Call the Midwife – the usually warm-hearted staple of a winter Sunday night – has certainly put central character Trixie (Helen George) through the emotional wringer over the years, but never has her storyline been as frustrating as in the current season.


The sparky, outspoken midwife – who, if you remember, previously battled alcoholism, recovered from a broken engagement and has dealt with more than her fair share of complex (and sometimes fatal) maternity cases during her time at Nonnatus House – finally looked like she was getting a happy ending when she married dashing Matthew Aylward (Olly Rix) at the end of season 12.

We may have expected at least a season or two of marital bliss before they encountered any problems, but oh no, the Call the Midwife writers callously decided that poor old Trixie wasn’t allowed to have even one year of loved-up happiness with her husband, who has deserted his new bride and moved to New York with his toddler son Jonty.

While their storyline has been left open-ended, with the possibility of a reunion for the couple (more on that later), the clumsy way that their marriage has been handled is infuriating for fans of the newlyweds (and fans of happily-ever-afters in general).

Barely eight months after their wedding (good grief, even a marriage on EastEnders lasts a few weeks longer than that), this season's mean-spirited storyline revealed that there are already severe cracks in the Aylwards' relationship.

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Helen George as Trixie Franklin and Olly Rix as Matthew Aylward in Call the Midwife standing in wedding attire at the altar
Olly Rix as Matthew Aylward and Helen George as Trixie Franklin. BBC / Neal Street Productions / Laurence Cendrowicz

Matthew has been hiding financial problems from his wife and expecting her to prioritise being a housewife and stepmother to Jonty over her own career, while Trixie has found his demands for her attention distracting (to the extent that she endangered a patient during a home birth in episode 4), and has been spending their money on expensive sofas and eyeing up a new sports car, unaware that they don't have the riches they once did.

Of course, you can argue that back in 1969, when the series is set, many husbands didn't share their work with their wives, but Matthew is married to a modern woman who earns her own wage, so you would think that he'd be a bit more progressive about sharing the news that he has, to put it bluntly, completely annihilated the Aylward family finances.

You could also argue that the Aylward board of directors should have stepped in a lot sooner when they learned about Matthew's questionable investments following his father’s death, rather than waiting until they had to take the drastic measure of cutting him off completely – but why use logic when you can add some marriage-straining drama where it wasn't needed?

Matthew did finally tell Trixie what was going on in episode 6, and is grateful when she rallied to his side, but by episode 7 he was back to being a macho idiot, declaring that he was off to New York with Jonty for a few months to explore a potential investment opportunity.

That was particuarly cruel to viewers, especially as it was dealt with so brusquely over the final two episodes.

First, Matthew made the decision to leave rather swiftly without really considering what such a move would mean to Trixie – whether or not she decided to go with him. (He doesn't seem so dashing now, does he?)

After all, if she did go, she'd be leaving behind Nonnatus House, her friends and the life she had built. And if she stayed, she'd lose both her husband and her stepson.

Matthew also didn't seem to stop and contemplate what a move to New York could mean for his own son, either. How would it affect cute little Jonty, moving to another country and being torn from Trixie, the only mother he has ever known?

Don't ask Matthew, as he doesn't seem to even stop to think about that. (And neither do the writers, who spend very little time on the matter.)

A sad-looking Trixie stood outside Nonnatus House talking to her brother
Helen George as Trixie Aylward. Neal Street Productions/Olly Courtney

In the season finale, Matthew was already ensconced in a Manhattan office (presumably Jonty is in an apartment somewhere, being looked after by a nanny), while poor Trixie tried to hold it together back in Poplar.

It's only after Trixie's brother gave her a stern talking to (following a fiery accident that occurs courtesy of Trixie's new reliance on pills to get her through the day) that she realised that in order to save her marriage, she needed to go to New York and stand by her financially incompetent and emotionally insensitive husband (have we gone off Matthew a bit this season? You betcha).

So we are left, at the end of the latest instalment, with Trixie promising to follow her man to America while a considerable number of viewers shout "What the hell?" at their TVs.

Of course, their relationship cliffhanger (will she really go?) means that there are a few possibilities for fans to mull over before the 2024 Christmas special reveals what happens next.

With rumours of Olly Rix's potential exit from Call the Midwife still circulating, one possible storyline could be that Trixie changes her mind and doesn't go to New York at all, or she goes and then returns to Poplar, but without her husband and stepson with her.

Alternatively, both Rix and George could be absent from the show in season 14 (permanently or temporarily), with their characters remaining out of sight in New York.

Or, in the best case scenario, the Aylward family could return to the East End, happily married, financially stable… and exactly where they should have been if the show writers hadn't meddled in their newlywed lives and annoyed us so much during this run.

All 13 seasons are available to stream now on BBC iPlayer. If you're looking for more to watch, check out our TV Guide and Streaming Guide or visit our Drama hub for more news and features.


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