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Dr. Patrick Turner is a General Practitioner (GP) who works closely with the midwives and nurses who tend to suburban Poplar's poorest district. He is first introduced at the end of the pilot episode, arriving at a patient, Conchita Warren's home just after she had prematurely given birth and suffered a subsequent haemorrhage. He is portrayed by Stephen McGann.

Overview[]

Dr. Turner was born in Liverpool in 1909, the son of an ironmonger and his wife, and served as a doctor in World War II. He suffered a mental breakdown in Italy during 1945, which required a five-month stay in a psychiatric hospital called Northfield. Sometime after the war, Dr. Turner married Marianne Parker Turner and had a son, Timothy, and began working with the nuns and midwives of Nonnatus House arriving there in the late 1940s when the National Health Service began.

According to the 2012 Christmas Special, Mrs. Turner passed away from cancer sometime in 1957, leaving behind Patrick and their son, Timothy.

Though he is a good father to his son and tries his best to make time for Timothy, his duties providing advanced care to the ever-growing suburban district of Poplar, often take away from his domestic duties. The staff of Nonnatus takes notice, and Trixie, at one point, mentions that Timothy looks a little unkempt and that Dr. Turner's clothes need mending though he has no time to take them to a seamstress and has no wife to help him.

During the course of Series Two, it is hinted that Sister Bernadette has more feelings for the doctor than are appropriate for a nun. The first incident is when she secretly fixes the missing button on his lab coat for him.

At another point, during the birth of Maeve Carter's twins, her twin Meg barged into the birthing room and shoved his away from her sister and slapped Sister Bernadette as they tried to save both mother and baby, due to her mistaken belief that they meant Maeve harm. Dr. Turner was infuriated, and when the babies were safely delivered, he and the Sister stood in the streets to catch their breath. As he smoked a cigarette, he commended her for her resilience during the hectic birth and battle of wills with Meg. He offers her a cigarette, to which Sister Bernadette replies "just a puff". She and the doctor share a small moment, wherein Dr. Turner seems to have some feelings for her before she goes off back to Nonnatus House. 

During a fete, wherein Dr. Turner is meant to participate with his son in a three-legged race, Dr. Turner is called away when a woman haemorrhages after a botched abortion. In his stead, Sister Bernadette pairs with Timothy and wins, though they trip at the finish line and causes a bad cut to the Sister's hand. She goes inside Nonnatus to clean it, and Dr. Turner comes in to see if she'd like him to have a look at it. As he inspects her hand, he is overcome with his long-brewing affection and kisses her hand. 

Sister Bernadette immediately turns away, and Dr. Turner apologizes at once. She replies that he shouldn't be sorry and that it was not an unforgivable offense to her, but she turns away for her vows to God. "And if I didn't respect that, I wouldn't deserve to live." Dr. Turner replies, before leaving. 

After treating many patients for tuberculosis, Dr. Turner confides in Sister Julienne that he is getting to those affected too late, due to them not even knowing they carried the disease. With Sister Julienne's insistence, he commissions that department of health with Sister Bernadette, and with their passionate arguments, a portable x-ray van is scheduled to come to Poplar. 

Sister Bernadette is revealed to have the disease and is sent to recover in a sanatorium. After realizing he has fallen in love with Sister Bernadette, Dr. Turner sends her many letters, though she cannot bring herself to read them, let alone respond to them. Patrick's spirits are dampened when he learns that she is keeping touch with the other women of Nonnatus. After a talk with Sister Julienne about her place with the Order, Sister Bernadette responds to a letter Timothy sent her and adds a postscript for Dr. Turner, saying she will reply to his letter in due course.

Realizing she is in love with Dr. Turner and wants a life outside the religious life, Sister Bernadette leaves the order and retakes her birth name: Shelagh.

She calls Dr. Turner on the phone, telling him she is being released, and that she is no longer a part of the religious order. He insists that he go get her in his car, but she replies that she will take the bus. Before they can agree, Dr. Turner is called away and Shelagh makes the walk to the bus.

PatrickFindsShelagh

The right road

After tending to his patients, Dr. Turner and Timothy drive out to the sanatorium and are told Shelagh made the trip to the bus stop. Searching for her, and coming up empty in the dense fog, Turner and his son finally spot her walking through the mist. Getting out of the car, Dr. Turner wraps her in his coat to get her warm and confesses his love for her, which she answers with her own declaration. They finally reveal their real first names to each other. Not long after, he gives her a box, saying it's "from me and somebody else". Shelagh unwraps the wrapping paper and finds it has the words "Please will you marry my dad?" written on it, and she and she says yes.

PatrickandTimWedding

They get married in the 2013 Christmas Special, however, Timothy is struck down by polio, forcing them to delay the wedding. Timothy pulls through his illness and the wedding goes ahead, though polio has damaged Timothy's legs and requires him to wear braces but after some months learns to walk independently again. After they get married, it is learned that, due to the TB scarring her reproductive organs, Shelagh is unlikely to ever carry a child of her own, . Thus, Shelagh pursues adoption, only for Patrick to reconsider when he realizes how in-depth the questions are.

Though Patrick tries to drag his feet and avoid going through with the adoption agency, Shelagh persists. The reason for Patrick's reluctance is thus revealed: the adoption process has uncovered that he went through a mental breakdown after World War II. A rift grows between Patrick and Shelagh when the truth comes out in front of the adoption people, who insinuate that Turners are not suitable adoptive parents.

However, when the adoption society contacts them, they relate that they are deemed suitable adoptive parents, though the rift still lingers. Soon, Patrick apologizes to his wife about keeping his past mental issues from her, and Shelagh forgives him though she cannot forget it.

After a teenage girl's parents change their mind about keeping their grandchild, a baby girl is put up for adoption, and Patrick and Shelagh are chosen first. Arriving at the agency, Patrick and Shelagh enter the nursery to meet their child, but Shelagh is nervous, saying this is the closes she's ever going to get to giving birth. Patrick goes first to the crib, and tearfully, Shelagh asks "what's she like?" Patrick tells her to close her eyes, and hold out her arms. He carries the newborn over to his wife and places her in her arms saying "here's your Mummy".

PatrickShelaghAngela1

The Turners name their baby Angela Julienne Turner. 

In Series Four, Patrick prescribes a pregnant woman suffering extreme morning sickness Distaval, a pill that will keep her from vomiting 40-50 times a day. One of the key ingredients to the drug's effectiveness, however, is Thalidomide, which would later be revealed to cause the significant malformation of limbs to babies whose mothers took the drug while pregnant. He also begins to question his own abilities as a doctor when he has a baby boy removed from the care of his Christian Scientist parents who refused to give him medicine as it was against their faith and both came under suspicion of physically abusing him, but when a foster carer brought the baby in and explained he'd suffered a fracture in spite of the greatest of care, Patrick realizes the baby is suffering from osteogenesis imperfecta, an extremely rare brittle bone disease and feels guilty for not thinking of it before. He is soon taken ill and Shelagh takes over running the surgery for him with the help of Nurse Mount. When Nurse Gilbert and Sister Mary Cynthia realize that one of their patients is suffering from diphtheria and is struggling to breathe, Mary Cynthia asks Patrick for help. Having regained his belief in his abilities thanks in part to gifts received from his grateful patients, he rushes to the scene and performs an emergency tracheotomy on the woman and saves her life.

In Season 5, as Poplar babies are starting to be born with malformed limbs, Patrick tries to figure out the reason, which remains a mystery until the end of the season. At the same time, Timothy, who read in a medical journal that smoking cigarettes can cause lung cancer, gets his parents to quit. Patrick is not entirely faithful to the goal, and only truly stops when he catches Timothy sneaking a cigarette. Later, Tim cheekily reveals that it was a reverse psychology method to get Patrick and Shelagh serious about quitting.

You are my only son

When Shelagh gets the news that Distaval, a drug they'd been prescribing to the women of Poplar, has been withdrawn due to its effects on fetuses, she and Patrick are angry and distraught. Patrick begins smoking again, and the Turner's feel incredibly responsible for the babies in Poplar that were born limbless. One of their patients, Rhoda Mullucks gave birth to a daughter Susan whose arms and legs never formed properly in the womb, but Patrick hadn't prescribed her Distival during her pregnancy. They soon learn that her sister Ava's GP had prescribed her Distival for insomnia and realise Rhoda probably took her sister's tablets.

Patrick still feels guilty for his part in the thalidomide scandal in the 2016 Christmas special in which he and Shelagh accompany a party from Nonnatus House to Apartheid-era South Africa to help save a struggling mission hospital from closure. Where he must see the poor lives the black South Africans lead in the segregated society. Patrick's confidence takes another knock when a boy brings his polio-stricken brother to be vaccinated, but Patrick tells them the vaccine won't help as the boys already had the disease. Dr. Myra Fitzsimmons, who helps run the clinic, suddenly falls ill and convinces herself she has liver cancer. Patrick is convinced her diagnosis is wrong but is unable to examine Dr. Myra as she won't allow him anywhere near her until Shelagh convinces her to let her husband examine her. Patrick determines Dr. Myra has an abscess and drains it, but Dr. Myra's health continues to deteriorate. Patrick gains hope when he learns of an experimental drug that might save Dr. Myra's life, and he and Shelagh take her to a General Hospital. Dr. Myra gradually recuperates and Patrick recovers his self-belief and gives the boy with polio Timothy's old leg braces to help him walk.

On returning to Poplar, Shelagh discovers she is pregnant, and she breaks the news to Patrick in a way that mirrored the way he proposed to her: she drew a picture of a baby in the womb and writing the caption "Please will you be my dad?". Patrick is delighted. At about the fourth month of her pregnancy, Shelagh discovers her underwear is bloody, and she is hospitalized, fearing a possible miscarriage. Thankfully, when Patrick listens to her stomach, they are relieved to discover that not only is the baby still alive, but it has a strong and steady heartbeat.

We finally know the name of Shelagh and Dr Turner s newborn son in Call the Midwife

After Shelagh comes home, she and Patrick realize their flat is too small for three children and agree to move house. The Turners move into their new home in S06E06, but before leaving their flat, Patrick surprises Shelagh by revealing he had secretly kept all of Angela's baby things. Unfortunately, an address mix-up results in their furniture being sent to Kent by mistake, and the family are forced to sit and sleep on the floor on their first night in their new home. In S06E08, Shelagh chooses Sister Julienne to be her midwife, and with Patrick supporting her, she gives birth to a son, whom she and Patrick christen Edward Patrick Turner, or Teddy for short.

In Season 7, the Turners hire a Hungarian au pair named Magda to help with the running of the household. But when Magda discovers she is pregnant, she steals some ergometrine from Nonnatus House to try and induce an abortion, but she ends up putting her own life in danger as a result. Magda survives, but her brush with death causes her to decide to become a nurse, and she leaves the Turner house to go study in Paris.

In the 2018 Christmas Special, Patrick and Shelagh agree to foster May, a Chinese orphan whose adoptive parents are unable to take her for a year as the father of the family has tuberculosis. At the end of Season 8, May's adoption falls through after the father relapses, and Patrick and Shelagh drive to the Mother House in Chichester and bring her back.

Turners at the beach

The Turners at the beach

In the 2019 Christmas special Mother Mildred arranges for almost all of the Nonnatus team to go to the Outer Hebrides to rest and see if it is a good place to open a Nonnatus branch there. Patrick is so entranced by the place he wants to move there but Shelagh is adamant against it, when a mother needs her appendix removed he is brought back in his mind to the war days and his break down. Despite this he successfully removed the appendix and saves the mother. As the year goes by Patrick begins to find his work and family balance even harder than usual, he and Shelagh decide an extra pair of hands would be easier so they take on doctor Kevin McNulty and the arrangement works out well for a time Kevin finding his feet. However when Kevin has been found to be stealing pethidine from Nonnatus House to help deal with the pain of patients dying he has to go. Before he does he assures Kevin that he was broken once before and became a better doctor for it.

In S11E07, Patrick, Sister Julienne, and Nurse Nancy Corrigan all attend a midwifery conference. During the train ride back, tragedy strikes. The driver, Lionel Corbett, who had been experiencing a lot of blinding headaches recently, begins to feel ill while driving and his vision blurs, causing him to miss a stop signal. The train ends up hitting another train and is derailed. Nancy, who was in the toilet at the time of the crash, escapes with only minor injuries, but Patrick and Sister Julienne are both still trapped in the carriage. In S11E08, as the shocked community rallies to try and help survivors, Timothy, who had been training to be a doctor, rushed to the scene of the accident with his father's coat and bag to try and help. Hearing Sister Julienne's cries for help, Timothy boards the carriage and tends to them both. Patrick and Sister Julienne are rescued from the wreckage and taken to hospital - Patrick has a head injury and his left wrist is broken, whilst Sister Julienne has several broken ribs and has been displaying heart attack-like symptoms. Fortunately, Sister Julienne's heart attack symptoms were merely the result of shock, and she and Patrick pull through.

In the 2022 Christmas Special, Patrick finds himself once again caring for Rhoda Mullucks, now pregnant with her fourth child and her husband Bernie has become an alcoholic. Rhoda eventually gives birth to a baby boy, and she tells Patrick she's gonna name the baby after him.The maternity home is faced with an outbreak of gastroenteritis with five new-borns, the home goes into quarantine with Patrick, Shelagh, Timothy and Trixie staying to care for the mothers and babies. When a baby nearly dies Timothy wonders at how after that they could just go back to looking after the other babies and Patrick tells him as a doctor you become used to extraordinary things. The Turner rabbit Genevieve dies suddenly just before May’s birthday party. Shelagh comes to him telling him she’s pregnant again, Patrick is slightly more enthusiastic about the idea of a fifth child than Shelagh. But Shelagh walks down the stairs having had her period and believed she was starting menopause. While on the way to Trixie Franklin’s wedding there is a car crash involving Arnold and Lizzie Yu, a couple Patrick and Shelagh had become friends with. Arnold is only injured but Lizzie died on impact, Patrick then faces perhaps the biggest trial of his medical career, the baby Lizzie is carrying is still alive inside and he must perform a caesarean section on the open road and saves the life of the baby inside, a daughter.

Trivia[]

  • Dr. Turner has been absent from only one episode throughout the shows run, that being S01E04.
  • In real life Stephen McGann is married to Heidi Thomas, writer and producer of the show.
  • Patrick is left-handed.

Gallery[]

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