By Amy Hunt
If you're anything like us in the w&h office, you'll have been waiting with bated breath for the return of the ever-fabulous Call the Midwife.
The iconic BBC One series had been away from screens for months, before returning during the festive period for their much-anticipated Christmas episode.
The December 25th installment saw the midwives battling some rather unusual circumstances in the Outer Hebrides.
So what exactly is going to happen in season nine of the beloved period drama, and when does it all kick off?
When does Call the Midwife season nine start?
Season nine has already begun, with the first episode airing on Sunday 5th January.
In usual Call the Midwife fashion, it was a rather dramatic return back to Poplar, with an outbreak of diptheria in the London borough.
During the episode, fan favourite Fred Buckle, played by Cliff Parisi, kicked off a rather emotional storyline, after finding a baby abandoned by a dustbin near Nonnatus House. Although the baby's mother, Brenda, swiftly came forward to care for her newborn, the plot ended in both Brenda and a series regular leaving Poplar to live at The Mother House, in Birmingham.
Mother Mildred, played by Miriam Margolyes, left the show in the first episode, to much disappointment from viewers.
It's not yet been confirmed whether the actor has left the show for good - we'll have to keep watching to find out if she returns...
What is Call the Midwife season nine about?
This series of Call the Midwife begins in 1965, and according to the BBC, it is a time of huge social change in London, and the UK.
The year begins with the death of former Prime Minister Winston Churchill, with a huge state funeral in the capital taking place at the end of January.
Heidi Thomas, Call the Midwife creator, revealed, "[In season nine], we return to the harsher reality of city life in 1965. Society is changing fast and in series nine we will see Nonnatus House shaken to its foundations.”
The BBC also shared some thoughts on the new season, saying in a statement, “As the tower blocks multiply, and a new East End rises from the ashes of the old, society becomes more prosperous, but more complex.
"Our familiar team of medics and midwives face unexpected challenges as the population shifts, rules change, and old diseases come back to haunt them. Meanwhile, their own experiences are fuelled by love, loss, and doubt."
This season, Nonnatus House will also be under threat of demolition, much to the horror of the midwives and nuns who call it home.
In season nine, the show will also be exploring many real-life medical issues, a facet of the show for which they have become well known. According to reports, this series will see the midwives tackling issues such as cancer, fistula, tuberculosis, and drug abuse. In episode one, the ladies of Nonnatus House also dealt with a scary case of diptheria.
It's not yet known how these health issues will be played out in the series, nor who they will affect. But it seems set to be another thought-provoking and emotional set of episodes.
The programme has earnt itself a well-deserved reputation for tackling these difficult and time-appropriate health subjects sensitively and accurately throughout all seven seasons so far, including the very real thalidomide storyline in season six, and Sister Mary Cynthia's mental health story in seasons five and six.
Who is starring in Call the Midwife season nine?
While episode one saw us saying goodbye to Miriam Margolyes, it doesn't look as if we'll have to deal with any other heartbreaking character departures in season nine.
All the old favourites will be returning for season nine, including Helen George as Nurse Trixie, Judy Parfitt as Sister Monica Joan, Jenny Agutter as Sister Julienne, Jennifer Kirby as Nurse Valerie, Linda Bassett as Nurse Crane, Leonie Elliott as Lucille, and Laura Main and Stephen McGann as the Turners, amongst others.
Heidi Thomas also revealed that there will be no new character additions, alongside the regular cast members.
She said, “In series nine there’s nobody new. The cast has been very stable, which is nice because I get to know them all well. And they are like a family.”
How many episodes of Call the Midwife season nine will there be?
There are set to be eight episodes in total in series nine, with seven left to air after last Sunday's episode.
Almost all seasons of Call the Midwife have had the same number of episodes.
It's then likely that there will be a Christmas episode at the end of 2020, to kick off the next season.
How many more seasons will there be of Call the Midwife?
The show has been going since 2012 (can you believe it?), and thankfully, it's not set to end anytime yet.
The BBC have confirmed that there will be a series ten and 11 of the show, meaning the programme will be there for us to enjoy for at least another two years.
Beyond that, no news has been confirmed, but it's great to know that we can look forward to two more seasons yet.
Amy Hunt is Life Channel Editor at womanandhome.com, having been with the brand since 2015. She began as the magazine's features assistant before moving over to digital as a News and Features Writer, before becoming Senior Writer, and now a Channel Editor. She has worked on either women's lifestyle websites previously too—including Woman's Weekly, Goodto.com, Woman, and Woman's Own. In 2019, Amy won the Digital Journalist of the Year award at the AOP Awards, for her work on womanandhome.com. She is passionate about everything from books, to homes, to food and the latest news on the royal family. When she isn't editing or updating articles on cleaning, homewares, the newest home gadgets, or the latest books releases for the website, she's busy burying her nose in a gripping thriller, practising yoga, or buying new homeware of her own.
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