Really, it is a polished soap, tackling issues with care and tact. The final episode of the series featured storylines including a woman who had volunteered to have a baby for her childless sister, only for the sister to back out when she learned that the baby had Down’s syndrome; and a young mother living in such awful slum conditions that a rat popped up in the crib.
This second scenario produced the kind of wince-making dialogue that we must accept as part of the Call the Midwife experience, as one of the sisters lamented that living conditions in those buildings had long been terrible, and Nurse Trixie (Helen George) said: “I had to Elastoplast a Coco Pops packet over a broken window last week. It isn’t progress just because we’re using brand names.”
But it remains one of the most reliable shows on television, with an essential goodness at its heart. If that goodness occasionally seems unrealistic – is there a more saintly figure than Dr Turner (Stephen McGann), and would the nuns of Nonnatus House really be so accepting of a single mother who had just broken her daughter out of an orphanage – then so be it. There are worse crimes.