Midwife Calling
Genre Period Drama

Medical Drama

Created by Heidi Thomas
Starring Lizzie Caplan

Ruth Wilson

Rebecca Hall

Celia Imrie

Emily Watson

Peter Davison

Opening Theme Call The Midwife 1922
Location London
Country Of Origin UK
Number Of Episodes 27
Running Time 60 minutes
Original Channel: BBC One
Original Air Date October 8th 2017
Produced by Heidi Thomas

Pippa Harris

Directed by Various
Midwife Calling is a BBC period drama series about a group of nurse midwives and nuns working in the East End of London in the 1920s. It serves as a spin-off of Call the Midwife. It stars Lizzle Caplan, Ruth Wilson, Rebecca Hall, Celia Imrie, Emily Watson and Peter Davison in main roles. The first series, set in 1922, began airing on October 8th 2017.

Midwife Calling achieved very high ratings in its first series, making it the most successful new drama series on BBC One since it's parent show. Since then two more series of eight episodes each have aired year-on-year, along with an annual Christmas special broadcast every Christmas Eve since 2017. It is also broadcast in the United States on the PBS channel, with the first series starting on January 30, 2018.

A fourth series is currently in development.


The series follows American nurse Anna Conway (Lizzie Caplan) as she arrives at Nonnatus House to start a career as a midwife in the UK. Also arriving is new nun Sister Evangeline (Ruth Wilson) and she makes her mark on Poplar immediately. The Sisters and midwives carry out many nursing duties across the community. However, with between 80 and 100 babies being born each month in Poplar alone, the primary work is to help bring safe childbirth to women in the area and to look after their countless newborns.

Cast and Characters

Like Vanessa Redgrave narrates Call the Midwife as an older Jenny Lee, Judy Parfitt narrates Midwife Calling as an older Sister Monica Joan.

  • Lizzie Caplan as Nurse Anna Conway
  • Ruth Wilson as Sister Evangeline
  • Rebecca Hall as Nurse Coleen Welch
  • Celia Imrie as Sister Rowena Mary
  • Emily Watson as Sister Monica Joan
  • Peter Davison as Richard "Ricky" Dawes
  • Emily Blunt as Sister Helena
  • Bonnie Wright as Nurse Nancy Collins


Series Number of Episodes Airdate Av. UK Viewership (Millions)
1 8 (+ 1) October 7th 2017 - November 26th 2017 10.61
2 8 (+ 1) October 6th 2018 - November 25th 2017 10.47
3 8 (+ 1) October 5th 2019 - November 24th 2019 10.54

Series 1

Episode Synopsis Airdate
1 Nurse Anna Conway arrives at Nonnatus House for her first day on the job as a midwife, but she struggles to adjust to British life and soon learns that the people of Poplar are very different to that of the socialites of New York City. After the passing of Sister Esther, the motherhouse sends Sister Evangeline to the Nonnatus, an eager and tight-fisted nun who's ready to work. In Poplar, handyman Ricky's daughter goes in to labour with her first child, luckily Sister Monica Joan is on hand to help. October 7th 2017
2 October 14th 2017
3 October 21st 2017
4 October 28th 2017
5 November 5th 2017
6 November 12th 2017
7 November 19th 2017
8 November 26th 2017
Xmas Special December 24th 2017

Series 2

Episode Synopsis Airdate
1 October 6th 2018
2 Ocober 13th 2018
3 October 20th 2018
4 October 27th 2018
5 November 4th 2018
6 November 11th 2018
7 November 18th 2018
8 November 25th 2018
Xmas Special December 24th 2018

Series 3

Episode Synopsis Airdate
1 October 5th 2019
2 October 12th 2019
3 October 19th 2019
4 October 26th 2019
5 November 3rd 2019
6 November 10th 2019
7 November 17th 2019
8 November 24th 2019
Xmas Special December 24th 2019


Critical response

A second series of Midwife Calling was immediately commissioned after the drama's opening episode attracted an audience of nearly 10 million viewers. The second episode increased its audience to 10.47 million, while the third continued the climb to 10.66. Episode 4's rating of 10.89 million overtook Call The Midwife as the largest first series audience for original drama on British television in recent years.

In the United States, the series 1 transmission on PBS drew an average household audience rating of 2.1, translating into 3.0 million viewers – 50 percent above PBS' primetime average for the 2017–18 series.

The winter of 2018 PBS broadcast of the first series of Call the Midwife in the United States received widespread critical acclaim, earning a Metacritic score of 8.0. The Wall Street Journal declared that "this immensely absorbing drama has its pleasures", while The Washington Post stated that "the cast is marvelous, the gritty set pieces are meticulously recreated". TV Guide called the series "a delight to watch", while the San Francisco Chronicle described it as "sentimental, poignant and often heartbreaking".

The second series opened with a record overnight audience of 9.3 million UK viewers, going on to achieve a consolidated series average of 10.47 million viewers. This was almost two million above the slot average, and by some distance the most popular UK drama in every week of transmission. When viewing figures from BBC's iPlayer video streaming service and a narrative repeat were included as part of the BBC Live Plus 7 metric, the total number of viewers per week was found to be almost 12 million.


Midwife Calling won 3 BAFTAs and 2 Emmys for its first series.

Related Media

Call the Midwife

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