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Valerie Dyer is a nurse and midwife who previously worked as an army nurse and pub landlady. She is played by Jennifer Kirby.

Overview[]

Introduced in the second episode of Series Six, Valerie Dyer was a nurse with the Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps (QARANC). She resigned from the army after becoming weary of the routine of that type of nursing, describing it as "Plenty of curing. Not quite so much caring". Not one to sit with her feet up, Valerie became a landlady at her aunt's pub, The Black Sail, while figuring out her options, but Valerie's nursing instinct never left her.

Biography[]

Series 6[]

One fateful day in 1962, Valerie was pulling pints in the pub when a warehouse on the docks was rocked by an explosion. Valerie was alerted to the situation when the explosion caused some of the bottles in the pub to rattle; her nursing instinct kicked in and she raced to the scene, where she helped Shelagh tend to workmen who'd been caught up in the explosion and check them for smoke damage and burns, and were then informed there were two men in the building, so Valerie and Shelagh went inside to try and help them. Sadly one of the men died while the other went blind. Both Shelagh and Valerie later testified at an inquiry into the explosion and new safety measures were implemented.

After Sister Julienne secured the funds to engage a new District Midwife, to replace Patsy Mount she and Phyllis Crane interviewed several potential candidates, however none of them were really suitable for the job. Then Sister Julienne remembered Valerie and how she had helped Shelagh that day on the docks, so she went to The Black Sail to talk to Valerie and attempt to persuade her to apply for the job. Valerie didn't take much persuading; she applied for the job straight away and got it and moved to Nonnatus House. Sister Monica Joan recognised Valerie and told her that she and Sister Evangelina both assisted in her birth.

Valerie has not been at Nonnatus House long when she finds that one of her patients, Nadifa, an expectant mother from Somaliland, has undergone female genital mutilation, a procedure common in parts of Africa and the Middle East. Things get even more complicated when Nadifa goes into labour, and the case takes a terrifying turn.

Series 7[]

in S07E01, Nonnatus House gains a new recruit in Nurse Lucille Anderson, and Valerie is first to welcome the newcomer. In S07E02, when a local woman blames Lucille's West Indian backgroud for her daughters stroke, Valerie tells Lucille about the bullying she endured during her time in the army, recalling there was a Sister there who disaproved of someone of Valerie's background being a nurse. Valerie tried to gut it out, but one day a young soldier, aged just 18, was wounded during a training exercise and was calling out for his mother. Valerie took care of him, but he sadly died during the night. An enquiry was held and the Sister spoke against Valerie, who was ultimately found to not be responsible for the soldiers death, but by then Valerie had had enough, and she resigned her commission and went home. Valerie then encourages Lucille to stand up for herself.

Series 8[]

In Series Eight, Valerie is shocked to discover that her grandmother, Elsie, is responsible for a series of back-street abortions which have been carried out recently - an aspiring model named Cath Hindman, and Trixie's friend, Jeannie Tennant, had both had abortions with catastrophic results; Cath suffered complications which forced her to undergo a hysterectomy, leaving her unable to have another child, and Jeannie had an abortion after discovering she was pregnant with her third child and didn't think she could cope with having an extra mouth to feed, but she developed a nasty infection which resulted in her death. When Valerie's Aunt Flo called Valerie to come help Elsie and to bring her nurses bag with her, Trixie offered to go along. When Valerie and Trixie walked into Elsie's apartment, they were shocked to see a young girl lying on Elsie's table in excruciating pain, the result of a botched abortion. Trixie accompanied the girl to the hospital while Valerie angrily chastised her grandmother for her actions. Valerie and Trixie both later spoke to the police, and Elsie was arrested and put on trial. Cath was initially reluctant to testify fearing she might get into trouble with the police (abortion, in most circumstances, was illegal in the United Kingdom at the time), but Sister Monica Joan and Sister Frances both managed to persuade her to testify. After Cath gives her evidence, Elsie pleads guilty and is sentenced to six years in prison.

Series 9[]

In S09E06, Valerie's cousin Maureen gives birth to her third child, but her joy proves to be short-lived when her newborn son is diagnosed with a series of life-limiting conditions and dies soon afterwards. Then, whilst visiting her gran in prison, Valerie grows concerned for her well-being when it becomes apparent that Elsie is losing weight, and tells her to see the doctor. Elsie is eventually found to have cancer of the oesophagus, and it is terminal, leaving Valerie devastated. Elsie is released from prison to spend her last days at home, and Sister Julienne grants Valerie a leave of absence to be with her gran during her final days. When Elsie hears the sound of an ice cream van, she tells Valerie to go get herself a cone despite Valerie's objections, but she ultimately does, leaving her gran in the care of her colleague Nurse Anderson and mechanic Cyril Robinson, who sing "Amazing Grace" as her breathing becomes more laboured. Unfortunately there is quite a queue of people buying ice cream, and by the time Valerie returns, Elsie has passed away.

Series 10[]

In the 2020 Christmas Special, Sister Julienne reveals that Valerie came to her in distress after Elsie's death and attempted to hand in her resignation, and after Sister Julienne refused to accept it, she agreed to go work at the Hope Clinic in South Africa (from the 2016 Christmas Special). Valerie's colleagues are saddened that she left without any warning and without saying goodbye.

Personality[]

While many of the Nonnatus House staff have landed there from other places, Valerie was born and raised in the London Poplar neighbourhood and she identifies strongly with her community. Season 9 will continue to show her investment in, and commitment to, "her people". .

Sexuality (Speculative)[]

Valerie's sexual orientation is never explicitly stated, however it is hinted at in Series 6 episode 7, when she is talking to Trixie about why Christopher may not have told her about his daughter. "People who have secrets, they're usually afraid. Afraid of being laughed at or rejected or punished. Prosecuted, even. Nobody does it for fun, promise you. Haven't you got any secrets?" Homosexuality was illegal in men and not accepted in women in this time period, and Valerie had been in the army where it was forbidden. This implies that Valerie might be referring to keeping her own sexuality a secret.

Trivia[]

  • In the 2017 Christmas episode, Valerie reveals she is atheist.
  • According to Sister Monica Joan, Valerie was born in the middle of a blizzard.
  • Valerie was delivered by both Sister Monica Joan and Sister Evangelina. Sister Monica Joan, despite her poor memory, remembered all the details as if it happened yesterday; she even remembered cutting Valerie's umbilical cord.
  • In series 7, it is revealed that Valerie left the army after being in an inquiry.
  • In August 2020, Jennifer Kirby revealed on her Twitter page that she had left the show.

Family[]

Valerie has two sisters (one older, one younger (according to Sister Monica Joan, Valerie is the middle daughter)) with whom she says she used to watch the Nonnatuns arrive on their bikes with the big black bags to deliver a baby - Valerie jokes she and her sisters thought that the nuns brought the baby in their bags. Her mother is named June Dyer. She has an uncle named Pete. She also has at least two aunts, named Grace (who gave Valerie some biscuits to give to her new colleagues when she moved to Nonnatus House), and Flo (who works at the local pub alongside Valerie's grandmother). Her grandmother is named Elsie Dyer.

References[]

(To be added)

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