The popular drama Call the Midwife debuts its fourth season in America on PBS tonight (the BBC has also commissioned a fifth season, which is expected to air in 2016).
Continuing to be inspired by the memoirs of Jennifer Worth, Midwife finds its main characters — the nurses, midwives and nuns from Nonnatus House, and the poor community members whom they serve — entering the 1960s. The new season will see the introduction of a couple of new nurses, Barbara Gilbert (Charlotte Ritchie) and Phyllis Crane (Linda Bassett), both of whom don’t make the greatest of first impressions. Jessica Raine, who had played midwife Jenny Lee for the first three seasons, has quit the show to pursue a Hollywood career, England’s Daily Mail reported. However, Vanessa Redgrave is still on board as the voice of the mature Jenny.
Call the Midwife Season 4 Episode Summaries. Episodes Air At 8pm ET. Descriptions From PBS:
Episode 1 (March 29)
Nurse Barbara Gilbert arrives at Nonnatus and, after a disastrous start, earns the respect of her colleagues by helping a new mother overcome difficulties. Trixie (Helen George) faces one of the most emotionally draining cases of her career, and the Turners broker a domestic deal that breaks the mold for the 1950s and 60s. Sister Evangelina (Pam Ferris) finally agrees to undergo tests for her abdominal pain.
Episode 2 (April 5)
Two things become clear: new nurse Phyllis Crane is not going to fit in easily and Sister Julienne (Jenny Agutter) and a prospective benefactor knew each other many years ago. Meanwhile, everyone involved in a difficult birth is overwhelmed by the outcome, Patsy (Emerald Fennell) is poised to take over as scout leader and Tom (Jack Ashton) dampens Trixie’s plans for an extravagant engagement party.
Episode 3 (April 12)
A mother’s life is turned upside down when her husband is arrested for gross indecency with a man. After Nurse Crane meets a clearly malnourished pregnant woman, a home visit reveals that she has given a false address and seems to have disappeared. Trixie is delighted when Tom asks her to oversee an official church duty. At Nonnatus House, Sister Monica Joan (Judy Parfitt) deliberately undermines Fred’s (Cliff Parisi) attempts to bring a rat infestation under control.
Episode 4 (April 19)
Sister Winifred’s (Victoria Yeates) eyes are opened to Poplar’s seedy underworld when she cares for an expectant prostitute. Meanwhile, Barbara struggles to understand why an expectant father would put undue pressure on his wife to bear a son, and Sister Monica Joan feels redundant as the busy midwives go about their work. The bishop’s meeting with Tom leads to an argument between Trixie and Tom.
Episode 5 (April 26)
Sister Julienne questions the nature of absolute faith when she meets a Christian Scientist couple who refuse medicine for their newborn. Things become more complex when they’re accused of harming their child. Meanwhile, Barbara tries to communicate with a pregnant woman who can’t speak English. Using the woman’s young son to translate presents a new set of problems. Sister Mary Cynthia returns, and Fred meets a woman who catches his eye.
Episode 6 (May 3)
A secret romance faces heartbreak when teenager Paulette becomes pregnant, a situation complicated by her diabetes and her boyfriend’s criminal past. Nurse Crane helps support the young couple, but Paulette’s life is endangered when the two run off together. Meanwhile, a group of itinerants comes to the attention of the Nonnatus team when Sergeant Noakes (Ben Caplan) accuses them of theft. The midwives are drawn into their closed world when they treat a newborn. Patsy organizes a fundraising square dance, to which Fred asks Violet on a date.
Episode 7 (May 10)
Shirley and Marion, each pregnant with her first child, meet again. The old school friends are now worlds apart, but are brought together later in an unexpected way. Elsewhere, Barbara makes a revolutionary suggestion to help Sister Mary Cynthia’s bedsore patient, Tommy. However, it turns out that his wife, Gert, most needs care. The love between Tommy and Gert makes Fred think about taking the next step with Violet.
Episode 8 (May 17)
Trixie and Sister Mary Cynthia team up to support a deaf mother-to-be, while a case of morning sickness proves more serious than initially suspected. Elsewhere, Fred’s daughter is less than delighted about his forthcoming wedding.
Call the Midwife airs Sundays at 8pm ET on PBS beginning March 29.
Photo courtesy of Laurence Cendrowicz/© Neal Street Productions