Call the Midwife Special review – it wouldn’t be Christmas without this slyly majestic drama
The rousing, touching postwar childbirth drama has reached 1967 and is now so familiar it feels as if it’s been on air ever since. Prepare to be moved
There is something admirably stoic about British television’s refusal to budge on to its beloved Christmas TV schedules. On BBC One on 25 December, it’s Strictly, EastEnders, Mrs Brown’s Boys and Call the Midwife, and you’ll get what you’re given, so shut up and be grateful. Much like each family’s rules for the correct time to open gifts (morning, obviously, you afternoon monsters), there is no room for compromise. You’ll get dancing, you’ll get a female impersonator, you’ll probably get a soap opera wedding the day after an ill-advised Christmas Eve stag do. And whether you like it or not, you will get some mildly traumatic childbirth nestled inside a sneakily socialist message about the importance of social care and well-run, well-funded public institutions.
There are far worse traditions than Call the Midwife, which has reached December 1967, and is only just starting to feel as if it has been on telly since then. It barely bothers trying to bring in any more newcomers, assuming that if you’re watching, you’ll know exactly what Trixie has been up to in Portofino, and why it’s nice to see Rhoda Mullucks and the Mullucks family back in the care of Dr Turner. But even without prior knowledge of Poplar’s social scene, this is about as lovely and comforting as TV gets.