X Factor's grand final sees Sam Bailey, Luke Friend and Nicholas McDonald battle it out at Wembley for the crown.
Call The Midwife's second series concludes with Chummy's baby
Call The Midwife's Jessica Raine, Miranda Hart and Helen George. Image. BBC
The characters of Call the Midwife (including Miranda Hart as Chummy and Jessica Raine as Jenny) find themselves approaching significant changes in the finale of series two.
Sister Evangelina (Pam Ferris) gets the line of the episode with this inspired gem: "It's a baby not a lubricated penguin. They don't come sliding out to order!"
Interactions between Jenny (Jessica Raine) and Jimmy (George Rainsford) are played rather unsubtly and it's difficult to buy into the rushed romantic subplot between the leading character and Jimmy's friend Alec (Leo Staar).
At its heart, Call the Midwife has a very optimistic outlook. For this reason, I doubt viewers expected anything other than a happy ending as the denouement for the second series.
Nevertheless, one of the most commendable strengths of this drama is that it doesn't throw out realism in order to achieve its positive tone.
In the series finale, it's the pregnancy of Miranda Hart's Chummy that keeps things tense until the closing minutes.
"Call the Midwife has a very optimistic outlook."
That there are complications doesn't come as a huge surprise, but it doesn't feel predictable. Instead, it maintains tension and allows the episode to build towards an emotional ending that ties together the themes of the series.
Chummy's baby boy - who couldn't smile at that?
The other storyline followed the birth of Fred's second grandchild; it didn't take up much time, but it provided the context required for some important advice to be passed on.
Fred tells Chummy that the key element of parenting is staying close to your family, and the remainder of the episode emphasises the closeness of the familial relationships that have developed at Nonnatus House.
The imagery of a blanket sewn by all the midwives while they anxiously wait for news of Chummy's progress is effective precisely because it is so simple in its aim of highlighting the bond that the midwives now have.
Indeed, simplicity is at the centre of what makes Call the Midwife so phenomenally successful.
The emotional moments are guaranteed to have an impact because babies are involved; this week's episode has further resonance because it focuses on a character that is well-developed and portrayed rather wonderfully by Miranda Hart.
The problem with Jenny...
However, as entertaining as some of their scenes in previous episodes have been, the material for Jenny and Jimmy feels a tad familiar.
The hasty addition of new love interest Alec doesn't help this feel like an essential plot; it left me thinking more groundwork is required from the writers when it comes to Jenny's love life.
Regardless, Call the Midwife still manages to pull off the romantic subplot that really matters as it looks to the patiently developed relationship between Sister Bernadette (Laura Main) and Dr Turner (Stephen McGann).
Is Call The Midwife the best drama on TV?
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- 96 %Yes - it's excellent
- No - it's overrated
Things are brought to a deservedly sweet ending in this episode when Sister Bernadette (whose real name is revealed to be Sheila) finally moves on from her life as a nun and embarks on a new journey when the ever-reliable doctor proposes.
While what happens here isn't a total surprise, I don't see predictability as a weakness of this show because the constant presence of hope is emphasised by its optimism; it's one of the attributes that makes it so engaging.
Of course, it should also be noted that Call The Midwife is a well-made and convincingly realised depiction of life in the 1950s and it's full of great characters and performances.
The conclusion to the magnificent second series displays so much of what makes the show enjoyable.
It constantly delights with humour, honesty and well-earned emotion.
Amazingly, in addition to dominating the ratings, Call the Midwife is improving yet further as it continues. Its third series will be one of the most anticipated and eagerly awaited because the finale delivered all of the show's warm-hearted strengths.
- Verdict: An entertaining and satisfying conclusion to the second series.
What other reviewers said
The Telegraph - "Only a critic with the coldest of hearts could fail to be charmed by the final episode."
Unreality TV - "Those behind Call the Midwife can congratulate themselves on an incredibly popular second series."
What people on Twitter said
@pryorandy (actor Andy Pryor) - "Proud to help to make the nation cry. More proud of our fantastic cast. #callthemidwife"
@RowleyMo - "@BBCOne #CallTheMidwife ... Couldn't have asked for a better end to the series- Amazing piece of drama!! Can't wait for the next one!!"
@CameronYardeJnr - "Chummy's a mummy on Mothering Sunday, Jenny has a boyfriend & a happy ending for Turnerdette. Perfect ending #CallTheMidwife."
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