Call the Midwife is ready to deliver season 10. The BBC drama’s return to our screens is long overdue, with filming having been delayed by coronavirus – but now seven new episodes are ready to make their way into the world.
After a little bit of a hiatus since the 2020 Christmas special (delivered against the clock thanks to COVID filming delays), we’ll be taking a trip back to 1960s Poplar as Trixie, Lucille, Nurse Crane and co continue to do Nonnatus House proud.
And fans have even more to celebrate – as Call the Midwife has recently been renewed for two more seasons, securing its future for the next three years.
Here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming season.
Call the Midwife season 10 release date
CONFIRMED: Call the Midwife series 10 will begin on Sunday 18th April 2021 at 8pm on BBC One.
The series will then continue with new episodes each Sunday.
Why is Call the Midwife airing now?
Call the Midwife would normally have returned in January. However, filming was delayed for five months by coronavirus, so it wasn’t ready in time to air in it usual slot. The series has also been reduced from eight episodes to seven.
When filming was able to begin for Call the Midwife, the team concentrated on delivering the 90-minute festival special in time for Christmas Day as a top priority. It aired on 25th December 2020 on BBC One, and is available on BBC iPlayer.
Call the Midwife season 10 cast
At Nonnatus House, the Call the Midwife cast for season 10 includes Jenny Agutter (Sister Julienne), Linda Bassett (Nurse Crane), Judy Parfitt (Sister Monica Joan), Fenella Woolgar (Sister Hilda), Ella Bruccoleri (Sister Frances), Helen George (Trixie Franklin), and Leonie Elliott (Lucille Anderson).
Also returning are Laura Main (Shelagh Turner), Stephen McGann (Dr Patrick Turner), Cliff Parisi (Fred Buckle), Annabelle Apsion (Violet Buckle), Georgie Glen (Miss Higgins), Max Macmillan (Timothy Turner), Daniel Laurie (Reggie) and Zephryn Taitte (Cyril Robinson).
Miriam Margolyes is still a member of the wider cast, although her character Mother Mildred did not appear in the 2020 Christmas special.
The Call the Midwife cast for season 10 does not, however, include Jennifer Kirby (Nurse Valerie Dyer), who sadly has decided to leave the show.
“After four joyful years spent with Call the Midwife I have decided to say goodbye to Nonnatus, Val, and the wonderful cast, crew and production team,” Kirby announced in August 2020. “The programme is truly a national treasure, and it will always be a huge honour for me to have been a part of something so wonderful. I can’t wait to keep watching our beloved Nonnatuns from the other side of the screen. Long live Call the Midwife. So long chicks.”
She was written out of the Christmas special; here’s why Val Dyer has left Call the Midwife, and how Jennifer Kirby’s exit storyline was handled.
What will happen in Call the Midwife season 10?
The next season of Call the Midwife will take place in 1966, and it looks set to be eventful. Here’s the synopsis for episode one:
“Controversial plans are afoot to introduce a private clinic to Nonnatus House. The proposition leads to the first disagreement in 20 years between Sister Julienne, who sees the potential to generate income, and Dr Turner, who opposes private healthcare on principle. Shelagh feels caught in the middle of their conflict, while Trixie is delighted by the opportunity of working at the new clinic. Sister Monica Joan’s crisis of faith continues to trouble her, a baby is born with no legs below the knees, and Lucille helps Cyril find the perfect accommodation that will benefit him and the Church.”
The storyline will see Trixie (Helen George) sent to the Lady Emily Clinic to scope things out, reporting back to Sister Julienne on the day-to-day running of Nonnatus House’s potential future partner.
In addition, we can make some educated guesses about what’ll be covered in season 10, based what we know happened in 1966.
For one thing, we’re almost certainly getting England’s World Cup win. On 30th July of that year, England beat West Germany at Wembley 4-2, watched by a UK television audience of around 32 million. (To put that into context, the total population was 55 million. So that’s a lot.)
Heidi Thomas told us before series nine that the show “mustn’t do any sporting stories” for 1965, because “I know that England will win the World Cup in 1966.” But what we don’t know is whether Call the Midwife will mention the headline-grabbing incident in the run-up to the World Cup, when the trophy was stolen from Westminster Central Hall; it was later recovered by a dog named Pickles, who found it wrapped in old newspaper under a hedge.
The World Cup was not the only big event of 1966, of course.
In March, there was a snap general election, with Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson gaining the comfortable majority he needed.
Then there was the Aberfan disaster; one morning in October, a mountain of coal waste collapsed onto Pantglas Junior School in Aberfan, Wales, killing 116 children and 28 adults. The tragedy is sure to touch a few hearts at Nonnatus House.
Heidi Thomas has also indicated that we’ll continue to encounter changing social and legal attitudes in the run-up to some important legislation. She’s previously told us: “What I do know is that when we get to series 11 it will be 1967, so abortion will be legalised and homosexuality will be legalised, and these are big staging posts in modern social history, so I know we’ll be referencing those and we might be referencing the journey towards those things.
“There was a lot of public debate about the changes in society, so I know in a very general way that the change that has fuelled us so far will take us forward.”
Has Call the Midwife been recommissioned?
Yes! We already knew that Call the Midwife would be back for season 11 in 2022 – but now its future is even more secure, as the BBC has already ordered seasons 12 and 13.
These will each consist of eight episodes, plus Christmas specials. So the show will now be on air until at least 2024!
Heidi Thomas, the show’s creator, writer and executive producer, said: “It’s an incredible privilege to be able to look back on a decade of Call The Midwife, and yet know that our journey is still very far from over. We are thrilled to be going on for a few more years! Like Nonnatus House itself, we have a proud past but an even more exciting future – full of old favourites, fresh faces, higher hemlines, new ideas. The stories we tell are like babies – they never stop coming, we love them all, and we vow to do our best by every single one.”
Is Nonnatus House being knocked down?
We don’t know!
In the season nine finale, Nonnatus House did secure a victory after Nurse Trixie Franklin (Helen George) made a passionate speech and persuaded the authorities not to demand impossible rent or slash the Order’s budget. But this stay of execution only lasts for a year.
And the building itself is still due for demolition in the next two years, as the surrounding streets are bulldozed to make way for new development.
“It reflects what was going on in the East End at that time, and indeed what happened to the original order of nuns who were based there and whose work inspired our series,” said Heidi Thomas as she discussed the fate of Nonnatus House at the Radio Times Covers Party.
“I think it would not feel very realistic if they weren’t under some sort of threat. Their premises are rented, we know they’ve already had to move once before because of an unexploded bomb that then exploded. And now everything is being torn down around them.”
However, when the show was recommissioned in April 2021, BBC Director of Drama Piers Wenger did say: “We are delighted to have secured the future of Call The Midwife for two further series beyond those which are currently in production, and look forward to enjoying more adventures for the inhabitants of Nonnatus House for years to come.”
What happened in the Call the Midwife Christmas special 2020?
In the Christmas special, it was December 1965 and the circus came to Poplar, led by Peter Davison as the ringmaster Mr Percival; this gave Nurse Phyllis Crane (Linda Bassett) the chance to explore the dreams we never even knew she had, as Mr Percival gave her the once-in-a-lifetime chance to dress up and fly up on the trapeze.
The episode also saw the return of a Call the Midwife character we’ve seen before, Gloria Venables, for a moving storyline with Shelagh Turner (Laura Main). Poor Gloria had suffered several miscarriages, but was pregnant again and almost at full term – and wracked with grief and anxiety.
Meanwhile, Call the Midwife’s Trixie went speed-dating after being gifted a subscription to a “Marriage Bureau” as a Christmas present. But it was not a big success.
And poor Sister Monica Joan (Judy Parfitt) was rushed to hospital after a fall, where she suffered many indignities – prompting Nurse Lucille Anderson (Leonie Elliott) to devise a plan to bring her elderly friend back to Nonnatus House where she could be lovingly cared for over Christmas.
How has coronavirus affected Call the Midwife?
After series nine, we expected the drama to return (according to its usual timetable) in December 2020, with a Christmas special (set in Poplar) and then season 10 from January 2021. However, in March 2020, filming for Call the Midwife was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, and nobody was 100 per cent sure when it would be safe to return to filming.
Executive Producer Dame Pippa Harris said in a statement on the show’s Facebook page: “Very sadly, we have had to postpone the filming of this year’s Call the Midwife Christmas Special and series 10. Our priority is the safety of our amazing cast and crew, and we don’t believe that shooting at the current time is feasible or responsible.
“However, the moment the situation improves, the nuns and nurses of Nonnatus House will be back on their bikes, bringing babies into the world and joy into your living rooms. We send our warmest love to the worldwide Call the Midwife family, and look forward to being back in Poplar soon.”
But though fans were worried, the team behind Call the Midwife was determined to deliver the festive episode in time for Christmas. Writer and creator Heidi Thomas told RadioTimes.com in April ahead of our ‘Call the Midwife Unite’ RadioTimes.com watchalongs: “Scripts are still being written, and we will start filming as soon as circumstances allow. The Christmas Special is our absolute priority, and we are determined to get it on screen on Christmas Day.”
And Call the Midwife producer Annie Tricklebank told us in May that fans could “absolutely, definitely” still hope to see the Christmas special: “We are going to make it and it’s going to be on the air on Christmas Day.”
They were true to their word – and in August 2020, Call the Midwife restarted filming.
Heidi Thomas said: “Everyone is overjoyed to be whisking the dust sheets off Nonnatus House and getting back to filming after lockdown. It is a particular thrill to be able to deliver the Christmas Special on time, just as we promised at the start of the pandemic. We are very much a family at Call the Midwife, and like families everywhere, we have missed each other.
“We will now be putting more love and energy into our work than ever and can’t wait to share series ten with our fantastic, loyal audience.”
One direct impact of the pandemic, however, is that season 10 has been reduced to seven hour-long episodes instead of the expected (and usual) eight episodes.
The methods Call the Midwife uses to film with newborn babies have also changed, with the production team making use of prosthetics where possible and limiting contact with the actual babies on set. Plus, the babies’ mothers have been asked to become body doubles for the midwives – donning costumes to take part in the scenes themselves.
Are they currently filming Call the Midwife?
Filming wrapped for Call the Midwife season 10 on 19th February, but the team is preparing to begin filming season 11 very shortly.
The show’s official Facebook account shared a picture of Heidi Thomas on set at the end of March, explaining: “This is where our production offices are, and Heidi was there to help plan our next instalment of filming.
“Due to the extraordinary disruption of the past year, the normal timetables for Call the Midwife production have undergone huge change, and our team have had had many adjustments to make. But we remain on target to begin filming for series 11!”
If you’re looking for more to watch, check out our handy TV Guide.