‘Call the Midwife’ creator reveals how they managed to make a Christmas special this year

Against all odds, there will still be a festive episode of Call the Midwife later this month!

Despite production being stopped earlier this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, a new season of the BBC’s hit period drama series about a group of nurse midwives working in the East End of London is filming right now.

Call the Midwife will return on Christmas Day with a feature-length 90-minute special.

Looking back on the tumultuous past year, Call the Midwife writer Heidi Thomas recalled: “In late March, the Call the Midwife cast and crew were forced into lockdown just as we were about to start filming the Christmas special.

“When we were finally allowed back on set, five months later, we vowed to get it ready in time for our traditional slot on Christmas Day. It was a tall order!”

She explained: “Everything has had to be done in record time, but in a year where everything has been so different, it’s been our mission to make sure something stays the same.

“It’s all in there for our ninth festive outing – Fred is dressed as Santa, the tree goes up at Nonnatus House, it snows (slightly), and Trixie rocks a lot of faux fur. Meanwhile, there are fresh faces in Poplar, and new stories to unfold.”

“I always say Call the Midwife is not about nostalgia – but I make an exception at Christmas time! I was a child in the 1960s, and get a genuine thrill every time I see a crepe paper streamer or a box of Eat Me dates on screen.

“TV was a major part of my family’s festivities, and Billy Smart’s Circus was an unmissable treat, even on our tiny black and white telly. It has been a joy to relive those memories in Call the Midwife this Christmas, in glorious colour, and with the added delight of Peter Davison guest-starring as our ringmaster.”

Heida Thomas, who created Call the Midwife a decade ago, commented: “Filming with Covid restrictions in place has been interesting, and successful. In some ways we had a head start, as when you have as many newborn babies on set as we do, you are never more than six inches from a bottle of sanitiser!

“The new rules have become second nature, and all has gone well. I actually cried when I saw the finished result – you simply can’t tell it was filmed under such unusual conditions, and that is as it ought to be.

“We are now exactly half way through filming series 10, and in story terms are up to the summer of 1966. (No spoilers – England win the World Cup!) Everything feels full of optimism.

“Above all else, this year’s Christmas special is a story about our hopes, our fears, our need to be together, and what can happen when our dreams come true. You will cry a little, but end up smiling. I can’t think of a better metaphor than that for 2020.”

This year’s Call the Midwife Christmas special premieres in the UK at 7.40pm on Friday 25th December on BBC One.

It’ll then air in the US at 9pm ET on Friday 25th December on PBS Masterpiece.

The official synopsis reads: “It’s December 1965 and everyone at Nonnatus House is looking forward to traditional celebrations with all the trimmings, but nothing goes quite to plan.

“Sister Monica Joan is rushed to hospital, and Trixie is incensed to receive a subscription to a Marriage Bureau as a Christmas gift. Meanwhile, a surprise reunion for Shelagh involves her in a deeply moving birth, and the Circus arrives in Poplar, bringing new friendships, new experiences, and an exciting adventure for Nurse Crane.”

The tenth season of Call the Midwife, featuring seven brand new episodes, will air early next year – although it was recently confirmed that one major cast member won’t be returning.

While we’re waiting for the new season, why not have a go at playing this brilliant official Call the Midwife board game!

Season 9 is available on DVD on Amazon.