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EastEnders icon Lorraine Stanley is worlds away from Karen Taylor in series one of Call the Midwife

Over ten years ago, the renowned soap opera star took on a very different role based in the East End.

The love of Walford is Karen Taylor. The devoted mother of six works nonstop to maintain the stability of her household and would traverse scorching coals to protect her children’s honour.

Viewers of EastEnders are accustomed to seeing Karen waltz around the square gossiping about her scandalous neighbours while sporting a dishevelled bun and one bra strap dangling by her elbow. However, we all admire Karen because of her authenticity.

Karen’s situation is not all humour and smiles, however, as her oldest daughter Chantelle Atkins was murdered in 2020 by her violent husband Gray Atkins. Fans of Call the Midwife may recognise actress Lorraine Stanley from an ancient episode of the historical drama, which she portrays well as Karen.

Long before the 46-year-old performer set foot in Walford, she portrayed Pearl Winston, a mother struggling to make ends meet in Poplar, an impoverished area of East London. She also has a very different appearance from Karen Taylor, with long, unkempt hair, rags, and a dirty face.

Call The Midwife, which is based on Jennifer Worth’s best-selling memoirs, recounts the challenges faced by the women of Nonnatus House as they try to make a living in a depressed part of the nation’s capital. Jenny Lee, a nurse in a 1950s hospital, quickly falls in love with the births, deaths, tragedies, and romances of the London neighbourhood she is immersed in.

Jenny is seen making her way to Nonnatus House in the opening moments of the BBC historical drama’s first episode, which aired in 2012. Jenny is startled by her decrepit surroundings when she discovers two ladies, one of whom is Pearl, fighting in the streets while spectators look on.

Pearl’s husband’s involvement with her opponent started the fight, which is eventually broken up by Sister Evangelina and the police who show there. Later on in the episode, Pearl, who is expecting, brings her little kid in for a checkup and shocks the nurse by revealing that she has a severe case of syphilis.

Pearl is cuddled up on the couch, listening to the radio, when nurse Lee visits the pregnant mother at home. She tells Jenny heartbreakingly that “you can’t win em all” because her baby passed away from syphilis because she is distraught at the loss.

Lorraine Stanley gives an outstanding performance as Pearl, giving the role grit, guts, and gut-wrenching intensity. The Call the Midwife episode that made the show successful starred Lorraine Stanley from the popular soap opera.


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