Call the Midwife series eight has come to an emotional end, with a final scene that to remind us just how much we love each of these characters.
Beneath the mirrorball at Shelagh’s charity dance, we see Lucille waltzing with her love interest Cyril. There’s Reggie dancing with girlfriend Jane, Miss Higgins with Sergeant Woolf (while matchmaker Phyllis looks on), Violet dancing with Fred, and finally the Turner family celebrating together with their newly-adopted daughter May.
To mark the series eight finale, the BBC announced a two-series deal for series 10 and 11 – along with their Christmas specials.
Creator and writer Heidi Thomas said: “Even after all these years, it still feels as though Call the Midwife has more truth to tell, more tears to cry, more life to celebrate, and more love to give. We are blessed with the best cast, crew, and audience a show could wish for, and I could not be more excited about our future.”
Pippa Harris, Executive Producer for Neal Street Productions said: “We are thrilled that the BBC have put such faith in the show by commissioning two more series and can’t wait to watch our wonderful cast and crew tackling all the social and medical changes which the swinging sixties will bring.”
The drama will return for Christmas 2019, while series nine will almost certainly air in early 2020 on BBC1. The series is expected to be comprised of eight episodes.
What will happen in Call the Midwife series nine?
No details have been officially released. But taking a closer look at how we left the characters at the end of series eight, there are some exciting storylines the drama could follow.
Over the course of the series, Nurse Trixie Anderson (Helen George) has thrown herself into her career, following new opportunities and using her spare time to study and work at the surgery with Dr Turner (Stephen McGann).
As an ambitious young woman with a talent for medicine, perhaps she’ll take more of a leadership role at Nonnatus House? Or even train as a doctor herself?
We’re also intrigued to see whether Violet Buckle (Annabelle Apsion) will take her political career to a national level, having come into her own as a local councillor.
Nurse Lucille Anderson (Leonie Elliott) has found a charming young man in Cyril Robinson (Zephryn Taitte), but it remains to be seen how their romance will progress. Meanwhile, series eight was rather more traumatic for Nurse Valerie Dyer (Jennifer Kirby) – what does the future hold for her in series nine?
Things are looking good for the Turner family, but Timothy Turner (Max MacMillan) is growing up fast and will have to think about his future. And now Nurse Phyllis Crane (Linda Bassett) is back at work and no longer fighting off the affections of Sergeant Woolf (Trevor Cooper) after setting him up with Miss Higgins (Georgie Glen), we are excited to see what she gets up to next.
Over the course of the series, Sister Frances (Ella Bruccoleri) and Sister Hilda (Fenella Woolgar) have settled into Nonnatus House alongside Sister Julienne (Jenny Agutter) and Sister Monica Joan (Judy Parfitt) – but the question remains for series nine: will we have any major characters leaving, or newcomers arriving in Poplar?
What historical events could Call the Midwife feature in series nine?
We already know that the next series of Call the Midwife will be set in 1965. We also know that Call the Midwife brings in real-world events, from serious political developments to the latest in music, movies and fashion.
So what could be coming up? Let’s consult the history books…
In January 1965, former Prime Minister and wartime leader Winston Churchill died following a stroke. He lay in state at Westminster Hall for three days while hundreds of thousands of people paid their respects at his coffin, after which his funeral took place at St Paul’s Cathedral. Churchill’s body was then taken through London and along the River Thames to Waterloo station, then on to his final resting place in Oxfordshire, in what was the largest state funeral in history.
This national event would certainly have been felt in Poplar, even though the route of the procession reached no further into East London than Tower Hill. In one of the more moving moments of the day, the London dockers lowered their cranes as a gesture of respect as the barge passed along the river.
In other headline-grabbing national events, the year 1965 saw the capture of the Moors Murderers, Ian Brady and Myra Hindley. It was a year that saw the continued disintegration of the British Empire as The Gambia gained its independence, while the international community faced the Rhodesian Crisis.
Excitingly for Trixie, 1965 was the year that Mary Quant introduced the miniskirt from her shop Bazaar on the King’s Road in Chelsea, London. At the cinema you could have seen The Sound of Music, Oscar-winning classic Mary Poppins, or the Beatles movie Help!
The Space Race continued as cosmonaut Alexey Leonov became the first person to walk in space, almost certainly to the delight of Sister Monica Joan. Later that year, America’s Mariner 4 flew by Mars and became the first spacecraft to send back images from the Red Planet.
And significantly for Nonnatus House, in 1965 the Metropolitan Borough of Poplar merged with Stepney and Bethan Green to form the new London Borough of Tower Hamlets. That move is sure to have implications for our midwives…
Sign up to the Radio Times newsletter for the latest TV and entertainment news