Thousands learn about Sepsis from storylines in Call the Midwife and The Archers

Heartbreaking dramatic moments led to more than 20,000 calls or visits to the BBC Action Line in 2018

Charlotte Ritchie as Nurse Barbara Gilbert in the Call the Midwife 2017 Christmas special

More than 20,000 people sought advice and support on the deadly killer Sepsis following high profile storylines in The Archers and Call the Midwife.

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In excess of 15,000 Archers listeners sought advice and support in February and March when popular character Nic Grundy lost her life to Sepsis after a cut on her arm became infected.

And the Corporation has also reported that more than 5,000 Call the Midwife viewers contacted BBC Action Lines for support March, following the death of Charlotte Ritchie’s character Nurse Barbara Gilbert, also from Sepsis.

They were among almost 400,000 calls or visits to BBC Action Line in 2018 on a variety of sensitive topics.

The service, which was promoted on air 400 times this year, provides supporting information for viewers and listeners affected by issues addressed in BBC programmes.

According to the UK Sepsis Trust, the condition affects more than 250,000 people and causes 44,000 deaths every year in the UK alone.

Executive Producer of Call the Midwife Pippa Harris said: “We are pleased that so many people responded to Barbara’s storyline and reached out to the BBC Action line because of it. So many of the Call The Midwife issues we raise affect people today so we make sure our scripts and storylines are accurate and relatable. Heidi Thomas continues to write such thoughtful and provoking episodes into series 8 which returns in January 2019.”

Editor of The Archers Jeremy Howe said: “From the outset The Archers has tackled and brought to prominence many important issues such as domestic abuse, the outbreak of BSE and – in the tragic case of Nic Grundy’s death – Sepsis. The Archers team take a lot of care to ensure these storylines are well researched and handled sensitively, and to know that this helped raise awareness of Sepsis and had such a positive response from listeners is extremely rewarding.”

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On meeting someone who said her life was saved as a result of the storyline, Archers actor Becky Wright who played Nic Grundy said: “As an actor you never ever expect the work you do to reach that far into the ‘real world’. I was completely blown away.”