The Radio Times was spot on when they recently described the BBC’s most watched drama series in over 10 years, Call the Midwife, by saying, “…in spite of only having one six-episode series so far, the tear-jerking drama about a group of midwives in 1950s East London already feels like a TV staple.” It’s no different in the States. Call the Midwife’s short six-week run this past Fall on PBS ran a close second from an audience response standpoint to that little series, we call, Downton Abbey.
Tonight’s broadcast of the Call the Midwife Christmas Special on PBS is exciting for two reasons. The first, it marks the return of Jenny Lee (Jessica Raine), Chummy Browne (Miranda Hart), Sister Julienne (Jenny Agutter), Sister Evangelina (Pam Ferris) and Sister Monica Joan (Judy Parfitt). The second is that it comes a mere five days following the BBC One broadcast on Christmas Day. As U.S. viewers have waited patiently (?) for several months since the UK conclusion of series 3 of Downton Abbey for it to premiere next Sunday (January 6), this bodes well for some potential changes in the closing of the window between UK broadcast and U.S. premieres on PBS in the future. While there are numerous logistical hurdles to overcome, tonights broadcast of the Call the Midwife Christmas Special gives us hope that we could see series 4 as soon as Fall 2013 which would coincide with the UK broadcast on ITV.
The other exciting thing for Call the Midwife fans is that the second series is set to premiere on BBC One in early 2013 with a March 31, 2013 premiere on PBS at 8pET/7pCT leading in to the premiere of Mr. Selfridge, part of PBS’ Masterpiece series.
As we mentioned yesterday, 2013 is shaping up to be a great year for drama on both sides of the pond and Call the Midwife kicks it off tonight on PBS.