Since 2018, Georgie Glen has been playing Miss Higgins in Call the Midwife, the medical secretary at Dr Turner’s Practice, with the 2022 Christmas Special released on Christmas Day on BBC One, and this year, Georgie has played Mrs Baggot in Am I Being Unreasonable?, Dr Wendy Newstone in Ridley and Dinah in Inside No. 9. Over the years as an actor so far, Georgie’s roles have included playing Lady Bluff-Gore in Series 1 of The Larkins, Ruth Lady Fermoy in Series 4 of The Crown, Lady Grenford in CBBC’s Hetty Feather, Denise in comedy series Damned, Aunt Bridget in The Evermoor Chronicles, and from 2012 to 2015, she played Audrey McFall in Waterloo Road. Georgie chatted to us about playing Miss Higgins in Call the Midwife, her time in Series 4 of The Crown and some of her stand-out memories from filming for Waterloo Road as Audrey McFall.
Can you tell us about your character Miss Higgins in Call the Midwife and what is she like to play?
Miss Higgins is a single woman in her 60s who works as a medical secretary at Dr Turner’s Practice. I absolutely love playing her, she is an amalgamation of many women and teachers I knew as I was growing up. Capable, independent and not to be judged at face value!
How was it joining the cast in 2018 and what do you enjoy most about playing Miss Higgins and being on set?
I originally joined Call the Midwife just for a Christmas Special, I didn’t know at the time there were plans to keep the character going. I can’t believe I’m still there after five years! A credit to Miss Higgins’ administrative abilities! I still feel like a ‘new girl’ though, amongst the lovely Call the Midwife legends!
What was it like filming the 2022 Christmas Special, and have you had a favourite storyline to work on?
The Christmas Specials are always great fun to film. They are also the first episode we film after our three or four month break and we’re all so happy to be reunited and setting forth on another series. No, I don’t have a particular favourite but I do very much like the friendship between Miss Higgins and Nurse Crane. They are very different individuals but have bonded over common ground.
How was it playing Mrs Baggot in Am I Being Unreasonable? this year?
Mrs Baggot was great fun to play! I think I was only on set for a day, maybe two, so it was full on but playing an outrageous character in such a great show was fabulous.
You played Dr Wendy Newstone in Ridley, what was the show like to be part of?
Ridley was a very different challenge for me, I don’t often get asked to play straight contemporary roles. Playing Wendy I felt very out of my comfort zone and approached the role in quite a different way. I did as much research as I could and just tried to fit into the psyche of someone wholly committed to their job and at the top of their game. It was important to hold my own as a member of the team and as the series went on, Wendy (and I!) became quietly confident and sure of her expertise as a brilliant forensic pathologist!
Can you say about your episode of Inside No. 9 and how was it working alongside the rest of the cast, which includes Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton?
Inside No. 9 was an unusual role as it was all on the telephone talking to Reece’s character. I was alone in my room with the film crew and not interacting with the others.
Having played Lady Bluff-Gore in Series 1 of The Larkins, what is it like being part of the new adaptation of The Darling Buds of May?
The Darling Buds of May was great fun to do. Lady Bluff-Gore was another of those big characters, always enjoyable to play and I had the added joy of Nick Le Provost playing my husband! I’ve been a fan of his since The Jewel in the Crown and it really meant a great deal to work with him.
In Series 4 of The Crown, you played Ruth Lady Fermoy, how was this?
The Crown was a huge show to do. I really felt like a new girl at school and very nervous on my first day. Everyone was very friendly and welcoming but I got a touch of stage fright with my first scene. I knew my lines backwards but I just went completely blank! Thankfully it passed! Joining an established cast who all know each other is always slightly nerve-racking!
Was there anything you enjoyed most about playing Lady Grenford in the CBBC show Hetty Feather?
I loved playing Lady Grenford in Hetty Feather! She was a monstrous character! I loved all my time on that show, it was very special, such an impressive young cast, all so friendly and supportive of each other. We filmed in a beautiful part of Kent and I stayed in a beautiful B&B which made me feel as if I was on holiday!
Can you tell us about your time as Denise in comedy series Damned?
Damned was another challenge… aren’t they all!? It was great to work with such a talented and wonderful group of people. Jo Brand has long been a hero of mine as well as Morwenna Banks. To work with them and the others every day was an honour. It was always challenging because although it was scripted, we always did a bit of improvisation on each scene as well. Terrifying for me in such eminent company!
How was it filming as Aunt Bridget in The Evermoor Chronicles for Disney?
Aunt Bridget in The Evermoor Chronicles was a wonderful, eccentric, mysterious character. Again, great to work with a younger group of actors. Their energy and capacity for fun while maintaining high professional standards was awesome! It was also an experience to work on something involving magic and mystery. The special effects team were fantastic.
What are some of your stand-out memories from your time as Audrey McFall in Waterloo Road?
Audrey in Waterloo Road was one of my favourite characters to play. I think partly to do with the fact that I played her for three years or so. You can really own a character when you have the luxury of that sort of time. We filmed in an old school in Greenock which is just over The River Clyde from Helensburgh where I grew up! I stayed in Glasgow with the rest of the cast and was able to go back and stay with my mum at weekends! It was a special time. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
What is it like working on feature films including The Hitman’s Bodyguard/The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, Dial M for Middlesbrough, Jackie and Calendar Girls?
Working on films feels a bit different to TV. As a generalisation, they are a bigger deal… more cast, more crew, bigger sets and locations. Mind you, The Crown felt like a film set! Also, there tends to be star names attached, which is always interesting!! I’m still a bit in awe of meeting a household name but once you get down to work and are playing your roles, it feels normal, just another working day! Jackie had the added dimension of being filmed in a studio in Paris!
Over the years as an actor, what are some of your highlights of your career so far?
I’ve been acting now for over 40 years and it’s really hard to pick out a highlight. Every job is a pleasure in its own way (with one or two exceptions!) and I feel incredibly lucky that people are still willing to employ me! There are a lot of very good actors out there who just haven’t had the opportunity to show their skills, it is much harder for people starting out in the profession now. When I left drama school, I went straight into three weekly Rep at The Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich. While there, I worked with so many different actors and directors, old and young, on a huge variety of shows… comedies, dramas, musicals… it was a most valuable apprenticeship and taught you so much about teamwork.
Where does your love of acting come from and was it something you always wanted to do?
I went to art college when I left school and did a degree in graphic design. Acting didn’t enter my head! When I moved to London to work, I joined an assortment of evening classes just to get out really, I didn’t know many people. One of them happened to be a ‘drama workshop’ which I thought sounded fun and it was near my digs so… my first contribution was making props… but gradually, I began to do little parts when other people dropped out and I just found I loved it! I quickly became obsessed and applied to drama school in my late 20s. I think my family thought I’d gone mad! Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, the only one I was offered a place at, was wonderful for me. After two years there I was fit for nothing else! They sort of channelled you into the world of acting and prepared you for the profession. How to audition, how to keep accounts etc, it wasn’t just about the acting.
How do you like to spend your time away from your career and do you have any favourite films and TV shows to watch?
I live in Suffolk and I’m fortunate enough to have a garden which I absolutely love. It can be left to get a bit scruffy and wild but when I have time, I can potter about in my wellies and become completely absorbed for days at a time, tying up roses, pruning back shrubs, planting up my raised beds, topping up the bird feeders, humming away to myself… hours pass and I’m completely contented and lost in my own thoughts. It’s my meditation. I don’t watch as much telly as I used to, I’m an avid radio listener, but I can become completely addicted to a series often long after it came out. Breaking Bad was introduced to me by one of the Waterloo Road pupils… I watched four episodes back-to-back every evening until I had seen it all! I’m just enjoying Better Call Saul now! Believe it or not, I’ve also just begun to watch The Killing! Film-wise… I’m a BAFTA member and now is our busiest time watching all the films that have just been made. It’s always very humbling how many films there are, each representing such commitment, work and passion.
What upcoming plans do you have that you can share?
I’m currently having a wee break for Christmas and then I’m beginning three months with the BBC Radio Drama Company in January. I’m absolutely thrilled to be doing that, it’s always very varied work and with a great team of people. As I mentioned, I love radio, so I’ll be in my happy place! Then we begin a new series of Call the Midwife in April! As I said, I’m fortunate indeed and never stop feeling grateful.
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