Call the Midwife returned for a highly-expected special on Christmas Day.
The drama, which will have an 11th series this year, follows a group of nurses working in London’s East End during the 1950s and ’60s.
Its Christmas specials attract audiences of more than nine million viewers to BBC One, while its ninth series was the fourth-biggest drama across all channels in 2020.
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This year’s special was set in December 1966 and focused on the run up to the Boxing Day wedding of Lucille and Cyril.
Things do not run so smoothly, however, and the big day is at risk.
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The episode featured Doctor Patrick Turner, who has long been a meaningful character in the show.
The GP is a hero among his fictional patients in Poplar, East London, but actor who plays him calls Cambridge home.
Stephen McGann, who plays Dr Turner, currently lives in the university city with his wife Heidi Thomas – who just so happens to be the creator of Call The Midwife.
The pair have been married for more than 30 years and have a son, Dominic.
Home life in Cambridge
Speaking to Good House Keeping in November 2020, Heidi admitted she can get her husband confused with Dr Turner when at home.
“There are definite similarities – for example, he’s very gifted at origami and I’ve written his talent for origami into past episodes.
“So sometimes it’s a little bit hard to tell where Stephen McGann my husband and Dr Turner my character begin!
“But there are other things where they’re not remotely like one another, for example, Steve can’t do a forceps delivery.”
Heidi said Call the Midwife is the “only topic of conversation” in their household, but she never gives her husband a sneak peek at the storylines.
Fans of the Call the Midwife will have seen Dr Turner evolve since the first episode broadcast in 2012, and he’s made us laugh and cry on countless occasions, MyLondon reports.
The future of the show
Last year, Heidi made an interesting revelation about the show’s success.
Speaking at a panel discussion at the Television Critics Association, the screenwriter said that, when she was working on the first series, she never expected to see the show renewed for a follow up.
Heidi said: “Certainly, from my point of view I was focused on doing one series and there was never an expectation of doing a second.”
She additional: “I think every year it takes us by surprise.”
The feeling was shared by her husband – Liverpool-born Stephen said: “When we started, this modesty about our expectations, none of us expected [further series] to happen so when it did it was a rather nice thing.
“The modesty of that comes by to the gentleness and the compassion of the programme.”
Despite the tempered initial expectations of those working on the show, they managed to create something which has become a mainstay on television screens.
The BBC announced in April 2021 that the drama would be commissioned for a twelfth and thirteenth season, keeping it on air until at the minimum 2024.
At the time of the announcement, docks Wenger, director of BBC Drama, said: “The lasting popularity of Call The Midwife is a testament to the extraordinary love and creativity from its creator Heidi Thomas and its producers Pippa Harris and Ann Tricklebank.
“We are delighted to have secured the future of Call The Midwife for two further series beyond those which are currently in production, and look forward to enjoying more adventures for the inhabitants of Nonnatus House for years to come.”
You can watch Call the Midwife on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.
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