When is Call the Midwife back on TV for season 10? Cast, plot and latest news

Here's everything we know about the next series of the much-loved BBC drama, due this year.

Call the Midwife 2020 Christmas special

It looks like we could be seeing series 10 of Call the Midwife pretty soon, now that filming has wrapped on the BBC One series.

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On February 19th, the show shared an exciting update revealing production had come to an end for the upcoming series.

“BREAKING NEWS! It’s a wrap!! Series 10 of #CallTheMidwife completes filming!!” they wrote alongside an image of Jenny Agutter (Sister Julienne), Ella Brucolleri (Sister Frances) and Fenella Woolgar (Sister Hilda) in character and holding up a clapperboard.

Naturally, fans are now wondering when the new series will appear on screens. Usually we’d see the nuns and midwives of Nonnatus House back on air from January. However, thanks to the pandemic, filming was delayed for the new series.

With production now complete, here’s everything we know about Call the Midwife season 10.

When will Call the Midwife be back for series 10?

Call the Midwife
Call the Midwife (via Facebook)

Series 10 of Call the Midwife will air on BBC One later in 2021. 

Call the Midwife would normally return in January. However, filming was delayed for five months by coronavirus, so – although production on the new series is ongoing – it won’t be ready in time to air in it usual slot. The series has also now been reduced from eight episodes to seven.

We’ll let you know as soon as we know more!

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.

Filmed under exceptional circumstances, this 90-minute festive episode was full of tears, laughter, newborn babies, and even a bit of snow.

Call The Midwife - S10 - Christmas Special

Call the Midwife season 10 cast

The Call the Midwife cast for the Christmas special 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), Laura Main (Shelagh Turner), Leonie Elliott (Lucille), Stephen McGann (Dr Turner), Cliff Parisi (Fred), Annabelle Apsion (Violet), Georgie Glen (Miss Higgins), Max Macmillan (Timothy), Daniel Laurie (Reggie) and Zephryn Taitte (Cyril).

Miriam Margolyes is still presumably 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 series 10?

The next season of Call the Midwife will be set in 1966. And while we don’t yet know exactly what will happen in the new series, we do know some of the historical events that happen in that time period.

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.

Pickles the dog watches the World Cup Final
Pickles the dog watches the World Cup Final (Getty)

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.

But he had a lot on his plate, what with events in “Rhodesia” (the unrecognised state in southern Africa run by the white minority government of Ian Smith) and friction with US President Lyndon B Johnson over Vietnam and more. At home, this was also a time of major social change and reform.

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.”

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.

Call the Midwife Peter Davison
ITV

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.

Will there be another series of Call the Midwife?

Call the Midwife

The drama has already been re-commissioned by the BBC for both series 10 and 11. That means the show will be on air until at least 2022. Each series was originally commissioned for eight episodes, along with their Christmas specials – although series 10 will now only be seven episodes long.

The deal was actually announced back in March 2019, just after series eight – so writer Heidi Thomas has been able to plan out some long-term storylines across at least three series.

“It is actually lovely to have some certainty, because I feel Call the Midwife is fuelled by character and character development,” the show’s creator told RadioTimes.com.

“I mean, I’ve loved the slow burn of Lucille’s romance with Cyril, for example. Hopefully that’s something that we can spool out at a natural pace. When you only have one series commissioned at a time, it’s sometimes a bit tempting to kind of rush through everything, and not savour your stories and not let people grow up slowly. So I think it’s really lovely actually, it’s a great privilege.”

Are they currently filming Call the Midwife?

Filming has now wrapped for Call the Midwife season 10.

Many of the cast have shared updates from set, and Stephen McGann also put together a special behind-the-scenes video where he chats with the cast.

Here’s Leonie Elliott looking radiant as Nurse Lucille on 31st August, the first day of filming:

In September, Jenny Agutter also shared a statement: “I have just started filming on Call the Midwife & am so happy to be back at Nonnatus house, seeing all the cast & crew, albeit six feet apart following all the guidelines! But we are delighted to be working on our Christmas Special. Can’t give anything away, but but it’s lovely script and the circus comes to Poplar.”

Shelagh Turner actress Laura Main also shared a selfie, writing on Instagram: “These selfies were taken last week, during pre-production of Call the Midwife, and back in a trailer again, after a hair and make up test and before heading to a costume fitting. It was so great to see Shelagh starting to form and looking back at me again, even from behind a mask! It’s a little bit different with lots of protocols now, but Call the Midwife series 10 has started filming and I’ve my first proper day back today!”

And Daniel Laurie, who plays Reggie, gave us a sneak peak at his Christmas jumper.

At the end of September, Call the Midwife announced via Facebook that filming for the Christmas special had been completed, with a photo of Leonie Elliot (Lucille) and Zephryn Taitte (Cyril), writing that the episode is their “personal gift” to viewers and that “all of the most important things in life remain true and constant, regardless of the uncertainties of a changing world”.

Production continues on season 10.

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.”

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