The BBC today announces further details of Call The Midwife, a major new drama series for BBC One in 2012 by Neal Street Productions.
Based on the best-selling memoirs of the late Jennifer Worth, Call The Midwife is a moving, intimate, funny and, above all, true-to-life look at the colourful stories of midwifery and families in East London in the Fifties. The trilogy of books have become a huge word of mouth phenomenon, selling close to a million copies.
The series was commissioned by Danny Cohen, Controller BBC One, and Ben Stephenson, Controller BBC Drama. It was adapted with the blessing and guidance of Jennifer Worth, who worked closely with Neal Street Productions and screenwriter Heidi Thomas (Upstairs Downstairs, Cranford) up until she passed away earlier this month.
Filming will begin shortly on location in London and will mix exciting new talent with an award-winning cast and crew.
Newcomer Jessica Raine will play the role of the young Jenny, living with a community of nuns and nurses played by Jenny Agutter (The Railway Children, Spooks) as Sister Julienne, Pam Ferris (Little Dorrit, Darling Buds Of May) as Sister Evangelina, Miranda Hart (Miranda) as Chummy and Judy Parfitt (Little Dorrit, Girl With A Pearl Earring) as Sister Monica Joan. Helen George and Bryony Hannah will play Jenny’s fellow young nurses living with her in the convent.
Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama Commissioning, says: “This superb cast of some of our best established and new actresses will bring to life the extraordinary true stories and friendships of midwifery and family in 1950s East End London. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the late Jennifer Worth for both her support and insight on Call The Midwife which I hope will serve as a fantastic tribute to both her life and work.”
Executive producer for Neal Street Productions is Pippa Harris (Revolutionary Road, Stuart: A Life Backwards) with Christopher Aird as executive producer for BBC.
The series will be produced by Hugh Warren (Above Suspicion, Survivors) and directed by Philippa Lowthorpe (Five Daughters) and Jamie Payne (The Hour, Ashes To Ashes). It has been written and executive produced by Heidi Thomas. The production designer is Eve Stewart (The King’s Speech), Chris Seager (The Hour) is the director of photography and Amy Roberts (Upstairs Downstairs) is the costume designer.
Pippa Harris, Executive Producer, Neal Street Productions, says: “Call The Midwife is a fascinating portrayal of birth, life, death and a community on the brink of huge social change. Jennifer was an incredible woman and was as forthright and as opinionated when we were working together as she was when she wrote about her astonishing life. I think viewers will be gripped by her insight into a world that, whilst being only 50 years ago, is so drastically different from how we now live.”