There are so many things to love about British television, but holiday specials are one of my favorites (the other being Jennifer Saunders, but that’s a different article altogether). So imagine my delight when I found out that Call the Midwife was returning over Christmas! It’s a holiday miracle!
When we last left Nonnatus House, Trixie had attended her first AA meeting, Fred and Violet got married, and Patsy’s life was shattered when her lover Delia got amnesia from a bike accident. Ugh, that was the worst. Wear your bike helmets, lesbians!
We open with the sisters and midwives cooking Christmas pudding. Sister Monica Joan seem unwell, and let me say this right now: if they kill off Sister MJ I will literally throw my television out the window. That woman is a delight. Please don’t kill her off.
Over at the church, Shelagh and Dr. Turner watch as the children’s choir butchers a holiday song. These kids sound rough. Joining them at the church is Iris, who lost her baby daughter years ago, and since then she’s been cleaning the church and helping out the sisters. Her niece Rosemary is due to give birth to twins.
Did someone call for a depressing storyline?
Later that night, Sister Monica Joan collapses and the Christmas pudding overcooks and explodes all over the kitchen. MJ is feverish and delirious and is immediately put on bed rest. Later on, Barbara, Trixie, and Patsy are writing Christmas cards, and Patsy reveals that she’s sending one to Delia (sob). She’s been writing her letters, but she hasn’t received any response. Later on, Patsy looks at some photos of Delia and is sad.
Whelp, looks like the only thing I’ll be licking this holiday season are these fucking envelopes
Nurse Crane watches over MJ, who refuses to rest in bed and instead keeps talking about her mother and her childhood. Sister Julienne brings her some family heirloom jewelry to cheer her up, because giving valuables to delirious people is always a great idea. Meanwhile, Pastor Tom receives a letter from the BBC: they want to film Poplar’s Christmas services and air them live across the nation! MJ is excited, because now maybe Nonnatus House can get a television set. Guys, Monica Joan loves TV and cake. We’re basically the same person.
However, the sisters of Nonnatus house do not share MJ’s excitement and consider filming in a church to be sacrilegious at worst and tacky at best. With approval from the local bishop, they hesitantly agree to the broadcast, as well as a children’s choir and a nativity scene with a newborn baby. Once they’ve agreed, we meet Mr. Swann, the BBC producer/former child actor who is ready to spruce up the church and the midwives. Swann is not impressed with the dingy, working-class aesthetic of Poplar, and calls Iris “Missus Mop,” which is a real dick move.
I want a show so Christmassy it’ll make Bing Crosby look Jewish!
Shelagh and Iris take it upon themselves to ready the church for the broadcast, so they post fliers for children’s church choir auditions. Meanwhile, MJ is feeling restless and tries to decorate the house for Christmas. She gets shot down because apparently Nonnatus house rules state that decorations can only be put up the week of Christmas. Sister Evangelina gives her shit, too, for her wealthy upbringing and obsession with tinsel. What a Grinch. I’m no expert on religion, but if this poor old lady wants some tinsel and a TV, then maybe let her have it—get her a bouncy castle made of peppermint marshmallows as well!
This tinsel will surely brighten up that gloomy old crucifix!