Call the Midwife to feature ‘heartbreaking’ new backstreet abortion story, reveals Helen George

Call the Midwife star Helen George as Trixie
(Image credit: BBC/Neal Street Productions/Nick)

Helen George speaks about Sunday’s episode, which sees Trixie’s pal forced to take drastic action… with appalling consequences

Call the Midwife had a massive response to their backstreet abortion plot earlier this series and the BBC1 drama will revisit the topic in a tragic new storyline in this Sunday’s episode.

Nurse Trixie Franklin (Helen George) holds one of her famous exercises classes and her pal Jeannie Tennant is her star pupil.But mother-of-two Jeannie then takes a funny turn and Dr Turner (Stephen McGann) reveals that she’s pregnant again.

Call the Midwife

(Image credit: BBC/Neal Street Productions)

Jeannie (Molly Chesworth) doesn’t believe she can cope with a third child and asks for a termination.

“Jeannie, a young married mum, is pregnant but doesn’t want anymore children,” explains Helen George, who plays Trixie.

However, of course this is 1964 and abortion is still illegal, except in life-or-death circumstances, so Dr Turner refuses her request. And, although Trixie and the rest of the midwives, would love to help, there's nothing they can do.

“Trixie’s her friend so it’s heartbreaking, but the midwives feel helpless as their hands are tied by the law,” adds Helen, who spoke to TV Times.

Desperate and with nowhere apparently to turn, Jeannie ends up taking matters into her own hands and the result is tragic in this Sunday’s episode.

Call the Midwife Jeannie Tennant

(Image credit: BBC/Neal Street Productions)

Talking about how the show was tackling the subject of abortion, Helen says: “We look at the legal and medical arguments from every point of view and let the viewer decide. There’s a taboo still, so it’s an interesting debate.”

Jennifer Kirby, who plays Valerie, adds, "The midwives feel a duty of care for these women - it's unsafe and the law puts women in danger. We've been in tears filming and feel so deeply about it. This series has already opened up more conversation, which we're pleased about. I love that Call the Midwife never shies away from difficult subjects."

Viewers were moved to tears earlier in the series when Cath (Emily Barber) was seen in huge distress following an illegal abortion in the first episode.

Call the Midwife continues on BBC1 this Sunday at 8pm

David Hollingsworth has over 20 years of experience in television journalism and is the UK Managing Editor for WhatToWatch.

Before working for WhatToWatch, David was on both Whatsontv and, for many years, TV Times magazine, interviewing some of television's most famous stars including Hollywood actor Kiefer Sutherland, singer Lionel Richie, and wildlife legend Sir David Attenborough. David started out as a writer on TV Times before becoming the title's deputy features editor and then features editor. During his time on TV Times, David also helped run the annual TV Times Awards, once presenting an award to Hollywood star Lily James.