And there is more good news for fans: after the series eight finale, the BBC announced it had re-commissioned the drama for both series 10 and 11, meaning Call the Midwife will be on-air until at least 2022.
Each series will consist of eight episodes, 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.”
When will Call the Midwife be back for the Christmas special and series 9?
Filming on series nine and the 2019 Christmas special began on Monday 18th March 2019. As of 22nd May, filming for the Christmas episode is complete, and production on series series nine is now underway.
The drama will return for Christmas 2019, while series nine will almost certainly air in early 2020 on BBC1.
What will happen in the Call the Midwife Christmas special?
This year’s festive episode will see the midwives heading for the Outer Hebrides. They arrive on a remote, idyllic Scottish island, where the residents have a desperate need for nurses and midwives.
“Exposed to the elements, they operate in bleak conditions with limited access to water and electricity to help their patients, just in time to reconvene in Poplar for Christmas,” the BBC announced.
The broadcaster also released this first-look image, in which the midwives are having a very “baaa-d” bus trip:
Having made her debut in last year’s Christmas special, Miriam Margolyes is back as Mother Mildred in this year’s festive episode.
Also returning to the show are Jenny Agutter (Sister Julienne), Linda Bassett (Nurse Crane), Judy Parfitt (Sister Monica Joan), Fenella Woolgar (Sister Hilda), Ella Bruccoleri (Sister Frances), Helen George (Trixie), Laura Main (Shelagh Turner), Jennifer Kirby (Valerie), Leonie Elliott (Lucille), Stephen McGann (Dr Turner), Cliff Parisi (Fred), Annabelle Apsion (Violet), Georgie Glen (Miss Higgins), Max Macmillan (Timothy), Trevor Cooper (Sgt Woolf) and Daniel Laurie (Reggie).
What will happen in Call the Midwife series nine?
Beginning in January 1965 with the funeral of Winston Churchill, the series will see Nonnatus House “entering a bold and innovative era” – but for the midwives, “the very fabric of their lives is jeopardised when Nonnatus itself comes under threat of demolition.”
Call the Midwife creator Heidi Thomas said: “After a magical Christmas experience in the Hebrides featuring wild seas, stormy skies and some very disobedient sheep, we return to the harsher reality of city life in 1965. Society is changing fast and in series nine we will see Nonnatus House shaken to its foundations.”
Each series of Call the Midwife covers a single year, and in series nine we have reached 1965. It is a time of massive social change in Poplar.
“As the tower blocks multiply, and a new East End rises from the ashes of the old, society becomes more prosperous, but more complex,” the BBC has teased. “Our familiar team of medics and midwives face unexpected challenges as the population shifts, rules change, and old diseases come back to haunt them… meanwhile, their own experiences are fuelled by love, loss, and doubt.”
The new series will reportedly “uphold the show’s established reputation of compelling, sensitive and relevant storylines” as the midwives tackle cases including diphtheria, drug abuse, cancer, tuberculosis, and fistula.
And while we don’t know all the details about what will happen to our characters in series nine, we can speculate based on how we left the characters at the end of series eight. There are certainly some exciting storylines the drama could follow…
Over the course of the series, Nurse Trixie Anderson (Helen George) threw 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 happened at the end of Call the Midwife series eight?
Call the Midwife series eight came to an emotional end, with a final scene that reminded us just how much we love each of these characters.
Beneath the mirrorball at Shelagh’s charity dance, we saw Lucille waltzing with her love interest Cyril. Then there was 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.
Which 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.
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.
So what else could be coming up? Let’s consult the history books…
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…