Call the Midwife creator reveals when the BBC drama might have to end
"I don't know how far into the 1970s we could go," Heidi Thomas says – but there's still so much to explore in the hit BBC series before then
Call the Midwife may have a natural endpoint, creator Heidi Thomas has revealed – but it won't be for some time yet.
Currently in its eighth series, the BBC drama has now reached 1964 and times are changing in Poplar as greater prosperity, increased immigration and medical innovations arrive in the East End.
A ninth series set in 1965 is already in the works.
"We're commissioned up to series nine by the BBC, and we may well continue," Thomas told RadioTimes.com at the Radio Times Covers Party. "And, if we did, there seems to be no limit to the interest and excitement of the world in the 1960s."
However, beyond the 1960s the future of Call the Midwife is more uncertain.
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"I do know that the original nuns on whom the original books were based left Poplar in 1976, because the social and the medical climate had changed," Thomas said. "They relocated to Birmingham and focused more on spiritual work. So I don't know how far into the 1970s we could go."
Still, she added, that moment won't arrive any time soon: "Because every series has a new year attached to it, I think we could go on for a few years to come. But who knows? We aren't bored yet!"
Thomas also revealed she would be happy to write some of our old favourites back into the story – if any of them wanted to return to Call the Midwife.
That does not, of course, include the late Nurse Barbara Hereward (Charlotte Ritchie). But Sister Winifred (Victoria Yeates), Nurse Patsy Mount (Emerald Fennell) and even original Midwife character Chummy (Miranda Hart) could make a comeback.
"I think anybody who leaves is always welcome back," the screenwriter said.
But, she added, "Call the Midwife has a momentum of its own and what we find is, particularly when it's a matter of an actor wanting to move on, very quickly they're replaced by new characters that the audience take to their heart.
"And I think that's what keeps Call the Midwife going, is the idea that we constantly move forward. There's always something refreshing happening and a new face on the horizon, and I just love the way people have embraced Sister Hilda and Sister Frances, and of course the magnificent Miriam as Mother Mildred."
Speaking of Miriam Margolyes, Thomas confirmed that fans can look forward to seeing much more of the Mother House's exuberant new Mother Superior, who is going to be Call the Midwife's "extra-special regular guest star."
"Miriam is going to pop up from time to time," Thomas explained. "She's Mother Superior, so as a character she's based down on the south coast, but she will be appearing in episodes six and seven of this series, which is lovely for us – it was great to have her back."
This article was originally published in January 2019