‘Call the Midwife’s Helen George Says the Holiday Special Is an ‘Escape’ in 2020

Leonie Elliott Helen George Call the Midwife

It’s December 1965 and the caring nurses, midwives and nuns of Nonnatus House — named for the patron saint of childbirth — in London’s scrappy East End are preparing for a traditional Christmas. But hold the figgy pudding. The BBC drama Call the Midwife has a time-honored tradition of serving up surprises in its holiday specials.

Glamorous, unflappable nurse Trixie Franklin (Helen George, above right, with Leonie Elliott), for example, gets quite the gift from her godmother: a subscription to a marriage bureau.

“How rude!” says George, laughing. “She goes on a series of disastrous dates with various men, too old, too young, too chatty, not chatty enough.”

Also, nurse and mom Shelagh (Laura Main) has an unexpected reunion that involves her in a meaningful birth, and elderly Sister Monica Joan (Judy Parfitt) is rushed to the hospital. “That she may not be back for Christmas Day has quite an effect on everybody,” George says.

But joy arrives in the form of a colorful circus, which was also a treat for the quarantine-fatigued cast. “None of us had seen recreational fun for a year!” George says. “The special is an escape, and it’s full of warmth and love — everything we need this Christmas.”

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Call the Midwife Holiday Special, Friday, December 25, 9/8c, PBS (check local listings at pbs.org)