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Iris Willens was an older woman who appeared in the 2015 Christmas Special. She was played by Victoria Hamilton.

Biography[]

When we first see Iris, she is a rather sullen woman of 46 who appears closed off to her family and community. Although, she is close with her niece, who was pregnant and expecting twins. It is explained later that when Iris was younger, she had a baby girl who died around Christmas time, at only 4 months old. This loss broke her heart and for the last twenty years, Iris was a changed, sullen woman.

Iris works to keep the local Poplar church in pristine condition, which brings Shelagh to ask her for help when the BBC comes around.

Once her niece gives birth, first to a baby girl, Iris holds and cares for the baby while her niece births her second child. Iris happily cares for the child, only to have it taken from her when her nieces' mother comes in. It is an awkward scene for Iris, as she is clearly uncomfortable and thinking of her own daughter.

Later that night, Iris sits with her husband as she explains the birth to him. At the end of it, he encourages her to eat the grapes he set out for her, which "help" with her kidney stones. Iris says that they don't bother her anymore.

When Iris goes to Violet's shop, she is surprised to find out that Violet remembers Iris' daughter--Lorna, which Iris laments that she wishes she'd given her child a "happier" name. Violet replies that she couldn't forget Lorna nor "that smile she had". Violet tells Iris that there was nothing sad about Lorna.

When Violet lays a comforting hand on Iris', Iris awkwardly explains that she would like a bra expander--a subtle hint at her unknown pregnancy.

Later, we see Iris working with Shelagh about the Christmas play, where she then donates her deceased daughter's cradle for the Nativity scene. She explains to Shelagh that she cared for her church the way other people care for their children--making sure they always looked their best. However, she admits that she did not have Lorna long enough to know how she would respond to her mother's fussing. "She might have one of them little madam who wiggles and says the brush hurts", says Iris.

Later, Iris explains to Shelagh that she spent "22 Christmases" sad because she "had no child to share it with". But she says that this year has been different because she stopped resisting the happiness around her.

Days later, on the day of the concert rehearsal, Iris is cleaning the fireplace when she starts feeling severe pain in her abdomen. She soon heads to the church and encounters Shelagh, who asks what is the matter. Iris explains that she woke up feeling badly and that she has a history of kidney stones. Shelagh tells her she will bring her to the doctor.

At Dr. Turner's office, he asks if she's "passed blood" recently, and Iris explains that she went through menopause early. However, he explains he was asking about her urine. Iris then explains that she's been urinating more often, feels ill and that the pain is mostly in her back. It is then that Dr. Turner listens to her belly and hands the stethoscope to Shelagh for a second opinion. Shelagh smiles and tells Iris that they're going to take her to the Maternity Home because she's about to have a baby.

Iris begins to panic because she does not feel safe and that when she had her first child Sister Julienne told her it was important to feel safe. At the home, Iris is still in a state of panic, fearing that the child will not be healthy and wondering how she could not have known. Suddenly, Sister Julienne appears. Iris states that the sister delivered Lorna, and Julienne responds that she has often prayed for Lorna. Iris says that she never thought she'd have another child, and kept loving Lorna, and the sister replies that this new child will not overcome the love for Lorna but will add to the love in her heart. As Iris labours, her husband struggles to hold a cigarette steady as his hands shake too much.

Iris delivers a baby girl with Sister Julienne's help. Breathlessly, she says to her newborn daughter "Come here, come to your mum,". Iris falls in love with her daughter at once. Iris decides to call her daughter Joy.

When she shows the child to her husband and he correctly exclaims the child's weight, Iris realizes that she isn't prepares for the child. Luckily, the draw that Violet was holding for a baby's layette was luckily drawn for Iris--Fred and Violet threw out all the tickets that did not hold Iris' numbers.

Later, Iris and her family are shown being photographed by the papers.

Quotes[]

"I'm 46. How can I not have known?".

- Iris to Shelagh about her unexpected pregnancy.

"I never thought I'd have another child. I just... I kept loving her".

- Iris talking about her deceased daughter Lorna to Sister Julienne.

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