The wisest words of wisdom from Call the Midwife

Jenny Lee might have left Poplar, but her musings on love, health, home and humanity live on in Vanessa Redgrave's heartwarming narration

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Watching Call the Midwife is uplifting and upsetting in equal measure. But, however troubling life gets in Poplar, there are still some moments of peace, calm and clarity. Each instalment of the hit BBC1 period drama is opened and closed by Vanessa Redgrave’s soothing tones, narrating the dramas as the voice of elderly Jenny Lee. If we’ve managed to hold back our sobs until the end, her careful musings are often enough to spring tears, and they are always enough to make us think. 

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Here are some of our favourite wise words of wisdom, on life, love and loss… 


Sometimes the route to joy is indirect, our journey home not quite as we expected. There’s no magic star to guide our steps, no ancient prophecies to predict our way. The greatest gift is to know that we travel not alone but in the company of others.

Love has no equal and is worth searching for, even if that search takes a life time.

Newborns (and newlyweds) are always beautiful. They cannot fail to make the heart sing for even the plainest faces are alive with promise.

Some might call it confidence, others name it faith, but if it makes us brave the label doesn’t matter for it’s the thing that frees us to embrace life itself.

Sometimes only when bonds are tested do we understand their strength… we can step into the future, blessed and stronger than before because when faced with change our love held fast and didn’t break. 

The world is full of love that goes unspoken. It doesn’t mean that it is felt less deeply… its beauty and its pain are in its silence.

Home is not simply a mark upon a map, any more than a river is just water. It is the place at the centre of the compass from which every arrow radiates, and where the heart is fixed.

The longest nights are seldom seen approaching. Storms may not be heard until they break. Like life itself, challenges and change are there to be confronted and we must weather them, alone or together.

Health is the greatest of God’s gifts but we take it for granted. It hangs on a thread as fine as a spider’s web and the smallest thing can make it snap, leaving the strongest of us helpless in an instant.

That place which we call home must be the place in which we are ourselves, with no façade, no foundations weak below us. Only then can we face outwards with our heads held high, playing the parts assigned to us with open, honest hearts.

We are not defined by the things that make us separate and distinct but by the moments we share and the memories we make. 

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Call the Midwife series five will air in early 2016