06/03/2018 00:02 GMT

Call the Midwife’s Jack Ashton Reveals His Tears During On-Screen Wife’s Deathbed Scenes Were Real

'We knew we were acting – but we also knew we were saying goodbye.'

Call the Midwife’s Jack Ashton has admitted that the emotion he showed in the heartbreaking scenes when his on-screen wife dies, was real.

On Sunday night, viewers were distraught when Nurse Barbara Hereward - played by Charlotte Ritchie - passed away after contracting a bout of deadly meningitis.

Tom Hereward (Jack Ashton) and Nurse Barbara Hereward (Charlotte Ritchie)

Jack, who plays vicar Tom Hereward in the BBC drama, says he filmed the scenes last Autumn, shortly after the birth of his daughter.

His partner, Helen George, who plays Nurse Trixie Franklin in the series, gave birth to Wren Ivy, just days before, which left him tired and emotional.

He tells Radio Times: “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.

“Filming those scenes was emotional because we all love Charlotte. We knew we were acting – but we also knew we were saying goodbye.

“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’.”

Nurse Barbara Hereward died after contracting meningitis.

Charlotte Ritchie’s sudden departure came as a huge surprise to ‘Call the Midwife’ fans, as show bosses had not previously announced she would be leaving her role.

After her exit aired, the former ‘Fresh Meat’ actress reflected on her time on the hit BBC drama, after being inundated with tweets.

“Thanks to everyone for your lovely lovely messages,” Charlotte wrote. “I will miss CTM more than I can possibly say.”

‘Call The Midwife’ continues next Sunday at 9pm on BBC One. Read the full interview with Jack Ashton in this week’s Radio Times, out now. www.radiotimes.com

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