Call the Midwife Series 1 – 9 (2012 – 2020)

Nurse Lucille Anderson (Leonie Elliott), Nurse Trixie (Helen George), Nurse Crane (Linda Bassett) Valerie Dyer (Jennifer Kirby) © BBC: Nurse Lucille Anderson (Leonie Elliott), Nurse Trixie (Helen George), Nurse Crane (Linda Bassett) Valerie Dyer (Jennifer Kirby) dressed in their midwives costumes holding babies in a maternity hospital

Pictured: Nurse Lucille Anderson (Leonie Elliott), Nurse Trixie (Helen George), Nurse Crane (Linda Bassett) Valerie Dyer (Jennifer Kirby) © BBC

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 ninth 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. Series 10 is currently in production and due to air in 2021. 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 (aired from 4th January 2020) is set in the year 1965 and across eight episodes we see the midwives dealing with cases involving cancer, diptheria, dementia, fistula and homelessness as well as a changing political agenda that threatens the survival of Nonnatus House.

During all nine 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.

 

Three characters from call the midwife looking out to sea on a bridge at the Historic Dockyard Chatham with their blue and red midwife uniforms on.

Image of Call The Midwife Nurses ©The Historic Dockyard Chatham

 

An image of an exploded bomb set, a pile of rubble and a sign saying KEEP OFF

Behind the Scenes: Special Effects filming of Call the Midwife (2014) at The Historic Dockyard Chatham © BBC (Click on image for video clip).

The Historic Dockyard Chatham hosts Official Call the Midwife Location tours. For more information see here.

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 9 aired from Sunday 4th January 2020 on BBC One at 8pm. All nine series are available to view on BBC iPlayer, Netflix and Amazon Prime.

For more information about Kent’s Filming History please visit our Movie Map. 

 

 

 


The Riddle (2007)

The Riddle Movieposter- Three cast members standing in a row with buildings faintly shown in the background. The Riddle is written in white on a black strip underneath.

The Riddle Movieposter ©  Image Entertainment

Director and writer: Brendan Foley

Starring: Vinnie Jones, Julie Cox, Jason Flemyng, Derek Jacobi, P.H. Moriarty, Vanessa Redgrave

Production Company: Grosvenor Park Productions, Manuscript Productions, Riddle Productions

Kent Filming Locations: Sittingbourne Greyhounds Racing Track

Journalist Mike Sullivan (Vinnie Jones) investigates a series of murders that occur after the discovery of an unpublished Charles Dickens’ manuscript. As Sullivan grows obsessive over the novel and its connection to his investigation, he seeks the help of police officer Kate (Julie Cox) and a beach-combing tramp  (Derek Jocobi) who together unravel a century-old crime hidden within the manuscript which enables them to solve the modern-day crime.

Brendan Foley’s latest project stars Vinnie Jones (Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels), Derek Jacobi (Gladiator), Vanessa Redgrave (Atonement) Julie Cox (David Copperfield) and Jason Flemyng (Snatch)

The Riddle production team visited Sittingbourne Greyhounds Racing Track to shoot the opening sequence of the film where sports tabloid journalist Mike Sullivan (Vinnie Jones) is reporting on a dog race. What fans may not know is that Jones has been known to race his own greyhound, Smoking Bullet, at the stadium!

Sittingbourne falls under the district of Swale and The Riddle isn’t the only filming project to visit the district. Brogdale Farm in Faversham saw The Hairy Bikers visit in 2009 and the Shepherd Neame Brewery featured in The Darling Buds of May series.

Another location to feature was the Chislehurst Caves in Bromley as they were the perfect location to act as the home to Derek Jacobi’s beach combing tramp.  Chislehurst Caves has over 200 miles of caverns dug over a period of 8000 years and three distinct sections, Druid, Roman and Saxon and has also been used in filming for Doctor Who in 1976 and more recently for BBC’s Merlin.

The film was released in cinemas in September 2007 and is now available on DVD.

For more information about Kent’s Filming History please visit our Movie Map. 


The Gathering Storm (2002)

Two actors staring at each other through an open door frame

The Gathering Storm © HBO Films and BBC Films

Director: Richard Loncraine

Starring: Albert Finney, Vanessa Redgrave, Jim Broadbent, Ronnie Barker, Hugh Bonneville, Tom Hiddleston

Production Company: HBO Films, BBC Films, Scott Free Productions

Kent Locations: Chartwell, Westerham

The Gathering Storm is a BBC-HBO co-produced film for TV about Winston Churchill in the years leading up to World War II. It’s emphasis is on the relationship between Winston and his wife Clementine, their financial problems and his struggle as an isolated backbench MP when warning Parliament about the coming of a second major war.

Chartwell House - red brick large house surrounded by greenery

Chartwell House © National Trust

Albert Finney (The Bourne Ultimatum, Erin Brockovich) plays Churchill and won a host of awards for his performance including a Golden Globe, Emmy and BAFTA.

Starring alongside Albert Finney are Vanessa Redgrave (Call the Midwife, Deep Impact), Jim Broadbent (Gangs of New York, Cloud Atlas), Ronnie Barker (Open All Hours, Porridge), Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey, The Monuments Men) and Tom Hiddleston (Thor, War Horse).

Chartwell was the real life Churchill family home from 1924 until Winston Churchill’s death in 1965 and was therefore chosen by the production to feature in The Gathering Storm as his house and grounds.

Chartwell is a National Trust property in Westerham set in delightful gardens. The rooms remain much as they were when Churchill lived there. Other National Trust locations in Kent which have been used for filming include Scotney Castle which was used for BBC drama Hunted (2012), Knole House featured in The Other Boleyn Girl (2008) and The White Cliffs of Dover appeared in On a Clear Day (2005).

The Gathering Storm was shown in 2002 and is now available to buy on DVD.

For more information about Kent’s Filming History please visit our Movie Map.