Could Victoria Yeates return to Call the Midwife as Sister Winifred?
Sister Winifred left Nonnatus House in the Call the Midwife Christmas special and won't appear in series eight – but has the door been left open for a comeback?
Call the Midwife's Victoria Yeates has quit the BBC1 drama after five years, hanging up Sister Winifred's wimple in the Christmas special – but has the option of a comeback been left open?
Sister Winifred has been a key part of the show since 2014, when she joined at the start of series three. Innocent and warm-hearted, she was initially shocked by the realities of working in the East End, but grew in confidence during her years at Nonnatus House.
Now she has followed her calling back to the Mother House, leaving Poplar behind. Here's what you need to know...
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Is Victoria Yeates leaving Call the Midwife?
Yes – Victoria Yeates left Call the Midwife during the Christmas special and will not take part in series eight.
"I have absolutely adored my time on Call the Midwife and leave having made some of my best friends on the show," Yeates said. "I have been incredibly lucky to have worked with some of the best actresses and actors in the business.
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“However, with the opportunity of Fantastic Beasts and all that it entails, it became clear that it was time to hang up Sister Winifred’s wimple and move on to the next adventure."
Yeates quit the show in order to film her role as former Hogwarts pupil Bunty in Harry Potter movie Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald – the assistant to Eddie Redmayne's "magizoologist" Newton Scamander.
Speaking to RadioTimes.com in February 2018, she described JK Rowling as her "role model," saying: "She is everything you would expect. She's down to earth, she's funny, she's intelligent, she's open, warm... I hope I could be a bit of what she is."
Where is Sister Winifred?
Sister Winifred now lives at the Order's Mother House with the newly-elected Mother Superior, Sister Mildred (Miriam Margolyes), and the other nuns.
When the midwife nuns were summoned to the Mother House during the Christmas special, Sister Winifred noticed the plight of a disabled child at the Order's orphanage and makes it her mission to include him in everything.
Unexpectedly, she announces to the other nuns: "I don't want to go back. I want to stay here."
And so one of Sister Mildred's first acts as Mother Superior was to grant Sister Winifred permission to leave her role as midwife at Nonnatus House and remain with the other nuns at the Mother House.
Could Sister Winifred return to Call the Midwife?
The really interesting thing about Sister Winifred's exit is that it leaves the door open for a possible return – perhaps as a guest star, or even as a full cast member.
When Charlotte Ritchie (Nurse Barbara Hereward) left Call the Midwife in series seven, there was zero chance she would be able to make a comeback after her tragic on-screen death from sepsis.
By contrast, Sister Winifred is still very much alive.
So if series creator Heidi Thomas wanted to bring her back as a guest star or main cast member, and if Yeates herself wanted to return, that would be easy to pull off – because Sister Winifred is still very much a part of the Call the Midwife "universe".
For now, Thomas has boosted numbers at Nonnatus House with the addition of two new midwife nuns – Sister Hilda (Fenella Woolgar) and Sister Frances (Ella Bruccoleri).
This article was originally published in December 2018
Call the Midwife season eight airs on PBS on Sundays at 8/7c