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Call the Midwife role written especially for Lewes actress Sarah Gordy
A Sussex woman said it was “amazingly cool” to appear on hit television show Call the Midwife - and revealed she gets into character by imagining what the person she's playing smells like.
Sarah Gordy, who has Down's Syndrome, played Sally on the BBC show on Sunday.
In the episode Sally has a baby with Jacob, played by Colin Young who has Cerebral Palsy.
Miss Gordy, 32, of Lewes, said: “I had got to know the writer Heidi Thomas while I was filming Upstairs Downstairs when I played Pamela Holland.
“Heidi had an idea and she checked my availability before she wrote it. It was so nice to know she believes in me.
“The people were great - they are a wonderful cast and a really friendly crew. The food was good too.”
Explaining about the show and her co-star, she said: “Colin and I both want to encourage our industry to reflect society as it is, varied.
“You may find a person with Down's Syndrome stacking shelves in a supermarket or a person affected by Thalidomide in the chemist.
“Your accountant may be in a wheelchair.”
She said she trained for a role by “reading over and over again” - and then talking her character over with her mother, Jane.
She said: “Mum and I talk about all the characters and their world.
“With Call the Midwife there are people in my family who can remember the 1950s so I spent a lot of time talking to them.
“The idea of 'bad blood' was still around in the 1950s if a family had a member with a disability they would want them put away or hidden in the back room.
“Heidi, the writer, knows I like to start with a smell. I did not ask her what she was writing but I asked what does Sally smell like?
“I wanted to know where Sally fitted into society. Did she have a perfume? Did she smell of carbolic soap? Or was in dirt and cabbage?
“Heidi told me 'Sally' was respectable working class, that she had a bottle of perfume which she would save for special occasions and suggested Cote L'aimant which was around at the time and still available.
“My bottle is empty now, but I will buy another one if Sally comes back.”
The episode is available on BBC iPlayer.
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