ALISON BOSHOFF: Helen George steps into Deborah Kerr’s ballet pumps as she gears up to play Anna Leonowens in The King And I UK tour
Helen George is stepping into Deborah Kerr’s ballet pumps to play Anna Leonowens in a UK tour of the beloved Rodgers & Hammerstein musical The King And I, which features classics like Getting To Know You and Hello Young Lovers.
Ms George, who shot to fame as glamorous Trixie Franklin in Call The Midwife, will play the British schoolteacher who is hired by the King of Siam to educate his many wives and children.
Kerr famously took the role in a big screen version opposite Yul Brynner in 1956. In 2018, a production of the musical directed by Tony award-winner Bartlett Sher enjoyed a sold-out season at the London Palladium.
Talented: Helen George (pictured) is stepping into Deborah Kerr’s ballet pumps to play Anna Leonowens in a UK tour of the beloved Rodgers & Hammerstein musical The King And I
The touring version, with George as Anna, will visit Dartford, Cardiff, Birmingham and other locations.
She said: ‘Theatre is my first love, and I am so excited to be returning to the stage for this beautiful, majestic production of The King And I.’
In the festive episode viewers will learn that Sister Hilda (Fenella Woolgar) has already left Poplar, with Sister Frances (Ella Bruccoleri) set to join her after falling off her bike in the snow during a birth emergency.
Classic: Kerr famously took the role in a big screen version opposite Yul Brynner in 1956
According to The Mirror, by the end of the episode viewers will say goodbye to Frances as she is sent away to recover from her injury, though sources claim the door has been left open for both characters to return.
An insider said: ‘Ella and Fenella are off doing other things now – but that doesn’t mean they won’t come back again at some point. They’ll both be missed.’
Actress Jenny Agutter, who plays Sister Julienne, added: ‘The door is always open.’
This year’s festive special will also see the return of Trixie Franklin, after actress Helen George was written out of the last series following the birth of her second child.
After years after being unlucky-in-love, Trixie appears to have finally found Mr Right in Matthew Aylward, and the couple will finally get engaged over Christmas ahead of their wedding which will air next series.
This year’s Call The Midwife Christmas Special will focus on the fallout from the Thalidomide scandal, with Susan Mullucks struggling to be included by other children, while her dad has spiralled into alcoholism.
The extended episode also sees an abandoned pregnant woman being cast into the street as she goes into labour.
But Poplar will still be full of festive cheer as Fred Buckle organises a talent competition called Poplartunity Knocks.
Excited: She said: ‘Theatre is my first love, and I am so excited to be returning to the stage for this beautiful, majestic production of The King And I (pictured in November 2022)