BBC One has handed out an early sixth season renewal to hit period drama Call The Midwife, TVWise has learned. The renewal, which comes more than a months before the fifth season is set to premiere, is for a Christmas Special in 2016 and 8 episodes, which will air in early 2017.
“BBC One is very proud to be the home of Call The Midwife”, said BBC One Controller Charlotte Moore, who commissioned the sixth season alongside the BBC’s Controller of Drama Commissioning Polly Hill. “Its unrelenting quality and ambition has made it the most-watched drama series of the year and I’ve just committed to a sixth series in 2017.”
Call The Midwife is based on the memoirs of Jennifer Worth, who was a district midwife in London’s east end during the 1950′s and stars Jenny Agutter, Pam Ferris, Miranda Hart, Judy Parfitt, Helen George, Bryony Hannah, Laura Main, Cliff Parisi, Charlotte Ritchie and Linda Bassett. The drama series is produced by Neal Street Productions, with Pippa Harris and Elizabeth Kilgarriff serving as the executive producers.
The period drama has been a ratings hit since it launched in 2012, when the first season debuted as the channel’s highest rated launch in more than a decade. Since then, every single season has averaged more than 10 million viewers. It also remains a big seller for BBC Worldwide, with PBS in the United States already signed on for both the fifth and sixth seasons. This marks the second year in a row that Call The Midwife has earned an early renewal, with BBC One ordering the fifth season last November, several months before the fourth season aired on the channel.
“I am delighted that the BBC has decided to commission series six of Call The Midwife even before we have gone on air with series five! It really demonstrates their commitment to and passion for the show”, added Neal Street Productions’ Pippa Harris. “The ongoing success of Call The Midwife is down to the incredible writing skills of Heidi Thomas and the talent and dedication of our wonderful cast and crew. I hope the audience will enjoy watching series five, which I firmly believe is our strongest yet.”