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LONDON — The third season of hit BBC drama Call the Midwife is moving to a fresh studio and all eight episodes will be directed by women.
Neal Street productions, the banner set up by Sam Mendes, Pippa Harris and Caro Newling, is shooting a Christmas special of the 1950s period show and prepping for season three.
Written and created by Heidi Thomas, the third season continues shooting on location at the historic Chatham dockyard but has switched its studio base to Chertsey, Surrey, from its previous Mill Hill site.
Based on the best-selling memoirs of the late Jennifer Worth, the medical drama details the ups and downs of a group of women who work in the British capital’s East End in the 1950s.
The third season, by happy accident rather than design, is to be directed by an all-female lineup, with stage and TV director Thea Sharrock (The Hollow Crown: Henry V, stage production Equus) and Juliet May (Miranda, Scott and Bailey, Stella) joining the TV show’s production roster for the first time.
Returning to shoot episodes will be China Moo-Young and Minkie Spiro.
At this year’s BAFTA craft awards, previous lead director Philippa Lowthorpe was the first ever woman to win the direction-Fiction/Entertainment award for the show.
Neal Street’s Harris, wearing her executive producer hat, said: “I am very proud of the continued popularity of the show and how series two was so warmly received by the audience. Its success is down to the insightful writing of Heidi Thomas and to our fantastic crew and cast who I am thrilled are returning for series three to enjoy the dawn of the swinging sixties.”
The first two seasons of the show aired on PBS with the show’s first outing laying claim to a fifty percent ratings boost in the slot.
The holiday special episode recently received a Christopher Award in the TV/Cable category.
It also airs in Australia, New Zealand and Sweden.
Executive producer for the BBC is Christopher Aird and for PBS is Donald H. Thoms, with Hugh Warren returning as producer.
Writers Thomas and Harris also executive produce.
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