It’s the TV show that critics said ‘no-one’ would ever watch. But Call the Midwife is now laughing in the face of its initially poor reviews as the pre-watershed drama, set mainly in a convent, storms up the ratings charts.
But gaining rave reviews, and an average pull of 8.7 million loyal viewers, isn’t the only effect that the programme is having.
Creator of the show, Heidi Thomas, told the Sun: “We have shone a light on the profession and it has been really well received. Applications to study midwifery have gone up and we are very proud of that.”
Would-be-midwives are now applying for courses in their droves. According to UCAS, there was a 17 per cent rise in students seeking to learn midwifery in Britain last year.
Dr Val Collington, head of midwifery and child health at Kingston University and St George’s, University of London, told the Telegraph: “Although television can sometimes paint a slightly misleading picture of the career, it can help give a flavour of what the job entails and some of the rewards and challenges midwives face.”
It is a triumph in the face of adversity for the show’s creator.
“Everyone said, ‘Nobody will watch this show’,” Thomas continues, “They said, ‘Men won’t watch it. Young people won’t watch it and pregnant women will be frightened by it’… so that didn’t leave a very big audience. But thankfully, they were wrong.”
Call the Midwife returns to our screens on BBC1 Sunday 20 January at 8pm.