Call the Midwife's Jessica Raine: it’s time for me to explore pastures new

The actress who played Jenny Lee in BBC1's Call the Midwife talks about her decision to leave, describing her time on the period drama as a "real privilege"

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Call the Midwife's Jessica Raine: it’s time for me to explore pastures new
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Well last night's Call the Midwife was a bit of a shocker, wasn't it?

The series three finale, which saw Trixie and Tom kiss, Chummy's mum pass away and Shelagh get the baby she was longing for, had fans reaching for the tissues right up until the final moments, when it was revealed that Jenny Lee, the character who first introduced us to Nonnatus house was leaving.

Shedding light on her decision to leave the super successful period drama, Jessica Raine, who has played Jenny since the show's inception in 2011, said: "It’s been a real privilege to help bring Jenny Lee’s story alive and amazingly satisfying to see how the public have embraced the series, but as is in keeping with Jenny’s story, it’s time for me to explore pastures new.

"So it is with a head full of wonderful memories that I leave my friends and a show that I know will continue to go from strength to strength."

She might have left the drama, but that doesn't mean Raine's cut all ties with Nonnatus House. The star says she'll be watching when the series returns for a fourth run next year: "I too will be tuning into series four and blubbing with the nation."

A spokesperson for the drama added: "Call The Midwife will carry on with that fascinating and emotional story, celebrating the people of Poplar, and the much-loved residents of Nonnatus House. Vanessa Redgrave will continue as narrator, maintaining our link with the very special author of the books that inspired us. We wish Jessica all the love and luck in the world as she cycles off into her future."

Call the Midwife will return for a fourth series in 2015