Table of Contents
- Background Edit
- Overview Edit
- Tom Hereward
- Call the Midwife star Jack Ashton on how the show transformed his life
- Call The Midwife’s Helen George and Jack Ashton ‘in real life romance’
- Helen George is back for Call The Midwife
- Who is Jack Ashton?
- Which character does Jack Ashton play in Call The Midwife?
- Who is Jack Ashton dating?
Tom Hereward is the Reverand of Poplar, London, and works closely alongside the nuns of Nonnatus House.
Tom was adopted at birth and, by his own account, had a nice childhood.
Tom is first introduced in the third episode of Season Three where he meets Beatrix Franklin and Sister Julienne when they are attending a pregnant inmate at a women’s prison. Tom becomes a recurring character from that point on and becomes close to Trixie. At the beginning of Season Four, Tom proposes to Trixie and she accepts, but later breaks off the engagement upon learning Tom was going to be assigned to a new parish in Newcastle as she didn’t think she’d be able to accompany him and to be the sort of wife a reverend needs.
This led to Trixie becoming an alcoholic, though she later kicked the habit with the help of Cynthia and Alcoholics Anonymous.
In Season Five, Tom starts dating Trixie’s colleague Barbara though the union is met with some initial opposition from Trixie who seems unable to let Tom go. She later gives the relationship her blessing, although she is still sad not to have anyone of her own to love.
In the 2016 Christmas Special, Tom accompanies some of the nuns and nurses from Nonnatus House on a mission to South Africa, and at the end becomes engaged to Barbara. He also divises a way to bring fresh, clean water to Hope Clinic. He and Barbara get married in the last episode of Season Six with Barbara’s father, himself a clergyman, conducting the service.
In Season 7, Tom and Barbara head over to Birmingham to complete a six month mission as he fills in for a curate that had become ill. After Tom finishes his mission, he and Barbara come back and everyone is thrilled but unfortunately, the happiness is short-lived. Barbara soon becomes very ill with meningococcal septicemia and dies, Tom and Phyllis were at her bedside.
Tom does not appear in Series 8 as he joined Barbara’s father on his mission in New Guinea.
Tom Hereward is played by Jack Ashton.
Q&A with Jack Ashton
How does it feel to be back for series 4?
It feels lovely to be asked back for series 4. It’s such a fun job and having the benefit of last year to bed in I felt much more at home this time around. The story lines were constantly moving and the creatives have really approached some difficult subjects with subtlety and bravery. I can’t wait to see it.
What happens to your character over this series?
I can’t really say too much but Tom starts the series a bit braver than the last and he certainly experiences a myriad of emotions as the series moves on. I think he becomes a bit more involved in the community and of course there’s a certain girl he kissed at the end of the last series.
How is it working with Helen George?
Helen has been very kind to me since I joined the cast and her banter is particularly sharp. I very much look forward to seeing her on set because she makes me laugh a lot. Every day she reminds me of the actor I would like to become. She constantly nails it and I am looking forward to watching her journey this series.
What is it like wearing the dog collar?
It’s not particularly comfortable and there are times when it’s done too tightly and I go blue mid- take! But when I come round I’m usually allowed to sit down and have a cup of tea so that’s always a bonus! But seriously, I forget I’ve got it on now as I’m used to it. I just wish Tom was invited out socially more because we’re in the 60s now and I dream of some colourful alternatives.
What is it like being one of the few men on set?
It’s funny. The girls are all very conscientious and try to keep things neutral when I’m around but I have been in the middle of some pretty passionate cake and fashion debates. Which I have no opinions on. So I try to edge away and find the script supervisor, Ian, so I can practise my Glaswegian accent with him. When Ben, Steve, Cliff and I get a chance to even up the numbers we try to talk about weightlifting, bare knuckle boxing and we practice our football roars, a sort of ‘man practice’.
What are your favorite storylines from this season?
There are many but watch out for actors Kadiff Kirwan and Cherelle Skeete as they play a very difficult and heart breaking storyline with sensitivity and brilliance. Also, of course, we are all looking forward to Vanessa Redgrave’s performance.
Which character besides your own would you most like to play?
Judy Parfitt’s Sister Monica Joan. Moments of utter beauty emerge out of her sad confusion and she plays the role so perfectly.
December 24, 2018 – 10:17 GMT Sharnaz Shahid Call the Midwife star Helen George has opened up about falling in love with her co-star Jack Ashton. The couple welcomed their daughter Wren in 2017…
Call the Midwife star Helen George has shared candid details about her relationship with her former co-star Jack Ashton. The couple, who found love following Helen’s split from husband Oliver Boot in August 2015, met on the set of the BBC medical drama, and grew close while filming on location in South Africa. Last year, their lives changed when they welcomed their first child together – a little girl called Wren. In a new interview with Stella Magazine, the 34-year-old actress revealed: “It was a slow process. All of us on the show are mates. We all hang out together and Jack always really makes me laugh.”
Helen George and Jack Ashton have a daughter called Wren
Helen stars as Trixie Franklin in the period drama, while Jack played Reverend Tom Hereward – his character left after his TV wife Barbara died in the last series. Heaping praise on her partner, Helen gushed: “He’s so unbelievably kind and down to earth, and he’s such a great dad.” The pair started dating a year after she split from her ex-husband Oliver. At the time of her divorce, Helen joined Strictly Come Dancing where she was partnered up with pro dancer Aljaz Skorjanec. “Going through a divorce is awful,” she added. “I’d been asked to do Strictly and, strange as it sounds, I thought it would be like a sort of therapy after my divorce. I’d spoken to quite a few people who said how it really helped them through difficult times. You are focused on this one thing, it’s an emotional journey.”
MORE: Helen George marks special milestone with baby daughter Wren
Helen George stars as Trixie Franklin in Call The Midwife
Meanwhile, Helen’s pregnancy wasn’t smooth-sailing – she had delivered her daughter six weeks before her due date because she suffered from intrahepatic cholestasis. ICP is a serious liver disorder which is caused by a build-up of acid within the body. When asked about having working mum guilt, 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. “But we are now a family. Our priority is our little girl. At the moment when I work, Jack is with her – but over Christmas I am taking a break and just allowing myself a few months to be a full-on mother.”
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November 18, 2019 – 15:07 CET Sharnaz Shahid Call the Midwife star Helen George has revealed she has no immediate plans to have a second child with partner Jack Ashton…
Despite relishing motherhood, Call the Midwife star Helen George has revealed she is in no rush to have another baby with her partner Jack Ashton – nor walk down the aisle for the second time. The 35-year-old, who is famed for playing Trixie Franklin in the popular BBC period drama, opened up about her future in a candid interview with Event Magazine, saying: “We are happy as we are. We are both freelance actors and we have to juggle everything, so at the moment we’ve no plans to have another baby. Not yet anyway. And we’re not married – things are good as they are.”
Helen George is a doting mum to two-year-old Wren
Helen, 35, and Jack began dating in 2016 after filming the Call the Midwife Christmas special in South Africa. Love blossomed and in September 2017, they welcomed their adorable little girl, Wren. However, prior to her relationship with Jack, the mum-of-one split from her ex-husband Oliver Boot in 2015.
MORE: John Torode shares stunning photo of Lisa Faulkner in heartfelt thank you post
Meanwhile, Helen has tried to move away from her prim image in Call the Midwife thanks to her racy new role in the play My Cousin Rachel. Although she has accepted the new challenge, the British star still can’t tear herself away from the show. “I think having a child and getting that bit older does change you,” she explained.
The actress has been in a relationship with Jack since 2016
“It makes you aware of what is important and what isn’t.” She added: “I’ve stayed in the show because I love it, because I believe in it, and because I love the character I play. I am very aware that there are incredibly talented actors I went to drama school with who are still struggling to get agents, let alone auditions, so I am incredibly grateful for everything CTM has done for me. I want to stay with the show for as long as it lasts.”
MORE: Call the Midwife’s Helen George posts emotional tribute after filming ends for the year
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Call the Midwife star Jack Ashton on how the show transformed his life
SPOILERS! Do not read on unless you have seen series seven, episode seven
Call the Midwife’s devoted fans have had their hearts tossed up and down throughout the show’s six-year history – but few storylines have had more dramatic highs and lows than that of newlyweds Tom and Barbara. They returned to Poplar more than halfway through this series, seemingly for good, only for Barbara to catch meningitis and die.
It has been a time of highs and lows, too, for Jack Ashton, 35, who plays Call the Midwife’s vicar, Tom Hereward. In real life he couldn’t be happier, after his partner Helen George took a break from playing Nurse Trixie Franklin to give birth to their daughter last autumn. Wren Ivy had only just been born when Ashton filmed last week’s heartbreaking episode.
- Call the Midwife: Nurse Barbara actress Charlotte Ritchie discusses her heartbreaking storyline
- 63 behind the scenes facts you didn’t know about Call the Midwife
“We did all Barbara’s deathbed scenes in the hospital two days after Wren was born and I hadn’t slept, so finding the delirium and the madness was quite easy,” he explains, noting that it’s been exactly a year since the Radio Times cover celebrating Tom and Barbara’s wedding.
“Filming those scenes was emotional because we all love Charlotte . We knew we were acting – but we also knew we were saying goodbye…” He pauses. “It’s emotional thinking about it now… I was lamenting the loss of someone I care about and I’d just had a baby, so I started sobbing… with snot and tears everywhere. The director asked if I could stop and cry for the next take, but I didn’t think I could stop crying at all – I definitely couldn’t stop and start again – so I said, ‘You might have to see what you can do with that take’.”
Jack Ashton and Charlotte Ritchie, Call the Midwife (BBC)
After last Sunday’s episode, viewers were stunned – they’d been telling Ashton on Twitter how pleased they were that Ritchie was back. But even the cast hadn’t had a huge amount of time to prepare for the parting. “We were aware that Char would be going at some point, but we didn’t know for sure until we got the scripts,” he says. “But if Radio Times readers are shell-shocked, we do end the series this week on a lighter note – poignant, still emotional, but a lighter note.”
Could that possibly involve Tom getting back together with his old flame Trixie?
He bursts out laughing. “No… can you imagine?” he says. “I don’t think he would be forgiven if he was looking at potential suitors at his wife’s wake. Tom is grieving and will be grieving for some time. Men at that time were quite buttoned-up, but I thought, ‘He’s just got married. He’s in love. He’s got the whole world ahead of him, and then this fells him.’ It’s a really, really sad end.”
What does he mean by “end”? Will Tom not be returning to Call the Midwife next year?
He’s cagey. “We shall see,” he smiles. “Maybe he’s in series eight and maybe he isn’t.”
Call the Midwife (BBC)
For Ashton, of course, Call the Midwife marked a new beginning for both his career and his personal life. He met Helen George on set in 2013 and they got together while shooting the 2016 Christmas special in South Africa. But this life-changing turn of events nearly didn’t happen, because he auditioned for the drama in the middle of a career slump. “I was starting to lose the faith,” he admits. “When you’re working you feel so confident, and then every day that goes by without work you start to persuade yourself that you can’t act because you’re not acting. If you’re unemployed and really need the job, they can tell you’re a little bit desperate.”
At the Midwife audition he was convinced his desperation had shown. He read the part once and they said, “Thank you, we’ll be in touch.” As he walked out of the room they all burst out laughing – “and I thought I didn’t have a chance. Two days later they offered me the part.”
He still seems amazed that it’s all worked out. Born in Bristol to an artist dad and a mum who worked in education, he ambled through “a pretty bog-standard comprehensive school”. When he was leaving school, aged 16, his favourite subjects were PE and drama, so his careers adviser suggested becoming an actor or a soldier. He tried out both. “I really enjoyed the Army open day – I liked the idea of getting fit and the assault courses,” he smiles. “And I was so naive I hadn’t even considered you could act for a living. But then I went to an open day for a performing arts college, and I was like – hold on, we just do this all day, every day? This is for me.”
His Bristol accent sneaks into his voice every now and again – even on set. “We film six months on and six months off,” he explains. “I’m a Bristol City fan and, for the first week or so, if I’ve been to a game at the weekend and we’re doing an emotional scene, they’ll have to cut and say, ‘Can you not sound like you’re from Bristol? Because Tom’s not.’ I have to take a minute to get rid of that West Country lilt.”
He has Tom’s back story in a little book that he reads to help him get back into character – although he tries not to let his partner see. “If Helen saw me reading my book, she’d say, ‘You’ve been doing this for five years!’” he laughs. “But that’s our relationship. We take the mickey out of each other all the time. What’s great is, she understands the stress of acting and how an intense role can alter your personality at home while you’re doing it – which is a difficult thing.”
Currently he’s touring in a stage production of Strangers on a Train – the Patricia Highsmith novel famously filmed by Alfred Hitchcock. Jack’s nice-guy character is forced into a double murder by the charismatic Bruno. “The play is angsty from the word go and it’s hard to just switch it off, but Helen gets it.”
Balancing the tour and being a new father has been complicated. “For the first six weeks, Helen and Wren and the dog came with me,” he grins. “It wasn’t so much fun for Helen because I spent time with adults every evening while she looked after the baby, but we’ve done the hard part now and for most of the tour I can commute.”
His delight at being a dad is obvious. Wren is five months old (“She went on to solid food last week – wonderful days of fatigue and joy”) and family is hugely important. He has two sisters and his mum, but his adored father died in 2009, just as Jack got his first good role in Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire, starring Rachel Weisz, at London’s Donmar Warehouse.
Jack Ashton and Helen George (Getty)
“He was ill at the time, but he knew I was in it – he’d always encouraged me to read and go to the theatre,” Ashton says. “A lot of the time as a teenager I was unimpressed, but his thirst for knowledge and curiosity for life stuck with me. He never made me feel I couldn’t do anything.”
After Ashton’s father died, the family paid for a bench in his name at Bristol’s Greville Smyth Park. “My dad was a lot older – the age of most people’s grandads – and he’d tell me about the American GIs playing baseball in that park in 1944. His bench looks down on where the baseball pitch was, so there’s quite a nice symmetry.”
Coincidentally, Ashton has just finished a film, for a Utah-based company, in which he plays an American GI prisoner of war. “Call the Midwife has a huge following in the Midwest, so everyone knew who I was – which was very strange,” he laughs. “It’s not as big as Downton Abbey was, but it got me a US manager.”
For now, however, he’s staying close to home. Inspired by acting in Strangers on a Train, he will run the London marathon for the male suicide charity Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM). “I make a bucket collection for them after every Saturday matinée,” he says. “I make a speech about how suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45 in this country.”
He also hopes to make a documentary for the charity. He had school friends who lost their lives to depression or drugs. “I’d like to ask some questions, interview people who have been affected and try to find out why it happens,” he says. “That’s my project while I’m looking after Wren – I’d like to do something I’m curious about, that could help in some way.”
It sounds as if the Rev Tom Hereward is rubbing off on him. “Maybe he is…” he laughs.
Call The Midwife’s Helen George and Jack Ashton ‘in real life romance’
Call The Midwife’s Helen George and Jack Ashton are reportedly dating after millions of viewers watched their on-screen characters’ romance on the BBC drama.
The pair are said to have grown close while filming for the show in South Africa and they even enjoyed a romantic getaway at a safari lodge where they booked in using fake names.
Helen, who plays nurse Trixie Franklin, has apparently fallen for Jack, who plays handsome vicar Tom Hereward, and the pair were said to have looked “very much in love” during their safari break together, where they shared a luxury suite.
A resort manager told the Sunday Mirror: “They were here together and seemed very close. They spent quite a lot of time by the pool just chilling, doing nothing and being together.”
READ MORE: Helen George – everything you need to know
They also visited an animal rehabilitation centre, with the manager adding: “She is very involved in caring about game and wildlife and does a lot of work in secret helping animals.
“They really wanted to see where the animals are rehabilitated and they saw what we do to help animals that need rehabilitation.
“She cares about conservation and told me how much they enjoyed it.”
And it seems the new couple very much enjoyed their time together, with another staff member saying: “Helen and Jack saw cheetahs on their first drive. They were very excited. Helen said it was the most wonderful experience of her life.
“On the second day we saw lions eating a bushbuck, elephants, leopard three days in a row – Helen kept saying how excited she was.”
The actress has shared pictures from her trip on Instagram and has spoken fondly of her time in South Africa, where this year’s Christmas special of Call The Midwife is being shot.
The cast is used to filming in East London but a storyline has seen them head to Africa where they help at an understaffed Christian mission.
Helen separated from her husband Oliver Boot last year, shortly before she appeared on the most recent series of Strictly Come Dancing.
Helen George is back for Call The Midwife
SUPPLIED Jennifer Kirby, Leonie Elliott, Helen George, and Charlotte Ritchie in Call The Midwife.
OPINION: There’s something ironic about one character departing and another arriving, both in the same episode of Call The Midwife (TV One, Fridays).
It’s even more ironic when the new arrival, Rev Tom Hereward, caused nurse Trixie Franklin to leave. Thank you, Google. It helped me discover Chris Ashton (Tom Hereward) is married to Helen George (Trixie Franklin).
When the seventh series was filmed, Helen was pregnant. No large medical bags or baggy capes could disguise her. And you can’t film her from the neck up. She needed her own midwife. Instead, under the guise of Trixie falling off the wagon, she fell off the series.
However, creator Heidi Thomas tells us Helen will return. That’s good news. Helen, as Trixie, has carried the mantle of being the most enchanting nurse at Nonnatus House for some time.
A mantle is the second cousin of a mantelpiece, which is where Trixie hid her pink gins. Now Sister Julienne has granted her six months’ leave to dry out. She sounds like a brick kiln.
While Call The Midwife is an ensemble series, there’s always one character that must stand out. It’s been nurse Trixie. She’s vulnerable, private, more English than the royals and has a bad habit of meeting the wrong bloke. The last was Chris Dockerill, a solo parent with a daughter who preferred mum to matron. So Trixie was dumped and returned to her second-favourite male, called Jim Beam.
However, despite the strong cast and traumatic story lines, Call The Midwife is treading water. Helen will have to find a nanny quickly before Sister Monica Joan becomes too confused or discovers Specsavers.
This week Barbara (Mrs Fred) is rushed to hospital with septicaemia. That should do the trick for a couple of episodes. In the meantime, come back Trixie. I’m even happy if you and Tom job-share.
Call The Midwife is set 55 years ago and is taking as much time to catch up as Coro Street. But it can stay grounded in the 1960s, one of the most fascinating decades last century.
For that reason I viewed The Sixties (Prime, Tuesdays) with great interest. I grew up in the 60s, had posters of the Fab Four on my wall, remember steam trains rumbling through The Square and knew exactly where I was when President Kennedy died.
You have to be important to be assassinated. Everyone else is just shot or killed. The first episode focused entirely on Kennedy’s visit to Dallas, the open car journey and the shooting.
It was told from every angle. There were so many. After a while you couldn’t remember which was north and what was south. Despite the footage, the retelling and the conspiracy theories that followed, The Sixties offered nothing different. Just one new insight would have made the episode worthwhile.
Instead, we saw nightclub owner Jack Ruby kill Lee Harvey Oswald. There were so many media covering the event, they had to interview themselves.
Doctor Death (TV One, Sunday) fitted the same category as The Sixties. It repeated the story of Dr Harold Shipman, Britain’s most prolific murderer, who poisoned more than 250 elderly patients. It put trendy retirement homes back 20 years.
Doctor Death was addictive but offered little new, other than launching more grisly tragedies in the weeks ahead. Tomorrow we have The Philpott Fire: Five Years On. How we love them.
Dame Professor Anne Salmon in Artefact (Māori TV, Mondays) reported on the number of taonga (highly prized objects) that are scattered in collections around the world. Several were gifted to Captain Cook back in 1769.
With the 250th anniversary of his first visit next year, perhaps they can be collected and returned on the replica Endeavour when it sails into Wellington Harbour. Its captain is our daughter’s father-in-law, so I’ll ask him.
The curse of The Bachelor NZ struck again. Firstly Naz in Dancing With the Stars (TV3, Sundays) was eliminated for monstering him a couple of years ago. Now Zac Franich has been voted out, simply because he was The Bachelor in another series.
We’re left with David Seymour, whose legs don’t move, and Roger Farrelly, whose legs do, but he doesn’t know where, why or who’s moving them.
Malcolm Hopwood is a Manawatū Standard columnist
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JACK Ashton’s love life is blossoming – both on-screen and off.
But just who is he, who’s his character on Call The Midwife and who’s he dating?
3 Jack Ashton’s love life is blossoming – both on-screen and offCredit: Rex Features
Who is Jack Ashton?
Jack Ashton is a British actor who is best known for his role as Rev Tom Hereward in Call The Midwife.
He has also been in Holby City, Broadchurch and Endeavour.
The actor has also starred in a Children In Need special of Strictly Come Dancing.
Which character does Jack Ashton play in Call The Midwife?
Jack plays Rev Tom Hereward in the hit BBC drama series, and he was set up to marry Nurse Barbara Gilbert in the latest series finale.
But Charlotte Ritchie, who plays Barbara, hinted that something could get in the way of them getting married.
3 Jack plays Rev Tom Hereward in the hit BBC drama seriesCredit: BBC
She told The Sun: “I don’t think the wedding is at the forefront of their minds.
“But that’s probably a good thing. I personally don’t understand the furore around weddings; I think they should be an excuse for a knees-up with your friends and that’s it. It’s all a bit of a song and dance, marriage. But this will be my first telly wedding – if it happens…”
Who is Jack Ashton dating?
Jack is currently dating his co-star Helen George, whose character previously dated his character on Call The Midwife.
The pair were first rumoured to be dating last year, and pictures emerged of the pair enjoying a passionate kiss in September.
3 Jack Ashton is currently dating co-star Helen GeorgeCredit: Rex Features
They have since confirmed their romance and he spoke about their relationship on Lorraine in January.
He admitted: “That’s the confusing bit, as long as I know where we’re going…”
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