Call the Midwife returns to BBC One this winter for a sixth season.
It is now 1962, and the Nonnatus House team are as committed to caring for the people of Poplar as always.
However, the social revolution in the outside world is mirrored by change and challenge much closer to home. As they strive to help mothers and families cope with the demands of childbearing, disability, disease and social prejudice, our beloved medics must make choices – and fight battles – of their own. Series six will see them laugh together, cry together, and pull together, supporting each other as never before.
Sunday 25 December 2016, 8pm
As Poplar enjoys celebrating a white Christmas, an unexpected SOS call from the Mother House interrupts festivities. Hope Clinic, a tiny mission hospital that has links to The Order, is threatened with closure.
A small working group of midwives and a cleric have been requested to travel out to South Africa to work at the clinic and assess its future viability. Sister Julienne swiftly procures the help of Sister Winifred, Trixie, Barbara, Nurse Crane, Dr Turner, Shelagh, Fred and Tom Hereward, and they are soon transported to South Africa to try and save Hope Clinic.
The African clinic poses many problems and the team is both shaken and exhilarated by the challenges they are faced with: a water supply that’s running dangerously low, no electricity and Dr Myra Fitzsimmonds, the clinic’s doctor, who is suffering from a mystery illness.
But the biggest hurdle is a neighbouring white farmer who refuses access across his land, which could save the clinic’s future. The team dig deep and face these challenges head on, and achieve real success – a completed polio immunisation programme, several trips to save lives in remote locations, and a caesarean performed by candlelight.
In their courageous attempt to save Hope Clinic and make a difference to the lives of the people that use it, some of their own lives are changed forever.
Sunday 22 January 2017, 8pm
The midwives receive a rapturous welcome when they return from their South African adventure – but all is not well at Nonnatus House.
In their absence, Sister Ursula has been running a very tight ship and it is quickly announced that she will remain in charge at Nonnatus House, above Sister Julienne.
Sister Ursula makes unpopular changes, but bound by a vow of obedience Sister Julienne is unable to challenge her. As the Nonnatuns chafe under the new rules, the midwives are drawn into helping heavily pregnant mother Trudy Watts, whose husband has just been released from prison for extortion.
Gradually, the problems below the surface of the marriage become clear: a victim of domestic abuse Trudy is desperate for a divorce but risks losing her home, her good name and crucially, access to her children. Trapped and with no clear way out, Trudy’s suffering sends shock waves through Nonnatus House, most noticeably affecting Sister Mary Cynthia who is suffering with increasing anxiety following her recent attack.
Elsewhere, Shelagh is harbouring a secret and struggles to tell Dr Turner, and Patsy receives some distressing news about her father in Hong Kong.
Sunday 29 January 2017, 8pm
Sister Ursula continues to reign with an iron fist, and the midwives at Nonnatus House struggle to toe the line – especially when she insists they must not be emotionally involved with their patients.
This unpopular new edict is immediately put to the test when new father George Marsh is badly burnt in an explosion at the docks and is unable to support his new family; and when expectant mother Penny Reed and her anxious husband Derek are brought to the attention of Nonnatus House.
Penny and Derek both have achondroplasia (colloquially known as Dwarfism) and problems with the pregnancy are anticipated, including their baby being stillborn or only living for a short time. As the midwives prepare the Reeds for an infant that may not live, their unconditional devotion to one another and to their unborn child makes a deep impact, especially on Patsy, who is facing one of her toughest decisions yet.
Elsewhere, barmaid Valerie Dyer’s quick thinking catches Shelagh’s attention when they are first on hand to deal with the casualties at the dock fire. Shelagh is appalled by the general lack of basic health and safety in the docks and strives to make a difference to the men that work there. Dr Turner and Shelagh also share the happy news of Shelagh’s pregnancy with their children.
Sunday 5 February 2017, 8pm
The wind of change is blowing through Poplar, with a new government paper calling for the eradication of small hospitals in favour of large General Hospitals.
Dr Turner and Shelagh are informed that an inspection of the maternity home will decide its fate – striking fear in their hearts. Yet when they rally the Nonnatus Team to discuss their strategy, they are appalled by Sister Ursula’s point-blank refusal to help.
Sister Ursula has her own anxieties about the efficiency of Nonnatus House, and needs all her midwives close by, as she introduces a new 20-minute rule for all antenatal and postnatal house visits. Barbara struggles the most with the new rule, as she is drawn into helping first-time mother Lucy Chen, who is struggling with the Chinese community and to bond with her mother-in-law. But it becomes apparent that Barbara’s shortened visit may have led to a serious oversight, when Baby Chen becomes gravely unwell.
Trixie returns to a warm welcome – but is horrified by the state of play at Nonnatus House and serious questions are raised over Sister Ursula’s suitability for her role.
Meanwhile, Sister Monica Joan is also tense and agitated and has started disappearing for long periods of time – and there are growing concerns for Sister Mary Cynthia’s whereabouts.
Sunday 12 February 2017, 8pm
Single, expectant mother Marnie Wallace buckles under the strains of pregnancy and enters into a painful arrangement with her cousin.
As Tom provides pastoral care, he reveals why Marnie’s case has touched him more than most.
Concerns for Shelagh’s pregnancy threaten to push Dr Turner and Timothy apart, and Poplar celebrates the opening of a new community park with a chariot race.
Sunday 19 February 2017, 8pm
Sister Mary Cynthia’s whereabouts are discovered causing great distress and Nonnatus house welcomes new recruit, nurse Valerie Dyer.
Sunday 26 February 2017, 8pm
It’s October 1962 and the world is on tenterhooks, as tensions between the Soviet Union and America are about to boil over. As Poplar responds to the escalating Cuban Missile Crisis, Valerie Dyer is still finding her feet at Nonnatus House and oversees the care of heavily pregnant and first-time mother, Nadifa Farah.
A bright young Somali woman, she has come to the UK to join her husband with her younger sister Deka. Upon examination, Valerie is dumbfounded – Nadifa’s genital anatomy is not like anything she has ever seen before, and she is informed that Nadifa has undergone a process known as female genital circumcision.
Nadifa’s case becomes the focus of concern for the Nonnatus Team, and carefully laid plans are put into place for Nadifa to have a hospital delivery. But a visit to the hospital soon puts pay to those plans, when fearful Nadifa goes into hiding. Meanwhile, her sister Deka dreams of becoming a nurse and her future seems a bright one – until Valerie and Barbara discover that plans are in place to send her back home to be ‘cut’ in Somaliland.
As the Turners prepare to move house, Sister Mary Cynthia’s struggle with her mental health continues. After a course of Electro Convulsive Therapy, she is released back into the care of Nonnatus House and is optimistic that she will finally reconnect with God. But with her depression quickly creeping back in, Sister Mary Cynthia starts to question her religious life – and her life before joining The Order, when she was well.
Elsewhere, Trixie has a crisis of confidence when Christopher Dockerill invites her out on a second date.
Sunday 5 March 2017, 8pm
Dr Turner fights to get Rhoda and Bernie Mullucks, (whose daughter Susan was born without limbs in Season 5), the necessary support now that Susan’s problems are more obvious the older she gets.
Dr Turner refers Susan to the limb fitting unit at Queen Mary’s hospital, Roehampton, where children like Susan are fitted with artificial limbs. The prosthetics are cumbersome and terrifying but nevertheless the visit goes someway to normalise the situation for Rhoda, when she meets another mother of a thalidomide affected child.
But for Bernie, the visit leaves him traumatised by the reminder that his daughter is so profoundly disabled and he finally blames Rhoda for taking the pills. It seems as if Rhoda and Bernie may never be able to put things right, unless they find a way to focus their anger outside of their loving family. Elsewhere, Nurse Crane relishes delivering a fourth son to the rumbustious mixed-race Antoine family.
Nurse Crane is a little protective over the Anotine brothers, who have been the recent victim of racist jibes at cubs. Sister Winifred’s driving has scarcely progressed at all, and after one particularly confusing session, Nurse Crane takes matters in hand, with distressing and far-reaching consequences. Afterwards, Nurse Crane experiences some of the darkest days of her life.
Elsewhere, Trixie becomes increasingly suspicious of Christopher Dockerill after a series of cancelled dates and an erroneous item of woman’s clothing found in his car. She eventually confronts him and is shocked by his frank disclosure. Compelled to be honest herself, Trixie decides that it’s time to come clean about her own secret past.
Sunday 12 March 2017, 8pm
The midwives, led by Sister Julienne, oversee the opening of a family planning clinic at the local community centre.
Mother-of-three Wilma Goddens looks forward to returning to work as a Constanza corsetry consultant now that her children are old enough for her to do so. Rediscovering her independence and growing in confidence, Wilma visits the clinic and starts taking the contraceptive pill behind her husband’s back.
At Nonnatus House, Barbara is distraught when she discovers that her father, Canon Gilbert, has accepted a missionary posting in New Guinea for the next three years so will not be able to officiate at her wedding. This is a prospect that neither of Tom nor Barbara can bear, so they announce that Canon Gilbert will marry them before he sets sail, giving them just three weeks to make all the necessary arrangements.
There is huge excitement at Nonnatus House as everyone helps with the wedding preparations: the wedding dress is high on the agenda and Barbara must decide who will be her bridesmaid. An unexpected windfall from Tom’s stag do gifts Barbara with the most memorable wedding present of all time. Elsewhere, Shelagh’s due date is fast approaching and she finally agrees to stop work and rest. But first she must decide which of the Nonnatus midwives will deliver the baby.
Elsewhere, Violet is suffering terribly with hot flushes and Christopher asks Trixie to meet his daughter, whilst Delia’s heartache is finally over.
Watch the Season 6 trailer…
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