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TV Review: Call the Midwife 2016 Christmas Special

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For most of us, Christmas is a time for stuffing our faces, giving and receiving presents and falling asleep in front of The Vicar of Dibley into a turkey-induced coma. So much so that we often forget those less fortunate than ourselves, whose experience of Christmas is very different to our own. 

This is where the nurses and nuns of Nonnatus House come in. Although not quite as festive as I had originally hoped, the 2016 Call the Midwife Christmas special reminded people like me to think of those less fortunate at Christmas.

There were the usual poignant tales of heroic women in childbirth who suffer great losses, and the nurses who rush to their aid and save the day. However, this year the writers pulled out all the stops, as the nuns and midwives headed to Cape Town to rescue Hope Clinic, a medical facility in desperate need of their assistance. 

In true Call the Midwife fashion, there were several nail-biting procedures, including an emergency Caesarian performed by midwives and a toe-curling treatment for a tumourous form of liver disease. Heartbreak was also a strong element, as issues such as phantom pregnancies and miscarriage were explored, which is never an easy part of the series to come to terms with - even five series in! 

In addition to these stock stories of the programme, a historical element was touched upon, as the episode explored the effects of apartheid in the 1960s. Racial segregation and poverty were heavily featured in this era as the Brits felt uncomfortbale sunning themselves on a 'whites only' beach, and returned to their privileged lives back in England - but only after ensuring that the locals' quality of life was steadily improved before they headed off. 

The absence of some much-loved characters was felt, such as Sister Evangelina - whose death in the latest series devastated audiences as Pam Ferris headed into retirement from acting - and Chummy, the beloved character played by Miranda Hart, whose return I am still anxiously awaiting. 

The backdrop of South African scenery was stunning, and hopefully only a hint of more elaborate settings for future Christmas specials, as it has just been announced that the programme will continue for a further three series thanks to its enormous popularity with the British public. 

There's also romance in the air - without spoiling, look out for an exciting development towards the end of the 94-minute episode. 

Although not quite as festive as I was at first expecting, Call the Midwife's Christmas special encompassed all of the reasons why we as a nation love it so much - heartwarming stories full of hope and courage, life lessons from the past, and a pinch of danger and excitement. 

Call The Midwife is available to catch-up on BBC iPlayer for a limited time. 




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