss some major milestones. "I missed the first crawl, first word and that is so hard," she shared.

14. How old is Helen George?

Helen was born on June 19, 1984 making her 37 years old.

15. Are Helen George and Jack Ashton engaged?

Take a closer look at the photos of the happy family, and you might notice a ring on a certain finger that's been causing fans some excitement! Although Jack still isn't Helen George's husband and no official announcement has been made yet, we're hopeful that the two will one day tie the knot.

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16. She's been in Call the Midwife since the start

Helen was cast as Trixie Franklin from the very first series of Call the Midwife, and is still in the show . She was anxious about working along stalwarts Pam Ferris and Jenny Agutter, so she made sure to train in the medical techniques of the 1950s – adorably practising ‘birthing’ her Yorkshire terrier!

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17. There's an interesting story behind Helen's character Trixie

While the recent series of Call the Midwife is based on an original script, the early series and the initial concept was based on the memoirs of Jennifer Worth based on real events and people. Because of this Helen says she thinks she knows who her character Trixie is based on.

"We think it's a lady who lives in Switzerland called Antonia who has a wonderful husband around her."

18. Helen George took part in Strictly

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Just after announcing her divorce to Oliver Boot, Helen threw herself into series 13 of Strictly Come Dancing and was partnered with Alijaz Skorjanec, finishing in 6th place. Their highest scoring dance was the Viennese Waltz.

19. She didn't make it to the final though

Helen was eliminated in week 11 of Strictly Come Dancing – Musicals Week.

20. Helen admits she found Strictly hard

Helen recently confessed that Strictly Come Dancing, while a wonderful experience, wasn't always easy for her.

She told Event magazine: "My problem on Strictly was that I found it very difficult to be myself. I’m actually a very shy person and if I feel nervous my default is to be very quiet and a little awkward and people misconstrue that. They see it as me being unfriendly and snooty, which I absolutely am not. "

21. She's been in more than just Call the Midwife

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Helen has also appeared in Hotel Babylon, The Three Musketeers, Scar Tissue, Doctors, 7 Lives and The Extraordinary Adventures of G. A. Henty.

22. She recently played a mysterious femme fatale

After years of playing Trixie Franklin in Call the Midwife, Helen went for something totally the opposite when she took on the role of the deliciously enigmatic Rachel in the classic gothic thriller My Cousin Rachel adapted by the book from Daphne Du Maurier.

Swapping her nurse's uniform for a racy corset she said at the time ‘It just feels wonderful to look so different.’

23. She's a proud feminist

While speaking about her role in My Cousin Rachel, Helen George revealed her views on feminism: "I have always been a feminist but I’m now living through an era where women are tearing down Meghan Markle for not behaving like a traditional member of the Royal Family, while at the same time Phoebe Waller-Bridge is being heaped with awards and praise for Fleabag, a drama series about a woman most definitely not behaving in a conventional manner for a woman. It is completely crazy."

24. Helen George and Oliver Boot

Did you know Helen has been previously married? Helen and actor Oliver Boot met on the set of Hotel Babylon in 2008 and quickly became an item, getting married in 2012. The pair split up in 2015 after three years of marriage.

25. Helen George: marathon woman!

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Helen has always been sporty – as a child she wanted to be a long jumper or a football manager. So it’s no surprise that she’s still in great shape, and completed the London Marathon in 2015.

26. Who are Helen George's parents?

Helen's father is Timothy George. Her mother is Kathryn George who was a script writer for Hollyoaks, Doctors and Emmerdale.

27. Helen George fights against loneliness

Helen's previously fronted Spare Chair Sunday, a community initiative organised by Contact the Elderly and Bisto, to help tackle loneliness by bringing people together over a Sunday roast.

With 40 per cent of people over 70 skipping meals because they find them so lonely on their own, Helen was moved to take part in the project to make a difference.

"The campaign spoke to me because I’m a new mum and I have my own family and that makes you think about family meals around the table," says Helen. "I’ve always grown up having Sunday roasts around the table and having elderly grandparents and relatives to come and eat with us and share the dining experience.

"It also ties into the idea of Call the Midwife that community is central and really important – and how we’ve lost that slightly. We don’t speak to our neighbours, we see the old lady in the street but we wouldn’t necessarily go and speak to her. This campaign is a great way of encouraging people to communicate with the elderly and imagine how lonely it can be not speaking to anyone everyday and not having people to eat with.

Helen George is encouraging people to sign up to offer a spare chair at their dinner table for an older person in their community at www.bistotogetherproject.com

28. As a child she wanted to be a dancer

Surprisingly it wasn't acting that was top of her list of jobs as a child. Instead she really wanted to dance. It was only when she saw the musical Les Miserables when she was 15 that she changed her mind and decided she wanted to act.

29. Although she could have been a footballer too...

As her dad is such a big Aston Villa fan, she recently revealed she once did harbour ambitions of being Villa's first female manager. That certainly would have made a change from delivering babies from the Fifties and Sixties.

30. She most admires Emma Thompson

Calling her the "queen of acting" she said Emma is the actress whose work she loves the most.

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