TCA press tour: 'Call the Midwife' star Miranda Hart gets motherly

To say starting production on Season 3 of "Call the Midwife" is like riding a bike has an entirely different meaning for Miranda Hart -- so she backpedals when using the turn of phrase.

The 6-foot-1 comedic actress has more than convincingly displayed poor bike-riding skills as Camilla Cholmeley-Browne, affectionately known as Chummy, on the period drama. Such lousy hand-eye coordination is just one of the many ways the clumsy and lovable character has endeared herself in the eyes of "Midwife" viewers.

"The idiom has lost its power when Chummy's riding skills are considered," 40-year-old actress told The Times during a trip to Beverly Hills for the Television Critics Assn. press tour. "But in the everyday sense, picking up on the show has been without wobbles and crashes -- thankfully."

PHOTOS: TCA press tour: The Scene

The popular series, based on the memoirs of Jennifer Worth, centers on a group of midwives and the nuns of the nursing convent Nonnatus House in post-World War II East London. Season 3 of "Call the Midwife," now in the early stages of production, is set to roll out in Britain in 2014 before making its stateside debut on PBS soon thereafter.

We talked to Hart about playing the fan favorite, the trouble of filming with babies and Chummy's Charlie Chaplin clothes.

The big "Doctor Who" announcement was recently made -- and people were going nuts about it. Were you just as eager to learn who it was? You were one of the speculated names!

That would have been fun to see -- journalists going crazy on Twitter! It was funny because there was speculation about whether the next one was going to be a woman. And, yeah, my name got thrown into the pack quite a few times. So it was fun to be a part of that ride. So, I was caught up in it all a little more than I would normally be.

Would it have even been something you would consider had they made an offer?

You know, I haven’t thought about it. If you get an offer like that, it’s definitely something you have to think long and hard over. Hello, it’s a big show. But I love the actor they’ve selected -- Peter Capaldi. He’s great.

You’ve started production on Season 3--

Yeah, we just started. We’re actually filming the Christmas episode first -- naturally, when we’re having a hot week in London. We have to have summer now when I’m in wool and tweed, scarves, coats and gloves. Lovely.

Is it weird to go into this season, in that it's reached the point where the show has run out of stories from Jennifer’s memoir?

I was a little worried, initially, but it was a seamless transition. We don’t get the scripts in advance, so we’re kind of seeing how things are turning out as we go along. There doesn’t seem to be a jolt of difference. And I think she always had to make up some things -- not necessarily big stories, but to create the television world of it. But, no, the main creator and writer Heidi Thomas has continued the great stories and has made them feel part of the word. There are still a few Jennifer stories going on in Season 3, a few.

And we’re in 1959 now!

Yes, 1959! We’re about to hit the ‘60s. I'm scared for Chummy. I don’t know how Chummy will cope with that. She'd be like [clutches her collar], "Oh, gosh. I’m not sure about this."

A lot is happening. Contraception is being mentioned -- it hasn't in the scripts I read, but they’re probably hearing more of that at work. One of the mothers who’s about to give birth wanted to give birth in a hospital -- and even that was quite shocking. It was like, "What do you mean you want to go to a hospital? We’re fine at home with just us. What do you mean you want a doctor?" Things are shifting health-wise, medically .... But in terms of gearing up for swinging ‘60s -- no way. We’re very pure. We might go to a jazz club, and that’s already pushing it.

I sort of love that simple, calm way of life. I kind of wish I was there. It was more peaceful and less frantic. People didn’t live on their iPhones. They weren’t trying to communicate all the time or work all the time. They were incredibly hard-working and had amazing jobs, but their home life and community life was very simple.

Yeah, but would you want to live then if you were a pregnant woman?

Um, no. Definitely wouldn’t want to give birth in those days. Have you seen what they do with chairs? I’d rather enjoy the jazz clubs, the music, the jive, the knitting -- I’m into that. Not so into the idea of giving birth on a dirty carpet with a twentysomething midwife.