Call the Midwife’s front of cheery nuns and new-born babies might mean it often gets dismissed as comfort TV.


But the much-loved BBC series, which began its story in 1957 and has since moved through the swinging '60s, subtly chronicles medical progress and social change, bringing women's stories to the fore as society evolves around them.

And speaking in the latest Big RT Interview, Call the Midwife creator Heidi Thomas promised season 12 – which will be set in 1968 – will be no different, revealing the upcoming run will feature a ventouse birth for the first time.

"Again, we’re looking at some very strong stories about the way society was changing at that time," she explained. "And that can be as simple as ventouse delivery coming in as a sort of improvement or alternative to forceps, certainly."

Season 12 will also be influenced by Enoch Powell's inflammatory anti-immigration speech, which saw him dismissed from the Shadow Cabinet.

"But also in the very first episode of the new series which will probably come out in January if it follows the usual pattern, I realised the timing of that episode coincided exactly with Enoch Powell’s Rivers of Blood speech which made a huge difference, and not a very positive difference, to race relations in Great Britain," Thomas explained.

"It was a big turning point I think for our society and the way we spoke of and behaved towards people who had come here from other countries, so that was something we felt we had to tackle."

Season 12 will also tackle the Thalidomide scandal once again with the return of Rhoda Mullucks, whose baby was born with birth defects in season 5 after taking medication prescribed by Dr Turner.

And Rhoda is set to have another baby in the upcoming chapter, Thomas revealed, which "puts them under a certain amount of pressure and gives them a lot to worry about".

She added: "We haven’t actually been with that family for five years, so we’re picking up the pieces for them and it makes for a very special Christmas special."

Call the Midwife thalidomide baby susan
Thalidomide baby Susan in Call the Midwife

As for what might happen elsewhere in season 12filming for which is well underway – Thomas revealed there are challenging times ahead for nurse Lucille (Leonie Elliott) following her miscarriage in season 11, as well as an epic return for fan-favourite character Trixie, whose presence has been sorely missed after actress Helen George left halfway through series 11 to facilitate her pregnancy.

"Something rather wonderful happens to Trixie, Lucile has to contend with a reasonable amount of sadness, and what else can I say? We have a new nun coming to join the line-up, Sister Veronica," Thomas said.

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She continued: "Helen had a big chunk of time off last series, so it stalled Trixie’s storyline somewhat. But Trixie continues to shine professionally as a midwife, but also her personal life takes a pleasing turn shall we say, and I’m not telling you anything else! But you will see a lot more of Trixie in the coming series."

Call The Midwife is available to stream on BBC iPlayer. Check out more of our Drama coverage or visit our TV Guide to see what's on tonight.


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