Dorothy Whitmore was a young teacher who appeared in Series 5, Episode 3. She is portrayed by Hannah Morrish.
Dorothy was a young, naive teacher, who adored her job and the children she worked with. At some point, she began an affair with a married man named Jeremy, and felt so strongly for him that she believed they loved each other.
One day, Sister Winifred came to do a presentation on first aid for Miss Whitmore's class, and once the children left, she and the sister began to discuss Sister Winifred's past as a teacher. Suddenly, Dorothy faints, and when she wakes up, she mentions to Sister Winifred she'd been sick on and off a few weeks and that her periods had been irregular. Suspicious of pregnancy, Sister Winifred asks if she could be pregnant, and a horrified Dorothy breaks down in tears, muttering that she's stupid. After Dr. Turner confirms she is pregnant (and also slightly anaemic), and that the baby is healthy, Sister Winifred tries to console Dorothy that when she tells her boyfriend, he will do the right thing and marry her. She also tells Dorothy that she will have to leave her job when the school finds out she's expecting. Dejectedly, Dorothy tells her the father is already married.
The next morning, Dorothy gets sick in the communal bathroom and her landlady hears her, becoming suspicious. When Dorothy meets with Jeremy to tell him about the baby, he immediately tells her she could miscarry and there will be no need to worry, surprising Dorothy. Then he tells her that when you have the money, you can pay someone (a doctor, he assures her) to perform an abortion. She softly asks him if he has the money, and at once he pulls his hands from hers and tells her no. Dorothy says she has no money either. When Jeremy leaves, Dorothy asks him if they still love each other. After a brief pause, he tells her yes.
When Dorothy goes back to her apartment, she opens to the door to find her landlady holding her bags and sharply asking for the key. Confused, Dorothy asks whats going on, and angrily, the landlady shoves Dorothy's prescription for prenatal vitamins at her. Angrily, the woman tells her that she runs a "respectable establishment" and that Dorothy should be ashamed of herself. Dorothy leaves and tries calling Jeremy at home, but he brushes her off, acting as though she'd dialed the wrong number. With no money and no one else to go to, Dorothy makes her way to Nonnatus House. Dorothy can feel herself being judged by Sister Winifred as they both wait for Sister Julienne to find Dorothy a place to sleep. Sister Julienne gets her a bed at a women's hostel.
At the hostel, Dorothy hangs up her dress, eyeing the coat hanger a long moment before going to bed. The next morning, Jeremy hastily drops off a letter at Dorothy's old apartment building, being seen by the bitter old landlady, and taking Dorothy's letter. Out of sheer spite, the woman takes it to Dorothy's school and leaves it with the headmistress, telling her that Dorothy is pregnant and unmarried. When Dorothy makes to to work, she is called to the headmistress' office and is told that she is being fired unless she can say that the accusations against her are false. Dorothy, unable to lie and not wanting to open the letter (neither knowing what it would say, but knowing it would only make things worse), is told she is dismissed, effective immediately.
Inside the letter, Jeremy only writes "I hope this can be of help in some way, - J" and encloses a few pounds. Dorothy crumbles up the letter and throws it away.
That night, desperate and alone, without knowing what the future will hold or if she will ever be secure again, Dorothy drinks some gin, and untwists a coat hanger. She punctures her uterus while giving herself an abortion and causes substantial blood loss and infection. Later in the night, she miscarries. The next morning, feverish, in pain and still bleeding, Dorothy makes it to the bus stop, trying to look as normal as possible though bystanders see she's gravely ill. After she asks if the bus goes past the hospital, Dorothy hunches over and cries out in pain, falling to the ground. Another woman catches her and sees that she's bleeding profusely, and yells at someone to ring for an ambulance.
At the hospital, Dorothy is given a hysterectomy and is questioned by the police, as abortion was illegal at the time. Sister Winifred is contacted and immediately feels responsible, as she was meant to provide comfort and help, but instead judged Dorothy for her affair, leaving her feeling alone and driving her to hurt herself. After some comfort from Sister Julienne, Sister Winifred realizes that Dorothy needs a friend more than ever, and goes to see her in the hospital.
Once there, Sister Winifred shows her the case of Dorothy's things that she brought from the hostel and apologizes profusely to her for judging her. Dorothy confides that she's very scared. When Sergeant Noakes comes in to question Dorothy about the abortion, Sister Winifred says she will stay with Dorothy.
Quietly crying, Dorothy admits that she was the one who caused her own miscarriage, and that no one else knew or was involved. Sister Winifred pleads with Noakes to "look the other way", to which he assures her that his superiors will probably not be interested in persecuting Dorothy.
Indeed, when Dorothy is recovered, she is released from the hospital and allowed to go by the police. In voiceover, Jenny tells that because she was stigmatized and shunned by the community, and because she was not allowed to teach in Poplar, Dorothy leaves to "forget and be forgotten and start afresh".
The last shot of Dorothy is of her walking down the street with her bags in hand.