Writer: Heidi Thomas
Starring: Vanessa Redgrave, Jessica Raine, Pam Ferris, Miranda Hart, Helen George, Jenny Agutter, Laura Main, Judy Parfitt, Stephen McGann, Cliff Parisi, Ben Caplan, Jennifer Kirby, Leonie Elliot, Linda Bassett, Annabelle Apsion
Production Company: Neal Street Productions for BBC
Kent Locations Used: The Historic Dockyard Chatham
Much-loved BBC period drama Call the Midwife is back for a tenth series. The TV drama follows the lives of nuns and midwives working in the East End of London during the 1950s and 60s.
The TV drama is based on the memoirs of Jennifer Worth which chart the life of a newly qualified midwife who works alongside midwives and nuns at a nursing convent, where they face many medical problems and struggles in Poplar, a very deprived area of London. The opening episode of the first series aired on Sunday 15th January 2012 on BBC One and attracted over 10 million viewers. The series of eight episodes each have aired year-on-year, along with an annual Christmas special broadcast every Christmas Day since 2012. It is also broadcast in the United States on the PBS network. Neal Street Productions is currently commissioned by the BBC for up to Series 11, which is due to air in 2022.
The early series featured actress Jessica Raine as the main protagonist Nurse Jenny Lee with leading supporting cast Helen George as Nurse Trixie Franklin, Pam Ferris as Sister Evangelina, Judy Parfitt as Sister Monica Joan and Miranda Hart playing Chummy Browne led by the calm guidance of Sister Julienne (Jenny Agutter). Vanessa Redgrave narrates the series as mature Jennifer Worth.
The more recent series features now familiar faces Nurse Valerie Dyer (Jennifer Kirby), Nurse Lucille Anderson (Leonie Elliott), Nurse Phyllis Crane (Linda Bassett) and Nurse Trixie Franklin (Helen George) . Supporting cast includes long standing characters Doctor Turner (Stephen McGann) and his wife Shelagh Turner (Laura Main), Fred Buckle (Cliff Parisi) and Violet Buckle (Annabelle Apsion).
Series 9 Christmas special aired on Christmas Day 2020 and is set in Christmas 1965. The Christmas special featured Peter Davison as the ringmaster as the circus came to Poplar. Series 10 aired slightly later than originally scheduled due to delays in filming from the coronavirus pandemic and Episode One broadcast on 18th April 2021.
During all ten seasons Call the Midwife has made use of the settings of The Historic Dockyard Chatham to stand in for the Victorian buildings of Poplar in East London. The Fitted Rigging House doubles for the Lisbon Buildings and Rakesby Street Homeless Shelter. Meanwhile, Admiral’s Offices exteriors feature as Poplar Maternity Home and the London Hospital. The Tarred Yarn Store has made regular appearances as a Boxing Ring, Chinese Laundry and derelict building. HMS Cavalier, a WW2 destroyer ship and The National Destroyer Memorial, has also featured playing the role of a Russian ship. The Commissioner’s House gardens set the scene for a famous engagement scene in one episode, while Anchor’s Wharf and the Dockyard Railway and steam train have regularly appeared for Poplar Docks scenes. The Victorian Ropery even appears in one episode as a working ropemakers as well as various cellars and tunnels around the building.
The Historic Dockyard Chatham was established in the mid-16th century and is located on the River Medway. A location with an extensive history, evident through its numerous buildings and exhibitions open to the public. Today Chatham is the only one of the original four Royal Navy Ropeyards to remain in operation and, together with its related buildings, forms the finest integrated group of 18th century manufacturing buildings in Britain. The site offers maritime, industrial, Georgian and Victorian architecture and cobbled streets, an ideal set for many film productions. Recent period dramas to film at the Dockyard include Belgravia (2020), World On Fire Series 1 (2019) and Pennyworth Series 1 (2019) to name but a few.
Call the Midwife Series 10 Episode One aired on BBC One on 18th April 2021 at 8pm.
All ten series are available to view on BBC iPlayer and Amazon Prime, while Netflix has series one to eight currently available (correct: July 2021)
For more information about Kent’s Filming History please visit our Movie Map.