Call the midwife - and Ben, too
PC Noakes asks Miranda Hart for a date
When the last episode in the series of Call the Midwife airs on Sunday, it will be a proud moment for Ben Caplan - as an actor, but also as a father.
Mr Caplan, who grew up in Elstree, plays PC Peter Noakes, the love interest of Miranda Hart's character Chummy, on the BBC's runaway hit about midwives working in 1950s East London.
The 37-year-old said he felt that winning the role was "meant to be" because filming began two months after his first child, Bertie, was born.
"It was an opportunity not to be missed," he said. "I had just been through childbirth so it was a subject very close to my heart. It was lovely to shoot a series about becoming a parent." Last summer, he was joined on set by his newborn son, who appears in a cameo role in the season finale.
The series, based on a British nurse's memoirs, is the highest-rating new drama in BBC1's history and has already been recommissioned.
"Hopefully, there will be lots more opportunities for Bertie to visit," said Mr Caplan, who won a place at drama school as a 17-year-old. He is no stranger to success. In 2005, he appeared in Two Thousand Years, Mike Leigh's play about British Jews and Israel, at the National Theatre, an experience he said was "amazing" and a "real honour".
He also appeared in the critically acclaimed 2001 mini-series Band of Brothers, produced by Tom Hanks and Stephen Spielberg, as Mississippi machine-gunner, Walter "Smokey" Gordon.
As PC Noakes, he enjoyed playing someone who was shy around women. "He's a real gentleman, which let me tune into a different, more old-fashioned way of thinking.
He's such a lovely character and he treats Chummy with so much respect."
He said he got on very well with Miranda Hart. "We had a laugh on and off set. Hopefully, that chemistry comes across on screen."