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Published: Monday, March 25, 2013, 8:38 p.m.

'Midwife' her calling, British actress says

  • Bryony Hannah (left), Jessica Raine and Helen George co-star in "Call the Midwife," returning to PBS for its second season Sunday.

    Bryony Hannah (left), Jessica Raine and Helen George co-star in "Call the Midwife," returning to PBS for its second season Sunday.

Actress Helen George may look like the sexy Trixie she plays on PBS's "Call the Midwife," but that's where the resemblance ends.
George is far more serious and dedicated to her profession than her looks imply. "It's a vocation -- as we meet these midwives they choose a vocation as well, and I think it's your cross to bear. Acting is my midwifery, I suppose," she said.
"I say 'vocation' in the true sense of the word because it takes over your whole life. You live it. It's not a 9-to-5; you can't switch it off," she said.
The second season of the British series premieres on Sunday, and George is trying out for some American pilots. She admits she's scared to death to do that.
"I had my first audition over here yesterday and I was soooo nervous. I've done so many auditions in London and big musical auditions and big film auditions and TV, and here the fright of doing my first American audition was so much bigger. It was fine once I went in there, but it was so scary."
If that were not enough stress, her trip has forced a separation from her actor husband of three months, Oliver Boot. "I'm Mrs. Boot," she said, "I sound like a hit woman."
They met when they co-starred in the British series "Hotel Babylon."
"I had that rule: Don't date actors, and certainly don't marry an actor. That was Rule No. 1, but you can't help who you fall in love with, I suppose.
Her calling essentially began when she was 5 and started taking dancing lessons. But by the time she was a teenager she realized that her future did not fit in a tutu.
"I went to see 'Les Miz' when I was about 15 in the West End, and I went home and I loved it so much. I didn't know how to sing at that point, and I started singing every song in the house by myself, everyone had gone out. And I suddenly thought, 'Oh, I can hit those notes. I can sing those songs.'"
So she auditioned for a performing arts boarding school. "And I had to do an acting piece for that, and I got in and did that. And through singing, I kind of found acting ... And now I think I'd find it hard to go back to musical theater because I love acting so much. I found my way, and then I'm here."
Story tags » Television

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