Call the Midwife – BBC1

Call The Midwife S8 - Christmas Special 2018
(Image credit: Neal Street Productions/BBC)

Christmas viewing wouldn't be the same without Call the Midwife – Trixie’s back, and she finds the sisters busy with a Nativity play

Call the Midwife's Trixie returns to find the sisters – and Fred – busy with a Nativity play

The ‘Welcome home’ bunting is out for Trixie’s (Helen George) return.

But festive plans are thrown into chaos when ‘indefatigable’ Sister Mildred (a sensational Miriam Margolyes) turns up with four Chinese orphans.

When the nuns then have to vote for a new Mother Superior, it’s a treat to finally see the much-mentioned Mother House and to witness an edgier side to Sister Julienne (Jenny Agutter) as she really doesn’t want the job!

The sisters also find themselves organising a Nativity and dealing with a mysterious pregnant woman, while back in Poplar, the midwives turn into ‘the Beverley sisters with rubber gloves’ as they face an emergency birth.

TV Times rating: *****

Ho, ho, ho! It's Fred Buckle

Ho, ho, ho! It's Fred Buckle

Helen, 34, and Jenny, who turns 66 on 20 December, along with Jennifer Kirby and Leonie Elliott, both 30, who play Valerie and Lucille, tell us what’s in store in this year's Christmas Call the Midwife…

Does this year’s episode feel particularly festive?

Jenny: It does, even though we’re shooting in the boiling heat!

Jennifer: There’s a little bit of snow, just not quite as much as last year, which is actually quite nice! Then the plastic snow was everywhere, so it was a lot to contend with.

Leonie: Yes, last year was set during the Big Freeze. But I didn’t join until episode one of the last series, so it’s exciting to be in my first Christmas special this year. The Christmas ones are always fun!

How do the nuns fare at the Mother House?

Jenny: I think of the Mother House as the mother ship! Because we’re at the Mother House, there are completely new things in the Christmas episode that one wouldn’t normally have in Nonnatus.

The Mother Superior is dying and she’d like Sister Julienne to take over, but Sister Julienne is not happy. She loves Nonnatus House and wants to remain a part of it – and, of course, I still want to be in the series! But the questions that emerge are about obedience as a nun, as opposed to what you feel called to do.

Call The Midwife S8 - Christmas Special 2018

Mrs Christmas: Trixie is glad to be back among friends Valerie and the midwives of Nonnatus

What else can we expect?

Jennifer: The Chinese babies are very sweet, and it’s nice because we deliver lots of babies, but we don’t often get them in Nonnatus House. There’s also a top-notch recital from Valerie and her baby ballet class – and then we also have the return of Trixie, of course…

Helen: Yes, she’s refreshed from her rehab in Portofino and she’s on the up! There’s a touching moment between Trixie and Nurse Crane [played by Linda Bassett], about Barbara [the young midwife who died in the last series] but we also have an exciting birth where a lady is outside by a phone box. Because Trixie is the most experienced of the younger midwives she takes the lead. But she has come back with all these fab outfits bought by her minted godmother – I’ve got it in my head that she’s Joanna Lumley! – and her new dress gets ruined during the birth. It’s very sad!

Mandy Cooper
TV Times Highlights Editor

As TV Times Highlights Editor I get to hear about all the latest TV shows coming soon. Here at TVT HQ we are in the privileged position of selecting the best programmes from across all the channels and streaming platforms. Our mission is to make it easier for our readers to decide what to watch - and give them lots of choice of genres - all the latest shows, plus some nostalgic choices we call hidden gems, too. My career began with a postgraduate degree in periodical journalism (ahem, yes old school!) in 1991 and I’ve worked in TV media since 2000.