Of the eight, which are the best Call the Midwife Christmas specials?
You don’t have to be a fan of the series to enjoy the Call the Midwife Christmas specials. They’re crafted to stand on their own without knowing anything about the continuing storyline of the sisters and nurses of Nonnatus House who care for the Poplar community in the East End of London during the late ’50s and into the ’60s.
However, if you are a fan, you know the Christmas specials are a beloved tradition. You also know “What are the best Call the Midwife Christmas specials?” is a trick question because they’re all good!
Call the Midwife show ratings
As a show overall, Call the Midwife has a high rating. It’s got 8.4 out of 10 stars on IMDb, 8.8 out of 10 on TV.com and 95% of Google users like the show.
While I was researching information about when Call the Midwife started having Christmas specials, I noticed IMDb included ratings for individual episodes, including the Christmas ones.
All of the Christmas specials rated at least eight out of 10 stars, but some of them scored higher with viewers than others.
Let’s take a look at how each of the eight Call the Midwife Christmas specials that there have been so far ranked on IMDb, in order from least popular to most. (A ninth is coming in 2020, by the way. It just won’t be among the Netflix TV series offerings until season 10 is added to the streamer, which will hopefully be in 2021 sometime.)
Call the Midwife Christmas specials ranked
Most of the following Call the Midwife Christmas specials can be viewed among the seasons available on Netflix, with one exception. As noted below, the one where they go to South Africa in season 6 isn’t on the streamer. You’ll find 2017’s special under season 6, which is where the Call the Midwife Christmas special 2016 should be. For some reason, it’s not there.
8. Call the Midwife Christmas special 2019 (season 9)
This Christmas special was a two-parter that saw some of the nurses accompanying Sister Julienne (Jenny Agutter) to provide healthcare to a remote community in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides.
It received 8.2 stars and 138 reviews, making it the least popular of all the Call the Midwife Christmas specials. But that’s not saying it wasn’t good. It’s still as heartwarming and as full of spirit as any other Call the Midwife episode, Christmas special or not.
7. Call the Midwife Christmas special 2016 (season 6)
Maybe there’s a theme brewing because the second least popular Christmas special also found the nuns traveling to help elsewhere during the holidays, this time to South Africa.
It received 8.4 stars and 259 reviews.
This is also the one mentioned above that’s missing from Netflix’s offerings.
6. Call the Midwife Christmas special 2018 (season 8)
The 2018, 2017 and 2012 Christmas specials each received 8.7 stars. I used the amount of reviews to rank them from there, and since 2018 had the fewest with 215 reviews, I put it at number six below the other two.
The 2018 Christmas special was also a two-parter. The Mother House, which is also an orphanage, is in need of a new Mother Superior. Sister Julienne is summoned, as she’s one of the sisters under consideration for the job. Shelagh (Laura Main) goes along too, and that’s where she meets little May, an orphaned Chinese girl who Shelagh feels compelled to ask her husband, Dr. Turner (Stephen McGann), to consider adopting.
5. Call the Midwife Christmas special 2017 (season 7)
This Christmas special finds London bracing against a historic winter cold in 1962. As they do, the women of Nonnatus House face the challenging conditions without complaint to deliver babies and provide other care to Poplar residents.
This episode received 8.7 stars and 236 reviews.
Also interesting to note, while it’s categorized as part of season 7, you’ll find it under season 6 on Netflix.
4. Call the Midwife Christmas special 2012 (season 2)
Season 1 of Call the Midwife didn’t have a Christmas special, so this one that premiered ahead of season 2 was the very first one. It featured Nurse Jenny Lee (Jessica Raine) helping an elderly woman who lost her family after living in a workhouse and a young teenage girl who secretly gives birth to a baby that she abandons at Nonnatus House.
It received 8.7 stars and 374 reviews.
3. Call the Midwife Christmas special 2015 (season 5)
This was the first time a Call the Midwife Christmas special was broken up into two episodes. Among the multiple storylines, an outbreak of measles plagued Poplar and Sister Monica Joan (Judy Parfitt) goes missing.
It got 8.8 stars and 224 reviews.
2. Call the Midwife Christmas special 2014 (season 4)
The last two Call the Midwife Christmas specials on this list both received 8.9 stars, so I once again used the reviews to determine which one was “more popular.” Since this one had slightly less reviews than the other, 254 compared to 283, I ranked it second.
In every episode, we hear Vanessa Redgrave as an older Nurse Jenny narrating the memoirs of Jennifer Worth, whose writings the series is based on. This episode is special because we get to see her as Mature Jenny in 2005, surrounded by pictures of her fellow Nonnatus House nurses as she reflects back on a Christmas memory from the early 1960s.
Perhaps because this was the first episode without Nurse Jenny, since the actress who played her in her younger years, Jessica Raine, decided to leave the show. This was their way of making the transition and bidding her a fond farewell.
It’s also the episode Nurse Cynthia Miller (Bryony Hannah), who’s been grappling with feeling called to the church, decides to become Sister Mary Cynthia.
1. Call the Midwife Christmas special 2013 (season 3)
Technically, according to this list I’ve created based on IMDB ratings, we’re at the “most popular” Call the Midwife Christmas special, which received 8.9 stars and edged out the episode in the number two spot by just 29 reviews, with 283 reviews.
Nonnatus House is among the Poplar buildings that finds itself under middle of the night emergency evacuations when an unexploded bomb from World War II is found. Timothy (Max Macmillan), Dr. Turner’s son, contracts polio and requires hospitalization. Shelagh, who was once a nun until she and Dr. Turner realized they were in love, struggles with her decision to leave the church and become a wife. Will she be able to go through with the wedding?
And where will the sisters and nurses of Nonnatus House live? When the bomb is detonated most residents get to return to their homes in time for Christmas, but the blast weakened Nonnatus’s foundation and it has to be demolished, which displaces the nuns.
Timothy recovers enough to get out of the hospital, but he has to wear braces. However, he is able to attend his father and Shelagh’s wedding, because she gets over her hesitation and goes through with it after all.
Even though some Call the Midwife Christmas specials have a smidge higher star rating than others, they truly are all good. You always laugh and need a tissue or two. At least I do.
Do you have a favorite Call the Midwife Christmas episode?