Call the Midwife renewed for fifth series

Filming has just finished on a fourth run of the popular BBC period drama

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The Independent Culture

BBC period drama Call the Midwife has been renewed for a fifth series just as filming wraps on the fourth.

The popular show will be back for a Christmas special in 2015 before eight new episodes set at the beginning of 1961, air in 2016. 

Lead stars Miranda Hart, Jenny Agutter, Pam Ferris and Helen George are all returning for series four, with Charlotte Ritchie from Fresh Meat also joining.

Ratings for the start of series three hit 11.4 million and in the tear-jerking finale, Jessica Raine's character Jenny left to work in a Marie Curie cancer hospital and make a fresh start with Phillip.

Vanessa Redgrave will be voicing an older Jenny in future series, as she will stay in touch with the Nonnatus House staff and share their stories worldwide.

 

Elsewhere, Call the Midwife creator Heidi Thomas is developing a new, as-yet-untitled US drama about nurses working in the Appalachian Mountains in the Twenties.

The story of Mary Breckinridge, who founded the Frontier Nursing Service after being inspired by London and Scotland's district nursing systems, will form the basis for the series.

She encountered disease, wildcats, mudslides and more when leading a small team in eastern North America.

"In Prohibition Kentucky, the biggest killers were tuberculosis and gunfire. Men, women and children struggled to eke out an existence in a beautiful but hostile landscape – without any assistance from doctors or nurses," Thomas told Broadcast.

"The FNS changed everything and the work begun by a handful of brave young women continues to this day," she said.

"I find their story extraordinarily inspiring and it cries out to be dramatised."

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