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Jack Ashton on his 'confusing' real-life romance with Call the Midwife co-star Helen George

Gemma Strong

Jack Ashton has opened up about his romance with Call the Midwife co-star Helen George. The actor, who plays Reverend Tom Hereward in the BBC medical drama, spoke to chat show host Lorraine Kelly about the couple's blossoming relationship, and joked that there was some confusion after their characters split on the show.

"In the show you were dating Nurse Trixie [Helen]… now you are dating Nurse Gilbert [played by Charlotte Ritchie], but in real life you are dating Helen," Lorraine commented. "That's the confusing bit," Jack quipped, adding, "As long as I know where we're going."

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Jack Ashton has opened up about his real-life romance with Call the Midwife co-star Helen George

The star confirmed that he and Helen got together in April last year, while they were working in South Africa filming the Christmas special. "It blossomed in South Africa, I think. Around that time," he commented.

It's thought to be Helen's first romance since splitting from actor Oliver Boot in August 2015 after three years of marriage.

During his appearance on Lorraine, Jack also spoke about the upcoming new series, which will get underway on Sunday 22 January.

He confirmed that the thalidomide scandal will re-emerge this season, with Dr Patrick Turner and his wife Shelagh becoming instrumental in stopping the drug being handed out, having come to the realisation that the medication actually does more harm than good.

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Series six of the BBC medical drama will begin on 22 January

The show's creators have previously revealed that series six will deal with a number of dark issues, from domestic violence and genital mutilation, to the pill, homosexuality and babies born with Down's syndrome.

Call the Midwife series had to be rewritten after Miranda Hart's last-minute exit

"They don't shy away from it, and that's what's lovely about it," Jack said of the Call the Midwife writers.

"I think in this series there is even more – we've got domestic violence, the changing face of the East End, then we've got much more about the changing faces of the community. And the thalidomide that's been running through the last few series – we'll revisit the Maddocks family, so you have to make sure you have tissues available for every episode."

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