Call The Midwife star Helen George said she is “petrified” by the coronavirus and warned the entertainment industry is in danger of being ignored during the crisis.
The Covid-19 outbreak poses a dire threat to the creative industries, with cinemas and theatres closed while most live musical performances have also been scrapped in a bid to halt the spread of the virus.
Boris Johnson – who has since unveiled an “unprecedented package” of measures to help businesses through the crisis – was criticised on Monday for advising against visiting leisure venues, rather than ordering them to close.
It had been claimed venues closing voluntarily would be unable to claim insurance.
George, who plays Trixie Franklin in BBC period drama Call The Midwife, said she was “petrified” by the virus and was struggling to sleep.
She told the PA news agency: “It’s a huge crisis, and it really is a crisis for the arts, because in times like this, pandemics and war, people need entertainment and people need the arts.
“Coming out of it, people will want to go to the theatre by Christmas, people will be ready to go and laugh and to go to pantos to enjoy themselves, but I don’t know how the industry is going to survive if he (Mr Johnson) doesn’t officially close us down, if we don’t get insurance payments. It’s terrifying.”
George, who has starred in the award-winning Call The Midwife since 2012, said the UK’s entertainment industry was a major tourist attraction and called the potential impact of the coronavirus “really terrifying”.
“I know it’s across the board for every industry, but I think the arts can’t be ignored, because I think it is in danger of being ignored, yet again, as it always seems to be. And I think that would be a massive loss for our country,” she said.
Now in its ninth series, Call The Midwife follows a group of midwives working in London’s East End during the 1960s.
George believes its themes of community and working together are a perfect fit for the current climate.
“I think there is definitely something to be said about that,” she said. “I think people will turn back to that. And I can’t imagine they will want to watch awful films about viruses spreading and alien abductions; you want to watch happy things in a time like this. Comedies, and warming shows.”
The Call The Midwife Series 9 DVD is available now.