BBC One drama Call The Midwife will return to the channel earlier than expected with a Christmas Special.

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The 1950s drama, based on the memoirs of Jennifer Worth, has been given a Christmas Special by the BBC following its successful first series. The drama, starring Pam Ferris, Jenny Agutter, Miranda Hart and Jessica Raine, attracted huge ratings to BBC One earlier this year. Call the Midwife quickly became the most successful new drama to launch on BBC One since records began with ratings soaring over 11 million viewers and denting Dancing on Ice and Wild at Heart (recently axed) on ITV1.

After just two episodes the BBC re-commissioned Call the Midwife for a second season and yesterday they announced it will be back at Christmas for a special edition. BBC’s drama controller Ben Stephenson said ‘Following its huge success, we simply couldn’t resist treating audiences to a Call the Midwife special this year – our Christmas present for all BBC One viewers.’

The drama was adapted for television by Heidi Thomas who also successfully adapted Cranford for the corporation. Thomas’ revival of Upstairs Downstairs proved slightly less successful though as the BBC axed it after two seasons to much protest from fans. The BBC’s commissioning of a Christmas Special for Call the Midwife may prompt some speculation over its scheduling and whether or not the BBC will place it against Downton Abbey on ITV1….

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