Call the Midwife star Miriam Margolyes detailed uncomfortable Christmas special shoot

Call the Midwife: BBC teases Christmas Day special

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Call the Midwife returns for a festive special on Christmas Day, promising an abundance of drama, romance and births. This particular episode focuses on wedding planning, with Lucille and Cyril, played by Leonie Elliott and Zephryn Taitte respectively, preparing to tie the knot. If the trailer is anything to go by, fans are in for an emotional episode.

The BBC’s official synopsis confirms the return of a fan favourite too. It said: “Series 11 begins with a Christmas special set in December 1966.

“Christmas promises to be a memorable one at Nonnatus House as Lucille and Cyril prepare for their upcoming wedding.

“The Nonnatus team are faced with their busiest Christmas Day ever as the Maternity Home is filled with expectant mums-to-be, each with their own challenging case.

“Luckily Mother Mildred (Miriam Margolyes) is on hand to support the team.”

Ms Margolyes returns to the show after an enforced break due to Covid restrictions preventing her from travelling back to the UK to film the series.

Speaking ahead of her last appearance on the show in 2019, Ms Margolyes recalled the cast running into trouble while shooting some of the scenes.

They had travelled to Scotland in March to film the festive episode, but treacherous weather conditions proved troublesome.

After ten days in the Outer Hebrides, they returned to Surrey for a further two weeks of filming.

Ms Margolyes told at the time: “In the Hebrides, we were extremely cold.

“Extremely freezing, freezing, freezing. It wasn’t the most comfortable of shoots, but it was the most inspiring.”

Jennifer Kirby, who plays Nurse Val, echoed this: “We were definitely cold.

“There was a lot of rain and wind and as it looks on screen as open and remote, that’s exactly how it was. The wind was really whipping across.”

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The cast visited the Callanish Stones, an arrangement of standing stones dating back around 5,000 years to the late Neolithic era.

They had planned to film there, but weather conditions put a stop to that.

Jenny Agutter, who plays Sister Julienne, said: “When we were amongst those standing stones, you could hardly see in front of your own face.

“And then I couldn’t hear Miriam, we were sort of looking at one another to see if the mouths were moving and it was so wet.”

Ahead of this year’s episode, Ms Agutter opened up on working alongside Ms Margolyes. Speaking to Steve Wright on BBC Radio 2, she said: “Miriam is an absolute bundle of joy.

“But she is great fun, totally unpredictable and you never know what is going to be said next.

“She is so completely delightful in this. There is a riveting scene with her reading in this Christmas episode.

“It was just delightful to be a part of that scene and to listen to her and I know the audience will enjoy it.”

Call the Midwife continues to draw in an enormous viewership. The tenth series, which started with the 2020 Christmas special, attracted an average of 8.14 million viewers in the UK.

Speaking about the show’s success, Ms Agutter told BBC Radio 2 she did not initially think it would carry on.

Addressing the serious issues that the show covers, she said: “People think that it’s soft-edged and it’s not.

“It deals with a lot of women’s issues, and it doesn’t leave you feeling like it is all resolved.

“But what it does make you feel is that people cope. They’re part of a community and I think that really is what’s behind it.”

Call the Midwife airs at 8pm on Christmas Day. It will also be available on BBC iPlayer.

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