Belfast Telegraph

Midwives leave wintry UK behind as they spend Christmas in South Africa

Call The Midwife is leaving behind Christmas trees, mince pies and snowy scenes this year in favour of a hot climate for its festive special.

The hit BBC period drama about a convent and the midwives associated with it headed for South Africa to film a one-off episode where the characters try to save a beleaguered local hospital.

Sister Julienne (Jenny Agutter) gets an urgent call to come and help out at the understaffed medical centre just as the convent are settling down for a traditional Christmas, and so off they troop to lend a hand with polio vaccinations as well as deliveries.

The group encounters the terrible divisions of Apartheid in the 1960s-set drama, while Trixie (Helen George), who is now sober, gets the chance to prove her midwifery skills in the face of a potential tragedy.

George said: "It was really special being out there as a group, it was a really lovely bonding experience and really nice to work in a country and not just visit on a holiday.

"To get to know it from the ground up and to get know crew members of varying cultural backgrounds - so you really get to know the politics of the country and the state of the country in a way that you don't get when you just go and stay in a fancy hotel."

:: Call The Midwife airs Sunday on BBC1 at 8pm.

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