Call the Midwife Wiki

"I beg your pardon? You aren't in Kowloon now and my house isn't a slum!"
- Gilda taking offence to a comment by Mother Mildred.

Gilda Brittall is the wife of Barney Brittall and mother to Ed and John Brittall, all of which work at the docks. When her husband is taken ill with anthrax she is terrified of the dangers that await her sons in their docker careers. She was portrayed by Claire Keelan.


Gilda is a housewife caring for her father in law Joe Brittall who has just come home from the hospital. Joe is dying of pneumoconiosis as a result of decades spent hauling cargo in warehouses filled with dust, Nurse Beatrix Franklin and Mother Mildred come by everyday to nurse him through his final days providing oxygen.

Her husband and sons then come back home just as the nurses are leaving Gilda persuades her husband Barney to show a nasty boil in his neck to the nurses. Mother Mildred rather insensitively compares the boil to ones she’s seen in the Kowloon slums to which Gilda takes offence forcing Trixie to keep and peace and gets Barney to get it looked at in the surgery.

Barney is diagnosed with anthrax, Gilda is shocked and devastated at the news especially at the time her father in law is dying. Gilda decides she doesn’t want Mother Mildred to come into her home anymore for her comments on her house. Gilda then goes to visit Barney who is seriously ill in hospital and fears he might die where Barney confesses his love for Gilda, making sure she knows she has been the love of his life. But she won’t let him even hint of the fact that he may die and says she won’t have anything other than him being okay.

Joe’s comes further and further to his oncoming death, her sons wharf shuts down because of the anthrax but it turns out only Barney is sick with it. Mother Mildred returns to the Brittall residence and she gets the forgiveness of Gilda albeit grudgingly. Gilda is left to boil wash her sons work clothes in case of spores, this makes her angry as her sons are sent into places contaminated with who knows what with their own clothes, no protection is offered at all. She is also angry that of all the people to get sick it is her husband who’s father is already dying because of the job he did and fears for the unsafe future of her sons.

Joe Brittall dies, Barney Brittall however is going to recover from anthrax and is allowed to come from the hospital to see his father on his death bed. He dies surrounded by his loving son, daughter in law and grandsons. Afterwards her son Ed Brittall puts his name forward to leader of the docker union but says he won’t do it if she doesn’t want him to, she just says she wanted something safer for her sons. He promises to make it safer for everyone’s sons, maybe even his own some day. She agrees to let him stand but is still worried about him.


Why Barney, eh? His dad's already dying because of the job he did. What have my sons got coming to get them?

- Telling Mother Mildred about her fears for her sons working in an unsafe enviroment.