The Christmas special and third series of BBC One’s record-breaking hit drama, Call the Midwife, has commenced filming at its new home, starring Jessica Raine, Miranda Hart, Jenny Agutter, Pam Ferris and Judy Parfitt
London 17 June 2013
Made by Neal Street productions for BBC One, the award-winning drama series began filming this month for a Christmas special in 2013 and new series of 8 episodes in 2014. Written and created by Heidi Thomas, the third series continues filming on location at the historic Chatham dockyard with its base now housed at studios in Chertsey, Surrey. Based on the best-selling memoirs of the late Jennifer Worth, audiences can expect to see all the well-loved cast returning to the streets of Poplar with some new faces in residence too.
Call the Midwife was the biggest new drama series on BBC One in over a decade, and the second series averaged a consolidated series average of over 10 million which firmly establishes the series as the highest rated drama this year on any channel.
The series 2 finale saw Nonnatus House under threat of demolition, a baby boy for Chummy and PC Noakes and a romantic marriage proposal between Dr Turner and Sister Bernadette. In series 3 it’s 1959 and the eve of the swinging Sixties. The winds of change are sweeping through the country and the residents of Nonnatus House face some momentous changes of their own.
This series will be directed by a stellar line-up of all female directors; joining the production for the first time are Thea Sharrock (The Hollow Crown: Henry V, The Bodyguard, Equus) and Juliet May (Miranda, Scott and Bailey, Stella) with China Moo-Young and Minkie Spiro returning. At this year’s BAFTA Craft Awards, previous lead director Philippa Lowthorpe was the first ever woman to win the prestigious Direction-Fiction/Entertainment award for the show.
Pippa Harris, Executive Producer said: “I am very proud of the continued popularity of the show and how series 2 was so warmly received by the audience. Its success is down to the insightful writing of Heidi Thomas and to our fantastic crew and cast who I am thrilled are returning for series 3 to enjoy the dawn of the swinging sixties!”
Call the Midwife has won accolades across the industry including 2013 BAFTA Craft awards for director Philippa Lowthorpe and Christine Walmesley-Cotham for Make Up and Hair Design. The series also won TV Choice Awards for ‘Best New Drama’ and ‘Best Actress’ for Miranda Hart last year. She also took home the same title at the National Television Awards this year and the series won ‘HD Drama Programme of the Year’ at the TRIC awards.
Nominations for the first series include the 2013 BAFTA Radio Times Audience Award, last year’s BAFTA TV award for Miranda as ‘Supporting Actress’ and BAFTA’s Craft Award for Amy Roberts in the ‘Costume Design’ category. The show was nominated for ‘Best Drama Series’ at the RTS awards and Jessica Raine was a ‘Times Breakthrough’ nominee at the 2012 South Bank Sky Arts Awards.
Call the Midwife has also seen worldwide success, particularly in America, where the first series on PBS saw a fifty percent ratings boost in the slot and Series 2 received great acclaim. The Holiday Special episode recently received a Christopher Award in the ‘TV/Cable’ category. Series 1 was also one of the highest rated dramas in Australia last year, outperforming the channel’s slot average share and ranking first in its time slot against all competition in New Zealand. Call the Midwife peaked in Sweden with 1.2 million viewers, outperforming SVT1’s slot average share by 45% for its peak episode.
Call the Midwife is written and created by Heidi Thomas, Executive Producers are Pippa Harris and Heidi Thomas. Executive Producer for the BBC is Christopher Aird and for PBS is Donald H. Thoms, with Hugh Warren returning as Producer.
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About Neal Street Productions Neal Street Productions was formed in 2003 by Sam Mendes, Pippa Harris and Caro Newling. The company has been successful in film, theatre and television with hit movies including Revolutionary Road, Jarhead and Starter for 10. Their diverse television slate includes the award-winning Stuart A Life Backwards, with Tom Hardy and Benedict Cumberbatch, and the hugely successful Call the Midwife, a ratings smash hit which, after two extremely successful series and a Christmas Special, will return with another Christmas Special and Series 3 next year. Neal Street also produced the critically acclaimed and award-winning The Hollow Crown – a series of Shakespeare films for the BBC/PBS – starring Ben Whishaw, Tom Hiddleston and Jeremy Irons. Nicolas Brown, previously the BBC’s Director of Drama Production, has recently joined Neal Street as a company director, to work across the film and TV portfolio. On the theatre side, they have produced The Bridge Project, Shrek the Musical, South Downs & The Browning Version, Enron, Three Days of Rain and the new West End musical of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, directed by Sam Mendes, which opens on June 25th.