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Helen George on why things went 'Downton Abbey' on Call the Midwife!

Christmas TV Guide - Call the Midwife Xmas Special featuring Helen George
(Image credit: BBC/ Neal St)

Christmas is here and all through Nonnatus House… sweeps a bout of the flu! Actress Helen George reveals more about Call the Midwife's festive special...

There's little in the way of festive cheer at the start of this year's Call the Midwife Christmas special reveals star Helen George, aka Trixie - as most of Nonnatus House are laid up with the flu!

Sister Julienne, Nurse Crane and midwives Trixie, Valerie and Lucille long to remain tucked up in their beds. But it seems Mother Mildred (Miriam Margolyes) has other ideas when she declares that God's calling her to set up a branch house… on the Outer Hebrides!

"Mother Mildred hears there's a community in need," explains Helen George, who plays Nurse Trixie Franklin. "The local midwife and doctor got married and both went to mainland Scotland, leaving the community with no medical provisions. So the nuns and midwives go to lend a hand.

"They’re expecting to be put up in nice digs but it turns out to be just a room in an old church – with no heating!"

Call the Midwife Christmas old church

Arriving in the Outer Hebrides, the nuns and midwives don't exactly receive the warmest welcome... quite literally!

Sister Monica Joan associates the Outer Hebrides with St Eustace’s White Stag, a symbol of Christ, and wants to see one. So she’s annoyed to discover she’s being left behind and comes up with a cunning plan…

"Sister Monica Joan goes on a beautiful, spiritual journey," teases Helen.

MORE: The best Christmas films this festive season and when they’re on

As the team – plus Dr Turner, Shelagh and handyman Fred – go about setting up an antenatal clinic, they must battle not only the cold weather and bleak terrain but also a flock of runaway sheep and hostility from certain locals...

Nurses Trixie (Helen George) and Shelagh (Laura Main) get to work, providing the locals with the best antenatal care...

Nurses Trixie (Helen George) and Shelagh (Laura Main) get to work, providing the locals with the best antenatal care...

But how did the cast themselves cope in their new surroundings up in Scotland?

"It was VERY cold up there but it really was the most beautiful place," Helen says of filming on the Outer Hebrides. "We stayed in an amazing castle and enjoyed the most wonderful dinners altogether, so we were very spoilt. It was all a bit Downton Abbey!"

The Call the Midwife Christmas Special airs at 7pm on Christmas Day on BBC1.