Black Mirror actress Leonie Elliott has been cast as Nurse Lucille Anderson, who becomes the first West Indian midwife to feature as a regular character in BBC drama Call the Midwife.
The first photos of Elliott playing Lucille have been released, showing the Nonnatus House newcomer wrapped up warm in a coat and hat and gloves for the snowy Christmas special.
Speaking at the Radio Times & BFI Television Festival in June, Call the Midwife creator Heidi Thomas promised: "We’ll be introducing our first West Indian young regular midwife to Nonnatus House in series seven. She’s going to bring stories with her, and a different cultural point of view, and that’s very exciting... casting is currently underway, and we look forward to introducing Lucille to our ten million fans very soon."
Elliott has previously starred as Cherry Patterson in Lenny Henry comedy Danny and the Human Zoo, as well as appearing in the Hated in the Nation episode of Black Mirror last year. On stage she has cropped up in Annie and The Lion King.
Now Call the Midwife's 10 million fans can finally meet the funny and clever Nurse Lucille, who will apparently settle in swiftly and bring a "fresh new energy" to life at Nonnatus House.
Her story will introduce viewers to the experiences of Caribbean nurses who came over to England in the 1960s to work in the growing NHS.
Executive producer Pippa Harris said: “We can’t wait to introduce the audience to our new midwife, Lucille, played by the hugely talented and captivating Leonie Elliott. From her first audition, Leonie managed to embody the essence of this elegant, intelligent, witty character who Heidi Thomas has created with her customary skill.
"Lucille is a fantastic addition to the Nonnatus House team and we know she will be warmly welcomed by the nuns and midwives."
Filming has already begun for the 2017 Christmas special (guest starring Anita Dobson), which will be followed by a new series of eight episodes next year.
There will be a white Christmas in Poplar as the festive special sees our Call the Midwife favourites dealing with a thick blanket of snow and the coldest winter in 300 years. This is 1963, when temperatures plunged and brought the country to a standstill. Can the midwives care for their patients as they face snow, ice, power cuts and frozen pipes?
Series seven promises more drama as the nuns and nurses "find themselves tested both personally and professionally as never before". The East End is changing as slum clearances make way for tower blocks, and they'll be taking on a catalogue of new medical issues fro leprosy to tokophobia (that is, fear of pregnancy) to Huntingdon's Chorea. Oh, and new mums will include everyone from a stripper to an Asian child bride.
Returning for another series will be Jenny Agutter as Sister Julienne, Victoria Yeates as Sister Winifred, and Judy Parfitt as Sister Monica Joan – who must sadly accept her faculties are failing.
Trixie (Helen George) will enjoy her developing romance with Christopher (Jack Hawkins), while Linda Bassett's Nurse Crane will find her authority questioned from an unexpected quarter. Tom (Jack Ashton) and Barbara (Charlotte Ritchie) are enjoying being a married couple, while life will be getting interesting for Shelagh Turner (Laura Main) and Dr Turner (Stephen McGann) as they decide to employ an au pair.
Also on board are Jennifer Kirby (Valerie), Cliff Parisi (Fred), Annabelle Apsion (Violet) and Max Macmillan (Timothy).
Call the Midwife was recently voted the Best Drama of the 21st Century in the BFI & Radio Times Festival Audience Poll.