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Shelagh: The No-Longer-Sister-Bernadette One

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Thought I'd add some Shelagh love to the thread, as its a bit quiet.

From what I've read on the internet (I'm from the UK), a lot of Shelagh/Sister Bernadettes scenes got cut when PBS aired the first 2 series.

Having recently rewatched the early series' I've realised she really did start off as a background character, but I love the increased screen time Shelagh/Dr Turner have been getting from the 2013 Christmas special onwards. Laura Main is such a great actress (and a very talented singer - its her singing in both the 2012 christmas special, and season 1 baby search - though I don't think she's credited), I think she really gets over looked.

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She is so very timid. I think that is a result of living in a convent and being under vows. I wish that she hadn't married so quickly after leaving and tried to find her feet in the lay world.

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She wasn't timid when she was a nun and didn't seem to be when she was running things while Sister Julienne was away.  I can't imagine that she is when running the choir either.  It's when she is with her husband that she acts like a scared rabbit.  I don't see him as being particularly domineering, though.  I agree she needed time out of the convent but not married.  Perhaps a year-long engagement with Shelagh living outside of the nuns home but working as a midwife might have been a good idea.  Perhaps she wouldn't seem so unsure of herself or what she is supposed to be doing all of the time.  


It also might be helpful if she was continuing to work a couple of days a week as a midwife like Chummy does.  I know that she and the good doctor don't need the money, but she needs to do something with herself during the day.  After 10 years of working full time, training the new midwifes (as we saw in the first season), and keeping a schedule for prayer with the other nuns, she must be bored out of her mind just cooking and cleaning for her husband and child.  No wonder she drags poor Timothy all over the place.    

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I have tried to love this character but cannot get past her whisper-like conversations. Does she feel the need to talk softly because it was a habit to be quiet in the convent? It, at times, appears she almost has asthma. Also, what is with the joker-like smile? Even when she is discussing bad news, she has that grin. And the glasses make her appear to have funky eyebrows. If the character is going to change, have her change. She is still a nun, but now in a suit.

I feel ya, Quacker. I like the idea of Shelagh and Dr. Turner, but I find the actors' depictions of the characters off-putting and less than convincing. I'm all about Timothy and the young actor who portrays him, though.

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I have to disagree with this. In fact, Shelagh is my favorite character on the show.  I think her story has been told in a more complex and thorough way than anyone else's on the show, and I love how she has progressed over the years from the competent, efficient and witty Sister Bernadette of season 1, to the conflicted, lovestruck Sister Bernadette of season 2, to the more unsure Shelagh of season 3 who was finding her place outside the order, to the much more confident, fulfilled Shelagh of season 4. I think Heidi Thomas (the writer) and Laura Main (the actress) have done a wonderful job with her story and I've believed every minute of it.  


As for her voice, remember she did have TB. She did sound a little breathier in season 3, and maybe that's why, but her voice was a lot stronger in season 4.  I think her journey back to nursing was one of more compelling story lines of season 4. Also, her scenes with her husband are wonderful. They had some struggles in season 3, but in season 4 theirs became, in my opinion, the best marriage on TV. 


I guess not everyone is going to love every character, though. She has quite a large fan following, but there are also those who don't like her. As I already said, though, I think she's the best character on the show.  She's been my favorite character since season 2. 

Edited by Beldasnoop
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On 5/28/2015 at 9:55 PM, Kohola3 said:

I tend to think that the quiet voice is her normal method of speaking. I adore her Scottish accent!  I personally love the Turners.

I was looking for something on her accent because I find it so distinctive. Funny (to me) is that I don't usually understand much when I listen to Scottish people speaking (English is not my first language either but I don't have trouble with other accents as much as this one) but I understand her perfectly. And funnier still is that her pronunciation of the letter "R" reminds me of how the musical "Hamilton" has King George pronouncing the "R" in the same way. So I get the Hamilton songs for King George stuck in my mind every time I watch the show.

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