Last night's episode of Call the Midwife saw Nonnatus House celebrate its 100th anniversary. But, amidst the nurses' party planning, a harrowing homelessness storyline left many viewers in tears.


If you have yet to see the emotional episode, be warned as there are spoilers ahead.

New recruit Nancy (Megan Cusack in the Call the Midwife cast) was asked to go on the district roster for the first time, leading her to befriend addict Bernard, played by Phil Cornwell. He is one of the growing number of meths drinkers in the area.

After their encounter, Bernard goes looking for Nancy at Nonnatus, but refuses treatment from Dr Turner (Stephen McGann) when he finds out Nancy isn't there.

By the time Nancy, Dr Turner and Cliff Parisi's Fred find him again, his leg has deteriorated to the point his foot comes off as soon as Nancy touches it in a disturbing scene. Despite their best efforts, Bernard dies of gangrene shortly after.

Nancy is devastated by the loss, claiming she's the "only person who's crying for him in the whole world". But Sister Francis reassures her she's not, before councillor Violet vows to tackle the problem and develop a support system for people like Bernard.

It was an emotional episode, and many viewers took to Twitter to praise the show for it.

One wrote: "Such a fantastic, moving story line tonight. The best just got better. Every credit to all the actors involved. I knew I wouldn’t last to the end without tears especially the yellow dress and the buttercups!"

"Was a wreck throughout – see so many Bernards through my work with #Homeless charity. Takes time, compassion & resilience to unravel the potential of those who find themselves in (almost) impossible situations," another added.

"My heart and we’re still not treating the Bernards of this world the right way," another wrote.

The episode continues the series' long history of tackling hard-hitting issues that affected Poplar in the 1960s and beyond.


Call the Midwife continues on Sunday 23rd January at 8pm on BBC One. Seasons 1-10 are available on BBC iPlayer. Looking for something else to watch? Check out the rest of our Drama coverage or take a look at our TV Guide.