'Call the Midwife' Christmas special will have a record number of births, promises Jenny Agutter

Jenny Agutter in Call the Midwife.
Jenny Agutter as Sister Julienne in the Call the Midwife Christmas special. (Image credit: (C) Nealstreet Productions)

The Call the Midwife 2021Christmas special sees the residents of Nonnatus House experience their busiest festive period yet.

As Yuletide 1966 arrives in the BBC1 period drama, airing on Christmas Day (see our Christmas TV guide for the best festive shows), a host of mums-to-be descend on the maternity home with babies due over the holidays, including a troubled young gangster’s wife and an experienced mother with high blood pressure. 

While head nun Sister Julienne, played by Jenny Agutter, is trying to keep everyone in check, no-nonsense Mother Mildred (Miriam Margolyes) makes a welcome return to help out. The festive episode will also see wedding bells preparing to ring out in Poplar for Lucille and Cyril.

We chatted to Jenny Agutter to find out more about the Call the Midwife Christmas special, a true Christmas TV highlight!

“Yes, because it’s such an intimate episode. Instead of the big top, there are masses of births. We've never had so many children born in one episode! That gives it excitement. It's packed with personal stories, which is what appeals to people.”

Laura Main, Helen George and Leonie Elliott in the Call the Midwife Christmas special.

Shelagh (Laura Main), Trixie (Helen George) and Lucille (Leonie Elliott) in the Call the Midwife Christmas special. (Image credit: (C) Nealstreet Productions)

Does it feel Christmassy?

“Yes, there’s often the element of the magical in the Christmas episode and with this, it’s about the magic of the people involved. Plus there’s snow, decorations on the tree and an enchanting Christmas service.”

There is a challenging storyline involving drugs though isn’t there?

“Yes, that’s interesting and luckily Mother Mildred has dealt with something similar before and knows something about it. And of course, they have come across it a lot with people in the community. But it's an awful situation.”

Was it fun to have Miriam back?

Miriam Margolyes in Call the Midwife.

Miriam Margolyes returns as formidable Mother Mildred in the Call the Midwife Christmas special. (Image credit: (C) Neal Street Productions)

“Miriam’s magic. There’s a lovely scene where she reads [A Christmas Carol] to the children. That took me back to when we filmed in the Outer Hebrides [for the 2019 special] and she sat at dinner one night and recited about two pages from Dickens without the book. She's amazing!”

Do you love filming the Christmas specials? 

“Oh, I'm always moved by them. There have been great stories over the years. I wish we could go away again, I love going away on location, there’s that closeness with the cast and crew. In South Africa [in 2016] we had an amazing time and with the Outer Hebrides, I thought, ‘I’m not sure I want to go, it’s cold!’ But it was beautiful.” 

When can I watch the Call the Midwife Christmas special?

The episode airs on BBC1 at 8pm on Saturday 25 December and will also be available on BBC iPlayer. The Call the Midwife 2021 Christmas special will be shown on PBS on Christmas Day at 9.00pm ET.

Caren Clark

Caren has been a journalist specializing in TV for almost two decades and is a Senior Features Writer for TV Times, TV & Satellite Week and What’s On TV magazines and she also writes for What to Watch.

Over the years, she has spent many a day in a muddy field or an on-set catering bus chatting to numerous stars on location including the likes of Olivia Colman, David Tennant, Suranne Jones, Jamie Dornan, Dame Judi Dench and Sir Derek Jacobi as well as Hollywood actors such as Glenn Close and Kiefer Sutherland.

Caren will happily sit down and watch any kind of telly (well, maybe not sci-fi!), but she particularly loves period dramas like Call the Midwife, Downton Abbey and The Crown and she’s also a big fan of juicy crime thrillers from Line of Duty to Poirot.

In her spare time, Caren enjoys going to the cinema and theatre or curling up with a good book.