Call the Midwife series 4 episode 1 preview and predictions: tiny dads, glum faces and new nurses

A look ahead to the first episode of series four, plus Ellie Walker-Arnott's patented guessing game

In need of some good news? Some comforting, cosy, period charm to brighten up this cold and miserable month? Well, you’re in luck. Call the Midwife is cycling back onto our TV screens this Sunday evening.

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It’s the very start of the Swinging Sixties, Jenny Lee is long gone and sweet Cynthia is finding her feet at the Mother House, so there are changes afoot at Nonnatus House. Namely, the arrival of newbie Nurse Barbara Gilbert (Charlotte Ritchie). 

With new dramas set to unfold and hundreds of babies waiting to be birthed, Trixie, Patsy and co have rather a lot to be getting on with. What’s going to happen in the first episode? Time to get my thinking cap on… 

Meet the newest resident of Nonnatus House: Nurse Barbara Gilbert. She is clearly loving her first day on the job. All that fast-paced action and do-gooding is doing wonders for her worth and wellbeing. The adrenaline, that rush of endorphins – she can barely keep that smile off her face. There really is nothing like that sense of satisfaction, eh, Barb? 

Welcome to the 1960s. With a new decade comes new rules and for Nonnatus House that means a new age of efficiency has dawned. There will be no more dawdling around the kitchen, pausing over tea or wasting time listening to Elvis Presley. Each day will start on time with our midwives – plus their pristine hair, bobble-free cardis and newly polished delivery bags – setting out in perfectly synchronised time. One, two, three, MARCH! 

Nurse Gilbert might not be completely new to the complex world of midwifery – she’s already birthed her fair share of babies in Birmingham – but a move to the poverty-stricken streets of Poplar does bring some differences. The age of the East End’s parents, for one. Is it just us or are they getting younger and younger…?

Tensions are running high at Nonnatus House. All those difficult births and desperate people, it’s easy to get caught up in it all and lose your temper. These two are probably at loggerheads over the use of gas and air, society’s treatment of unmarried mothers or Poplar’s poor neglected children. Or cake. Yeah… it’s probably cake.  

With Chummy insisting on juggling her responsibilities and embracing life as a working mum, poor Freddie is left in the hands of PC Noakes more and more often. Sure, he’s a loving and capable dad, but all those crime scenes, police chases and hours spent digging for clues in the mucky back streets of London is clearly taking its toll on Peter and Chummy’s toddler. Especially as Johnson’s baby wipes are yet to be invented…

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Call the Midwife returns on Sunday at 8:00pm on BBC1