Fresh Meat’s Charlotte Ritchie and Linda Bassett joining Call the Midwife in the swinging 60s

Vanessa Redgrave is also set to make her first on-screen appearance as mature Jenny in this year's Christmas episode

We might have had to say goodbye to Poplar’s original midwife Jenny Lee at the end of series three. But there is a silver lining. 


The hit BBC1 period drama, which follows the lives of the Nonnatus House nuns and midwives in London’s East End, is welcoming two new faces. 

Fresh Meat star Charlotte Ritchie is joining the cast as a series regular. The 24-year-old, who stars as Oregon in the Channel 4 comedy, will play Nurse Barbara Gilbert. 

Ritchie will be joined by Linda Bassett as Nurse Phyllis Crane. Bassett is no stranger to period drama, having played Queenie in Lark Rise to Candleford. 

And that’s not all. Jenny Lee will be back on our screens too. Kind of.

Vanessa Redgrave, whose soothing tones narrate the opening and closing moments of each episode, will be making her first on-screen appearance as mature Jenny Lee in this year’s Christmas special. 

Pippa Harris, executive producer for Neal Street Productions said: “We’re all delighted to be welcoming Vanessa Redgrave on screen, having hugely enjoyed her narration of the series to date. It’s also terrific that Heidi Thomas has created two wonderful new characters for the series, and that we’re fortunate enough to have Linda Bassett and Charlotte Ritchie joining our regular and much loved team at Nonnatus House”.

As if that wasn’t exciting enough, the next series of Call the Midwife will finally see the midwives take tentative steps into the swinging 60s, too.

“Series 4 sees the community of nuns and nurses in 1960, on the cusp of much change in London’s East End. A new decade dawns, and with it come different and exciting challenges for the team at Nonnatus House. Can the nuns and midwives hold onto their traditional values in a rapidly changing world?”

Call the Midwife will return for a Christmas special later this year and an 8-part series in 2015