Nurse Barbara Hereward's spirit lives on at Nonnatus House – and Charlotte Ritchie's beloved character still has a central place in the Call the Midwife Christmas special.


In a poignant moment at the end of season seven, Barbara died of sepsis with her husband Tom (Jack Ashton) by her side. The midwives were left heartbroken and grieving.

Speaking at a screening in London, series creator and writer Heidi Thomas told the audience: "You will all be pleased to know that the joy and the optimism of Call the Midwife did not die with Nurse Barbara Hereward, 1936 to 1963. I think something of Barbara's spirit carries on, and multiplies. We reference it in the Christmas special."

She added: "Everybody seems to take a bit of Barbara's drive and energy and innovative spirit forward with them as we go further into the 1960s."

Linda Bassett, who plays Nurse Crane, said that there are "photos everywhere" of Barbara at Nonnatus House, teasing: "We have one little scene about her..."

And while Barbara will not be physically returning to Poplar despite her presence in everyone's minds, Nurse Trixie actress Helen George joked: "We're hoping that Heidi writes a dream sequence where she comes back and haunts us all."

Call the Midwife - Charlotte Ritchie as Barbara Hereward

This year's Christmas special will also feature Harry Potter actress Miriam Margolyes, who guest stars in Call the Midwife as Sister Mildred, a "forthright and indefatigable sister from the Order."

Sister Mildred arrives at Nonnatus House with four young Chinese refugees from Hong Kong, who are being adopted in the UK as part of the World Refugee Project, and their unexpected visit to Poplar brings joy and chaos in equal measure.

As the BBC has revealed, "the Christmas special also sees Trixie return to Poplar just in time to cover for the Sisters as they leave for the Mother House. The Order’s Mother Superior has been taken ill and a new spiritual leader needs to be elected. It soon becomes clear, much to Sister Julienne’s horror, that she is the favoured candidate to take over..."

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The Call the Midwife Christmas special will air on BBC1

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