Sister Monica Joan

One of the first women in Britain to qualify as a midwife, in the closing years of the 19th Century, Sister Monica scandalised her titled family.

Sister Monica Joan

Sister Monica Joan

Ostracised by her relatives, she decided to dedicate her life to helping the poor of London’s East End.

In her 90s, Sister Monica has now retired but still lives in Nonnatus House, in the care of her fellow sisters. Something of an eccentric, she sometimes frustrates her peers, but she still has a wealth of experience and wise words to offer.

Sister Monica also loves cake, knitting and astrology.

Sister Monica is played by Judy Parfitt

Born and raised in Sheffield, Judy left to study drama at RADA.

It is as a character actress that she has found fame, with her roles as Mildred Layton in The Jewel in the Crown (1984) (for which she received a BAFTA nomination), and Lady Catherine de Bourgh in the 1980 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, cementing her reputation.

Film roles in Wilde, Maurice, Girl with a Pearl Earring and Dalores Claiborne have followed, as well as in Death on the Nile and Little Dorritt on TV.

She also played the mother of Alex Kingston’s character in ER.