The mastermind behind the hit TV show Call The Midwife claimed to have received an OBE in honor of her working-class family, but said she was “choked” because it came with a summons signed by the late Queen.
Heidi Thomas, 60, the writer, creator and executive producer behind the show, collected her honor for services to the King’s drama at a ceremony at Windsor Castle.
She said: “People in show business really like to give each other awards and prizes, but to be honored as a citizen is a really beautiful and simple thing.
“To be honored here today actually honors my entire family and my entire heritage.
“Call The Midwife, which is my biggest project, I love in my writing to get to know the lives of ordinary people whose stories could not be told in any other way.
“A lot of my work is based on real life cases.”
His honor comes a day after the BBC confirmed that there will be at least two more series of the period drama that debuted in 2012, meaning it will now run until 2026.
The show is loosely based on the best-selling memoir by former nurse and midwife Jennifer Worth.
He died in 2011, a year before the first series aired.
It follows a group of midwives working in London’s East End since the late 1950s as they deal with the pressures of their everyday lives, as well as changing times.
It will now be on the air until 2026.
Ms. Thomas was born and raised in Liverpool, where she also attended university.
She began her writing career on stage with plays like Shamrocks And Crocodiles, which won her the John Whiting Award in 1985.
She was joined at the ceremony by her husband, actor Stephen McGann, who plays the GP on Call The Midwife.
Call The Midwife season 12 returned on New Year’s Day and has explored themes like domestic abuse, mental health issues, and racism.
The 2022 Christmas Special was the fourth most watched holiday show on December 25 after King’s Speech, Strictly Come Dancing’s Christmas Special and Michael McIntyre’s Christmas Wheel.
Ms Thomas said: “The main reason we decided to go ahead is that we have never run out of stories.
“These communities are steeped in social, political and women’s history.
“I felt very strongly when the BBC offered us the opportunity to continue that I wanted to continue because there are untold stories to be revealed.”
He likes working on television because “you can tell very intimate stories” and you can “get to know people up close.”
“I think that over time I have become more invested in the material simply because every year I discover something that angers me, or that moves me or enlightens me.”
His television career, including writing series like Soldier, Soldier, and Doctor Finlay, came after working in the theater.
Other screenwriting credits include Lilies, based on her grandmother’s memories, and adaptations of classic novels such as Elizabeth Gaskell’s Cranford, Noel Streatfeild’s Ballet Shoes and Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women.
On her big day at Windsor Castle, she added: “I come from an ordinary working-class/lower-middle-class family from Liverpool.
“They all had stores, but they all had a lot of aspirations.
“I think everyone would be very happy for me, but they would think that this is all down to everyone’s hard work leading the next generation to a place where their work could be recognized.
“On a day like today you are very aware of where you come from and where you fit into the scheme of things.
“I was also very touched because my honor came during the Platinum Jubilee honours.
“I was taken by surprise and a bit choked when I received my summons just before Christmas and it was signed by the Queen, obviously before she passed away.
“I was really touched and actually had a bit of a cold because it seems the scenery has changed a bit since we lost the Queen and I was very pleased to receive my honor from the King today.
“Everything makes you so aware of how time flies in our personal lives and in the public world.
“It has been quite a momentous year and I was very moved to learn that Her Majesty had signed that summons because she is no longer here to do more.”