PBS and BBC Worldwide North America Sign Deal to Bring Fourth Season of "CALL THE MIDWIFE" to U.S.
New Season Premieres Sunday, March 29, 2015 on PBS
- Hit British Series From Neal Street Productions Continues to Draw Strong U.S. Audience; Ratings Continue to Grow, Solidifying PBS as a Destination for Drama -
- Special Holiday Episode Airs Sunday, December 28, 2014 -
BEVERLY HILLS, CA; July 22, 2014 -- BBC Worldwide North America Sales & Co-productions, PBS and Neal Street Productions announced today at the PBS portion of the Television Critics Association Press Tour that the hit British drama CALL THE MIDWIFE will return to PBS for a fourth season. Premiering on Sunday, March 29, 2015 at 8:00 p.m. ET, CALL THE MIDWIFE (Season 4) will lead into new MASTERPIECE drama content (to be announced), reinforcing Sunday nights on PBS as a top destination for quality drama.
Season 3 of CALL THE MIDWIFE drew an average household audience rating of 2.5, translating into 3.6 million viewers, and the series saw an overall growth of 20 percent since its season one debut. Audiences can expect a mixture of laughter and tears this time around, along with new faces and captivating, emotional stories celebrating the people of Poplar and the much-loved residents of Nonnatus House. With the different times come new and exciting challenges for the team at Nonnatus House. Will the nuns and midwives hold onto their traditional values in a rapidly changing world?
"CALL THE MIDWIFE is a heartwarming journey that has also been a tremendous success for PBS, and we look forward to a remarkable Season 4," said Beth Hoppe, Chief Programming Executive and General Manager, General Audience Programming, PBS. "CALL THE MIDWIFE has played a major role in cementing PBS as a destination for drama on Sunday nights, and we are pleased the relationship with our BBC and Neal Street partners will continue with gripping new stories on Season 4."
Jennifer Worth's memoirs, which inspired the TV series, have been carefully supplemented by original material from Heidi Thomas, based on new historical research and the testimony of other midwives, nuns and nurses working during this period. Vanessa Redgrave will return as series narrator mirroring the actual, life-long friendship which continued between Jennifer Worth and the residents of Nonnatus House. The rest of the house's well-loved regular characters also return for Season 4, as do the recently introduced Patsy and Sister Winifred.
Pippa Harris, executive producer for Neal Street Productions, said: "We are delighted to see CALL THE MIDWIFE continue for a fourth season and we are so proud of its growth both in the U.S. and U.K. We are excited to introduce audiences to two new characters, Nurse Phyllis Crane and Nurse Barbara Gilbert, who we know they will come to love just as much as the familiar faces they have bonded with over the past three seasons."
Heidi Thomas, creator, writer and executive producer of the series said: "I am beyond thrilled that the U.S. audience loves CALL THE MIDWIFE. The positive response from viewers truly warms my heart, and it is incredible to see how fans are inspired by the characters and the stories depicted just as much as I am."
Matt Forde, EVP, sales & co-productions for BBC Worldwide North America said: "The success of CALL THE MIDWIFE both overseas and in the states has been truly remarkable. Heidi and the talented team have brought some incredibly wonderful stories to life and we are looking forward to a riveting and successful fourth season."
Fans can look forward to a new holiday episode to bide their time until the Season 4 premiere. Special guest star Vanessa Redgrave will appear as the mature Jennifer Worth on screen for the first time. The CALL THE MIDWIFE HOLIDAY SPECIAL airs Sunday, December 28, 2014, 7:30-9:00 p.m. ET on PBS.
The first season of CALL THE MIDWIFE was the biggest new drama on BBC One in more than a decade, and the second season averaged a consolidated viewership of more than 10 million in the U.K. CALL THE MIDWIFE completed its third season run in the U.S. in May 2014 and audiences and critics in the U.S. were equally effusive, with Season 3 breaking the top ten spot in ratings on PBS and scoring 66 percent above the 2013-2014 season-to-date primetime average.
CALL THE MIDWIFE stars Jenny Agutter ("The Railway Children," "Spooks") as Sister Julienne, Pam Ferris ("Little Dorrit," "Darling Buds of May") as Sister Evangelina, Miranda Hart ("Miranda") as Chummy, Judy Parfitt ("Little Dorrit," Girl With a Pearl Earring), who was nominated for a 2013 Satellite Award for her work as Sister Monica Joan, Helen George ("Hollyoaks," "Doctors") as Trixie Franklin, Bryony Hannah (Cemetery Junction) as Cynthia Miller, Laura Main ("Monarch of the Glen") as Shelagh and Cliff Parisi ("EastEnders") as Fred. Joining the regular cast as well are Linda Bassett ("East Is East," "Lark Rise To Candleford") as Nurse Phyllis Crane and Charlotte Ritchie ("Life Of Riley," "Fresh Meat") as Nurse Barbara Gilbert. Vanessa Redgrave provides the voice of the mature Jennifer Worth.
CALL THE MIDWIFE is created and written by Heidi Thomas; Executive Producers are Pippa Harris and Heidi Thomas. The series is a Neal Street Production for BBC/PBS.
CALL THE MIDWIFE (Season 4) full episodes will be available for viewing on the PBS Video Portal for a limited time after each national broadcast.
CALL THE MIDWIFE contains mature content that may not be suitable for all audiences. Viewer discretion is advised. Rated TV-14.
CALL THE MIDWIFE (Season 4) will come in 2015 to DVD & Blu-ray. Seasons 1-3 are now available on DVD and Blu-ray on shopPBS.org. Additional items, including Jennifer Worth's memoirs, published by Penguin Books, and The Life and Times of Call the Midwife, published by Harper Collins, are also available.
About BBC Worldwide North America Sales and Co-Productions
BBC Worldwide North America Sales & Distribution is one of five core businesses operating in the U.S. under BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm and wholly-owned subsidiary of the UK public service broadcaster, BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation). BBC Worldwide exists to maximize the value of the BBC's assets for the benefit of the UK license payer and invests in programming in return for rights. The Sales & Distribution business negotiates, sells and distributes television programs to networks and secures co-production partners in the region.
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About Neal Street Productions
Neal Street Productions was formed in 2003 by Sam Mendes, Pippa Harris and Caro Newling. The company has been successful in film, theatre and television with hit movies including Revolutionary Road, Jarhead and Starter for 10. Their diverse television slate includes the award-winning "Stuart A Life Backwards," with Tom Hardy and Benedict Cumberbatch, and the hugely successful "Call the Midwife", a ratings smash hit which, after three extremely successful series and two Christmas Specials, returns to screens this year in the UK and US with another Christmas special, plus a further series early in 2015 They debuted their latest TV show, "Penny Dreadful," on Showtime in the US, and on Sky Atlantic this year to critical acclaim. The psychosexual TV horror series written by John Logan, starred Josh Hartnett, Eva Green, Timothy Dalton and Rory Kinnear. Neal Street also produced the critically acclaimed and award-winning "The Hollow Crown" - a series of Shakespeare films for the BBC/PBS - starring Ben Whishaw, Tom Hiddleston and Jeremy Irons, and is due to start production on a second series of Shakespeare History plays, starting with Richard III starring Benedict Cumberbatch in the lead role. Nicolas Brown joined Neal Street as a Company Director in 2013, to work across the film and TV portfolio. On the theatre side, they have produced The Bridge Project, Shrek the Musical and the West End musical of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, directed by Sam Mendes.