If you don’t know who narrates Call the Midwife, know that it’s an acting legend you’ve probably seen on screen before. In fact, she even appeared on screen in the BBC series’ 2014 Christmas episode.
The narrator — who gives voice to Jennifer Worth, the real-life midwife upon whose memoirs the show is based — is Vanessa Redgrave. Vanessa is an actress who has appeared on the big screen in the films Mission: Impossible, Deep Impact, Evening, Atonement, Letters to Juliet, Lee Daniels’ The Butler, and Foxcatcher. And that’s just the start of her impressive bona fides…
Vanessa Redgrave has earned the Triple Crown of Acting.
In 1978, Vanessa won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her title role in the period drama film Julia. She has won two Emmys so far, one for Outstanding Lead Actress – Miniseries or a Movie for the 1980 CBS movie Playing for Time and another for Outstanding Supporting Actress – Miniseries or a Movie for the 2000 HBO movie If These Walls Could Talk 2. And in 2003, she won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for playing Mary Tryone in Long Day’s Journey into Night.
With her Academy Award, Emmy Award, and Tony Award, the 84-year-old has earned the Triple Crown of Acting. Other Triple Crown recipients include Rita Moreno, Maggie Smith, Al Pacino, Hellen Mirren, Frances McDormand, and Viola Davis, according to Gold Derby.
She’s one member of an acting dynasty.
The Redgrave family of actors has been delighting audiences for more than a century now. Vanessa’s paternal grandparents, Roy Redgrave and Daisy Scudamore, were stage actors and silent film stars. Her parents were Oscar-nominated actor Michael Redgrave and Out of Africa actress Rachel Kempson.
It doesn’t stop there! Vanessa’s sister wasGeorgy Girl star Lynn Redgrave. And her daughters are Nip/Tuck alum Joely Richardson and the late Parent Trap actress Natasha Richardson. And Vanessa’s grandson Micheál Richardson, one of Natasha’s sons, co-starred with his dad, Liam Neeson, in the film Made in Italy. Plus, Vanessa was formerly married to James Bond actor Timothy Dalton.
She says ‘Call the Midwife’ makes everyone think and feel and be more human and genuine.”
Vanessa praised Call the Midwife in an interview with RadioTimes this May. “What’s good about theatre, radio and television, is that once in a blue moon something wonderful comes along like Call the Midwife,” she said. “Something that makes everybody think and feel and be more human and genuine. Something that hasn’t got false.”
She also noted how the show is a snapshot of history, including the once-common practice of prescribing thalidomide, a drug that cause birth deformities, to pregnant women.
“And homelessness and evictions, the terrible way poor people were treated, which I can’t help pointing out and remarking to you is much worse today,” she added. “People living in sheer poverty in this [the UK] — women, especially — have the toughest time. … [I’d like to] make sure there’s decent social support for the huge numbers who live in dire circumstances. Especially women, single mothers with children.”