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Call the Midwife backstreet abortion storyline gets HUGE viewing figures

Call the Midwife episode one
(Image credit: BBC/Neal Street Productions)

Tragic plot helps show get big numbers

Call the Midwife stormed back onto BBC1 last night with a whopping 6.9 million people tuning in to see a harrowing story about abortion unfold.

Series eight of the long-running medical hit opened with a moving tale which focussed on a young woman who ended up having a backstreet abortion.

Call the Midwife episode one

There were some uncomfortable scenes in last night's Call the Midwife as the show tackled the subject of backstreet abortions

Helen George, who plays Trixie, recently revealed that the subject of abortion would play a key part.

“This series is focusing on rights of women, or lack of them," she said. "There’s an underlying current about abortion, which was still illegal. It’s wonderful storytelling. Characters have botched abortions and we see the issues that causes. By the end of the series we get to the root of it.”

Her co-star Jennifer Kirby added: “Valerie takes it personally and is upset. She gets invested in anything to do with the community, because it’s where she’s from.”

The first episode, set in 1964, also featured the arrival of two new nuns and some lighter moments as people eagerly awaited news on the Queen’s latest birth.

According to Broadcast, Call the Midwife saw off competition from another long-running show, ITV’s Vera, which attracted a respectable 5.6 million fans.

Vera: Pictured: BRENDA BLETHYN as DCI Vera Stanhope, KENNY DOUGHTY as DS Aiden Healy and JON MORRIS as DC Kenny Lockhart.

Vera and her team were no match for Call the Midwife, but they did see off Les Miserables in the ratings battle

And Vera, which ran for two hours, did manage to draw in more viewers than BBC1’s Les Miserables, which got 4 million viewers.

Call the Midwife continues this Sunday.