‘Nobody's going to watch’ Call the Midwife boss on BBC’s ‘lukewarm’ rejection of series

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‘Nobody's going to watch’ Call the Midwife boss on BBC’s ‘lukewarm’ rejection of series

Call the Midwife first began in 2012 and has been a hit with BBC viewers ever since, with the upcoming 12th series around the corner. Writer and pr

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Call the Midwife first began in 2012 and has been a hit with BBC viewers ever since, with the upcoming 12th series around the corner. Writer and producer Heidi Thomas has continued to explore gripping storylines, which have included illegal abortions, the thalidomide crisis and most recently, the horrific train crash. However, she recently opened up about the reason for wanting to create the series and admitted the initial reaction from BBC executives was “lukewarm”.

The hit series is based on the memoirs of Jennifer Worth, a story following a 22-year-old Jenny, who in 1957 left her comfortable home to become a midwife in London’s East End.

When speaking about what made Heidi think about turning Jennifer’s story into a series, she admitted: “I had known Pippa (Harris) for a few years, we did our very first jobs in TV together, when Pippa sent me the book I was immediately alert.

“Pippa has brilliant ideas, and I always trust her judgement, it took me a few weeks to read the book, she said, ‘If you’re not going to read it, send it back but do read it.’

“I read it, and a few pages in, I was completely beguiled by this world, it was a world I hadn’t read about before, and it was a world where you literally went into a room, behind a door you have never been too before which was the delivery room.

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“I was just captivated by the idea of making it a television drama that could do that and go into these different places, and I said to Stephen when I first read the book, I said, ‘Do you know what? I think I could do something with this and here we are.

“It was just a book you couldn’t pick up and open without feeling embraced by it, and we always try to conjure up that feeling through the show.”

During the BFI and Radio Times Television Festival. Heidi went on to reveal that the BBC weren’t keen on her initial idea for the series.

Pippa explained: “I would say it was a bit lukewarm, to be honest, we did a sterling pitch about the nuns, and the bicycles and the midwifery, and they kind of gave us a blank look.

“But there was a change in the controller, and the new controller almost immediately said, ‘Yes, this sounds like something that we want to get our eyes on.'”

Heidi continued: “We expected it to be a flop, we were certainly told that it would only attract a small audience, and I do remember somebody at the BBC saying, ‘Nobody is going to watch this.’

“I thought, ‘Nobody?’ And they said, ‘Well men’ and I said, ‘Men aren’t everyone’. We have spent about 12 years proving men aren’t everybody.

“We have a lot of male fans, and I think we appeal to men and women in different ways, and I think that is what drama should be about.”

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Season 11 ended in February and concluded with an explosive finale that included the aftermath of the devastating train crash.

Sadly, there were two fatalities which saw Lionel Corbett (played by Marc Elliot) and Dorothy Carnie (Stephenie Jacob), lose their lives on the train.

Sister Julienne (Jenny Agutter) and Dr Turner (Stephen McGann) were also involved in the crash but luckily came away with minimal injuries.

She was left with some broken ribs, but Timothy Turner (Max Macmillan) thought it best to send her to the hospital over fears she had a heart attack.



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