Call the Midwife Wiki

Mabel Tillerson is the wife of Percy Tillerson, at first her husband showed himself to be a very friendly man but when he suddenly dies in a blizzard Sister Julienne is sent to break the news to Mabel who to her surprise is happy he is dead and reveals the truth of her husband and her and her children's ordeal at his hands. She was played by Anita Dobson.


Mabel is the wife of Percy Tillerson who to everyone else seemed like a very nice man, he went to the surgery of Dr Turner and on his way back he was caught in a blizzard and died. Dr Turner tried to find his next of kin but had too busy a schedule to break the news himself so he asked Sister Julienne to tell his widow, she asked the neighbour if she knew where Mabel was as according to her husband, she was housebound having been lame since she was a girl. She peered into the flat and found Mabel passed out, she instructed for the door to be broken down. The nun rushed inside and woke her up, Mabel’s response was “I did what you said”. She then looked to her side and saw people at the doorway to her flat and panicked and told Sister Julienne she must go as Percy would not have people in his flat.  

Mabel was wrapped up and given some tea, her body temperature went back to normal, when Sister Julienne found her she was very cold. This confuses Mabel as the last thing she remembered was feeling very warm, Sister Julienne explained hypothermia did that, Mabel took her cardigan off which was rare as she told Sister Julienne Percy didn’t approve of women showing their flesh and asked when her husband was returning. Sister Julienne told her of her husbands death, she expected Mabel to be upset and confused but she took it in quickly. She told Sister Julienne Percy liked to be the one who decided what happened and when but he had no say in how he met his end and was glad.  

Mabel then got up with the help of sticks and showed Sister Julienne photographs and told her of her story. She married Percy who turned out to be a monster, they had two children together named Edwin and Anthea and Percy was as abusive with them as he was with Mabel, he gave their son Edwin one black eye too many. To get away from his father he joined the army aged 16 and fought in the second world war, Edwin was taken prisoner by the Japanese but Mabel thought he was strong enough standing up to blows after getting so many from his own father but after VE day the red cross wrote to Percy and Mabel to tell them Edwin had died not from a beating but from cholera. The death of her son greatly affected her, breaking down in tears just talking about him years later.  

Her daughter Anthea was a pretty girl but Mabel wished she wasn’t pretty as se believed Percy wouldn’t have “done what he did to her”. Percy raped his own daughter once a week when Mabel went out to evensong, he continued this until he impregnated his own daughter aged 15, Mabel took her to the surgery and the day after the consultation Mabel ended up with a black eye and several broken ribs. Anthea was kicked out of the tenement block, she banged and screamed at the door and Mabel couldn’t intervene, Mabel would tell people that Anthea ran away.  

Time passed, Anthea rebuilt her life having married and started a family with children, she became foster mother never being able to say no to the council as she knew what it was like to be a child with nowhere to go. Meanwhile Mabel had to endure years of abuse and control at Percy’s hand, she just learned to do what Percy said to avoid being beaten. She said Percy would say “you can’t argue with what God wants”.  

Sister Julienne loaned Mabel some smart clothes to attend a Christmas dinner, Mabel considered buying something expensive to show Percy who was always so careful with money who was boss but decades of control would not go away overnight. When preparing to go Mabel told Sister Julienne of a ten bob note she kept in her corset, that money was always her ticket out, on a train or bus. But when Anthea was being forced out Mabel put it in her pocket. As Mabel was leaving her flat her neighbours gave her words of sympathy and condolences.  

Mabel joyfully went to a Christmas pantomime at the Iris Knight Institute after the Christmas dinner, Mabel said she hadn’t pulled a cracker in 32 years and that the jokes in them didn’t get any better. Just as she was about to take her seat she was shocked and tearful to see her daughter Anthea again after to many years, Anthea introduced Mabel to her grandchildren. The two sat next to each other, Anthea brought Mabel some flowers. Anthea gives her mother the ten-bob note, telling her that she wanted to buy her mother flowers with it, but that the note isn’t accepted anymore. She says that the note, (including all the pain and anger they suffered) belongs in the past. Mabel tentatively embraces her daughter and granddaughter, and the two enjoy the panto together, though there is a long way to go in mending their relationship.