Skip to main content

'Call the Midwife' Season 1 recap — everything you need to know

Jenny Lee in Call the Midwife
Call the Midwife Season 1 follows new midwife Jenny Lee. (Image credit: BBC)

Call the Midwife Season 1 was where it all started. It has become a much-loved series, watched by millions of fans on BBC1 in the UK and PBS in the US. And it seems like ages since the very first Season premiered, as fans eagerly wait for Call the Midwife Season 11 to arrive on their screens.

So if you need a reminder of what happened all the way back in the 2012 Season, we've put together a handy guide to help you catch up with all the key moments and characters in Nonnatus House. Here's everything you need to know about Season 1...

What happened in the pilot episode?

In episode one of Call the Midwife Season 1, we see newly qualified midwife Jenny Lee arriving at Nonnatus House. But she believes she has been sent to a small private hospital, so she is surprised to find herself working at a convent. 

Following Jenny, we meet the characters who will go on to be key members of the cast including the Sisters Julienne, Evangelina, Bernadette and Monica Joan, and fellow nursing colleagues Trixie and Cynthia. At first the new midwife is overwhelmed by her new surroundings, but gradually begins to find her feet as the series goes on.

Episode one also follows the first case Jenny is allowed to handle alone, looking after Mrs Conchita Warren during her 25th pregnancy. Conchita is married to Len Warren, an East End painter and decorator who fought in the Spanish Civil War. 

But it's far from plain sailing, as Conchita slips, falls and goes into labour at 30 weeks gestation, suffering from a severe concussion. With Jenny left alone in the house with Conchita and her husband, she's forced to use her skills and quick thinking to help the mother and the premature baby.

How to watch Call the Midwife Season 1

Call the Midwife Season 1 is currently available on BBC iPlayer in the UK. Meanwhile, in the US, below is a host of ways of catching up on the very first series.

What else happens in Call the Midwife Season 1?

Throughout the first season of Call the Midwife, we're mostly following Jenny as she settles into her new role and responsibilities working at Nonnatus House. She helps a number of women throughout the season including 15-year-old Mary who was heavily pregnant and forced to flee an abusive household and helping to deliver a baby girl for a mother whose first child was stillborn.

It's not just women Jenny helps either, as she's placed on the district nursing roster in the first series to give her experience with the wider community. During this time she starts forming relationships with those around her, and we learn more about the recurring characters who live and work nearby.

We were also introduced to Miranda Hart's character Camilla "Chummy" Noakes, who stood out immediately due to her height, and Sister Evangelina immediately commented on her mediocre grades in midwife training and her pink uniform which made her stand out even more. It took her a while to settle in due to her clumsiness and inability to ride a bike, but she was soon accepted as part of the team.

What happened in the Season finale?

It was a dramatic finale for Call the Midwife Season 1, as Sister Monica Joan contracts pneumonia after roaming the streets at night. Her mental health had been a concern for those at Nonnatus House, and this is complicated further when she's arrested for theft and put on trial.  Despite some jewellery being amongst her belongings, it is revealed it belonged to the Sister's mother and therefore she hadn't stolen it. Mother Jesu helps to prove her innocence and the charges are dropped.

There's also a wedding to conclude the first season, as Chummy is convinced to marry PC Noakes, who she'd been courting despite the disapproval of her mother. She almost ends their relationship but is convinced to carry on by the other midwives, who want her to be happy and not give in to her mother's pressures.

Lucy Buglass
Lucy Buglass

Lucy joined the team in 2021, where she writes series guides for must-watch programmes, reviews and the latest TV news. Originally from Northumberland, she graduated from Oxford Brookes University with a degree in Film Studies and moved to London to begin a career writing about entertainment.

She is a Rotten Tomatoes approved film critic and has a huge passion for cinema. She especially loves horror, thriller and anything crime-related. Her favourite TV programmes include Inside No 9, American Horror Story, Stranger Things and Black Mirror but she is also partial to a quiz show or a bit of Say Yes to the Dress