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EIGHT, ARIZONA PBS TO DELIVER NEW HOLIDAY EPISODE OF CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED DRAMA CALL THE MIDWIFE

Special to air Sunday, Dec. 29 at 6:30 p.m.

PHOENIX -- (December 20, 2013) Eight will unwrap a special treat for viewers this holiday season with the Call the Midwife Holiday Special. Premiering Sunday, December 29, 2013, at 6:30 p.m., the special will pave the way for a third season of the hit drama Call the Midwfie, which returns to Eight on March 30.

In 1958 East End London, the holidays are not just about the opening of presents, but also about the closing of deep wounds. Although the weather is unseasonably mild for this time of year, the lives of the midwives are anything but calm. Jenny’s relationship with Alec continues to blossom and Shelagh’s (formerly Sister Bernadette) quiet wedding to Dr. Turner is underway. When a thousand-pound explosive is discovered, the district is evacuated and the Nonnatus House team is quick to take charge to ensure that the community is safe and warm. Always one to keep spirits high, Chummy decides to forge ahead with the Cubs Christmas party. However, just when the community’s holiday spirit is renewed, Poplar faces an outbreak of polio, with the repercussions of the illness affecting the nurses and nuns more than they could have ever imagined.

“Viewers have been anxiously awaiting the return of Call the Midwife and we’re thrilled to be able to bring fans this holiday special in the run-up to the season 3 premiere this spring,” said Eight, Arizona PBS Associate General Manager of Content Nancy Southgate.  “We’re excited to see what the holidays have in store for our friends at Nonnatus House.”

Call the Midwfiecompleted its second season run in the U.S. in May 2013. The first series was the biggest new drama on BBC One in more than a decade, and the second season averaged a consolidated viewership of over 10 million in the U.K. Call the Midwife has won accolades across the industry in the UK including 2013 BAFTA Craft awards for director Philippa Lowthorpe and Christine Walmesley-Cotham for Make Up and Hair Design and ‘Best Actress’ for Miranda Hart at the National Television Awards this year. Audiences and critics in the U.S. were equally effusive, with Season 2 scoring 58 percent above the 2012-2013 season-to-date primetime average. 

Based on the best-selling memoirs of Jennifer Worth,Call the Midwfieis a moving and intimate story of midwifery in London’s East End in the 1950s. Season 3 takes viewers back to East London, now in 1959 and the eve of the Swinging Sixties. The winds of change are sweeping through the country and the residents of Nonnatus House face some momentous changes of their own.

Written by Heidi Thomas (“Cranford,” “Upstairs Downstairs”) and directed by a line-up of all female directors including, for the first time, Thea Sharrock (“The Hollow Crown: Henry V”) and Juliet May (“Miranda,” “Scott and Bailey,” “Stella”),Call the Midwfieis a Neal Street production for BBC and PBS. The series is executive produced by Pippa Harris (Revolutionary Road, “The Hollow Crown”) and Heidi Thomas, and produced by Hugh Warren (“Survivors”).

Call the Midwfiestars Jessica Raine as Jenny Lee, along with 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) 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. Vanessa Redgrave provides the voice of the mature Jenny.

About Eight, Arizona PBS

Eight, Arizona PBS is a trusted community resource. For 50 years, the PBS station has focused on educating children, reporting in-depth on public affairs, fostering lifelong learning and celebrating arts and culture. Eight achieves its mission through the power of noncommercial television, the Internet, educational outreach and community-based initiatives. Its signal reaches 86 percent of the homes in Arizona. With more than 1 million viewers weekly, Eight consistently ranks among the most-viewed public television stations per capita in the country. For more information, visit azpbs.org.

Eight is a member-supported service of Arizona State University.