Helen George says this year's Call the Midwife festive special is something of a "Christmas miracle" and even more so than usual is a "love letter to the NHS" after the incredible work the healthcare professionals have done during the COVID-19 pandemic.
George, who plays nurse Trixie Franklin in the BBC One period drama set at the East London convent of Nonnatus House, heaped praise on the health service during an appearance on The One Show.
"I just pretend to be [a nurse], they actually do the work," she said. "I think Call the Midwife has always been a bit of a love letter to the NHS and it's fantastic, but now... [in] times of crisis and the pandemic, we're really seeing how we need the NHS and how they are the backbone of our society and hopefully they will be appreciated in the future."
George said the 2020 episode is "everything you would expect from a Call the Midwife Christmas special – "it's very festive, very traditional. The circus comes to town, which we didn't think we were going to be able to film but we managed to. It's just a really lovely, feel good Christmas, but I think there will probably be a few tears along the way".
She added that it was quite a feat that it was produced at all, considering the coronavirus complications.
"We didn't know if we were going to be able to film it because we were supposed to start when lockdown happened originally. The fact we even made it is quite frankly a Christmas miracle," she said.
The action takes place at the end of 1965, when a circus comes to Poplar, with a very familiar ringmaster, Peter Davison, fresh from his role in BBC One drama Life. The special also sees the return of a Call the Midwife character we’ve seen before for a moving storyline with Shelagh Turner (Laura Main), while Trixie receives an upsetting Christmas gift from her aunt – a subscription to a “Marriage Bureau”.
Call the Midwife screens on Christmas Day on BBC One at 7.40pm.