Call the Midwife s07e90 Episode Script

Christmas Special 2018

1 MATURE JENNIFER: Birth is the shortest journey we will ever make.
It begins in darkness, and ends, we think, in light.
But welcomed and safe, we rest upon the shore for what amounts to moments before we begin the greatest voyage of them all.
There is no map, no route, no arrowhead to follow, for none of us have ever walked this way before.
All I'm saying, Fred Buckle, is that you haven't thought this through.
Now, Father Christmas is known for one very particular mode of transport, and it's a sledge, not a rocket! Santa has to move with the times, Vi! My old mate Nolly let me down with the reindeer.
So I've had to improvise with some space elves.
Your beard's not straight.
He's not real.
He's just one of the helpers.
Yeah, but the kiddies don't know that, Reggie.
And I should never have let you convince me about these silver gnome things.
They're not gnomes, they're space elves! Everyone's ready and waiting.
Oh, goodness me, what lovelygrey pixies? BOTH: They're space elves! I hope this paint comes off with soap and water.
Reggie? The bell.
ALL: We have liftoff! Merry Christmas! Ho, ho, ho! Merry Christmas.
One more week to go till Christmas! Ho, ho, ho! Merry Christmas! Christmas sweets! Merry Christmas.
Merry Christmas.
Well, Miss Higgins.
I think that now we've run through the protocols for posting the urine to St Cuthbert's every morning, that's everything ticked off your list for our first day.
I did find your sputum routine a little opaque.
Would you like me to refresh your memory? I think we may need to refresh the system.
Phlegm samples tend to accumulate during the winter months.
Twice-daily dispatch might prove preferable? I think we'll find that Dr Turner has always been entirely satisfied.
Oh, you've brought your own tree! Oh, it's only a utility one.
My late parents bought it the year that war broke out.
It was one of the few things that made it out of the rubble of their home intact.
I'm sorry.
I'll lock up, Mrs Turner.
You go home and enjoy yourself with your family.
MUSIC: It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year by Andy Williams # It's the most wonderful time of the year # With the kids jingle-belling # And everyone telling you be of good cheer It's the most wonderful time of the year Happy Christmas! Oh, Patrick! Do you not think it's a bit over-large? But we've got three children and we're picking up a seven-foot tree on the way home! To go with that battered old silver one we put up every year? We like that battered old silver one! Mum, can we get a dog and put him in the boot when we go on days out? A dog? I don't think so.
Angela's written to Father Christmas for a rabbit, and there isn't room for another living thing in our household.
Or this car! It's the most wonderful time of the year Taxi! # .
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hearts will be glowing when loved ones are near It's the most wonderful time of the year WRAPPER RUSTLES PHONE RINGS Nonnatus House.
Sister Julienne speaking.
Oh, greetings.
This is Sister Hilda.
Ah, Sister Hilda! It's usually Mother Jesu Emmanuel who calls.
One snowman cake, all present and correct! What's all that green stuff round the edges? It's lime-flavour jelly, chopped up to represent grass.
I bet Trixie was pining for green jelly while she was in Portofino.
We must hope that she did not pine for grandiose illuminations, for these spasmodic gewgaws will surely disappoint her! Sister Monica Joan, Sister Winifred.
Would you please join me in my office? SHE SIGHS As you will both be aware, Mother Jesu Emmanuel was due to come to the end of her tenure as Superior next February, after which her successor would have been elected.
You have deployed the future perfect.
I deduce that this bodes ill.
Mother Jesu has been diagnosed with a brain tumour.
She is expected to live a handful of months, but no more.
No She asks that we leave our work here at once, and return to the Mother House until a new Superior is elected.
Sister, our work is here.
Sister Mildred is arriving at the Mother House with a number of orphans from Hong Kong.
They will be staying at the order's orphanage whilst they get to know their adoptive parents.
I am told there will be plenty of work for us to do once we arrive.
We are called upon to care for more than infants and frail flesh! We have a chapel to attend to here, in which we must abnegate the evils of the world with constant prayer! I dare say we can make shift, with Nurse Franklin coming home.
She can do the work of three when she's firing on all cylinders.
Yes! Besides, Sister Winifred and I should be back in time for Christmas.
Should be? I hope there's nothing to this election that you're not telling me about.
Not at all.
I'm quite sure there are better candidates than I for the position.
I'm really not happy with the length of this, Valerie.
If you do a pirouette on stage, people are going to see everything you've got! There's no pirouettes, I'm just helping out the baby ballet class! I lead them on stage in their little angel costumes, and we all point our toes in time to You're All I Want For Christmas.
I'm still going to let the hem down.
And then if I can see anything I shouldn't, I'm going to put a flounce on it.
DOORBELL RINGS It's Trixie.
Come on! I'm Sister Mildred, and I'm indefatigable! Except when arriving from the East, escorting orphans.
This is Ming.
There are three more in the taxi cab, and each and every one in need of napkin change.
We were told you were going directly to the Mother House! Fog at the airport, fog on the road.
Non-appearance at said airport of Child Care Officer.
I'm a nun, not a conjuror.
I told customs I had nothing to declare but my annoyance, and I'm hoping you'll tell me there's room at the inn.
From left to right, May, Sui and Chi.
Ming you've already met.
And they're all girls, as you're about to discover.
They're almost all the children of refugees from China, found abandoned as newborns, in the main.
Discovered in the street, or in the stairwells of apartment blocks.
Their files are marked "Left To be Found".
They may find comfort in that when they're older.
There is love in the gesture as well as desperation.
Mmm, not all are so fortunate, I'm afraid.
Might I try another portion of that snowman chappy? The trouble with marshmallows, one finds, is that they're mostly air, which does little to erode the digestive vacuum.
Sister Mildred, why is little May so much older than the others? Let's not discuss her details in front of her.
She may not speak English yet but she is beginning to understand it.
Besides, she's going to the most wonderful family! An accountant for a father, big, sweeping lawns, big sister has a pony.
Are they a Chinese family? No.
There aren't enough of them to provide homes for all the babies coming in on this project.
But the babies need to know they're Chinese.
They'll know they're Chinese every time they look in the mirror, bless 'em.
I'll be sad to see them leaving in the morning.
I don't think you've any idea how often I gazed at the Mediterranean in a Pucci tunic, dreaming of this.
I see you're entertaining some guests.
Nurse Franklin.
Trixie, you look wonderful.
I dare say you'll be wanting a decent cup of tea.
Yes! And if it comes with cake, yes, please! There's one potted-beef sandwich left.
I'll go and look into the cupboard and see if I can rustle you up some gherkins.
Ooh! Or maybe I'll just go out for fish and chips.
Oh! There's my girl.
Quack, quack, quack, quack, quack! What about in the water? Ooh! Quack, quack, quack.
SHE LAUGHS Quack, quack, quack.
BABY GIGGLES Moths, moths, moths! I'm surprised you have a single intact garment left, Valerie.
I've got more Crimplene than cashmere and moths don't really go in for that.
They went in for my uniform cardigan! We're going to have to fumigate that wardrobe, or you can't hang a single thing in it! My godmother insisted we spent a week shopping in Paris, so she could send me back to London prepared for every style eventuality.
Does she know which bit of London you live in? She knows that a woman is defined by her potential and not her circumstances, and that one exquisite black shift dress from a top couturier can take you anywhere.
Even out for dinner with an Italian count.
An Italian count? I bet he never bought you the last piece of haddock in the chip shop! Come on.
Grub's up.
And welcome home.
I understand the moths made a banquet of your woollens.
I shall ensure that naphthalene sachets are supplied.
But in the meantime, you might like this.
Is it a new one? Not new, no.
A certain person would have been the first to give you hers.
Barbara? There's still a label inside with her name on.
You can snip it out.
Or leave it in.
No tears, lass.
You're back, and you're well.
One way and another, we're going to have a happy Christmas.
A few extra little bits to take on our adventure! Meanwhile, this morning's post also brings a Christmas card from Nurse Mount and Nurse Busby, with greetings from Scotland, plus a paw print from their brand-new puppy, Garbo.
Ahh! I've also had an aerogram from Mr Hereward, safely arrived in New Guinea and made warmly welcome by Barbara's father.
That's nice.
Sister Julienne? Good morning, Doctor.
To what do we owe the pleasure? I'm here to see Sister Monica Joan.
Sister Monica Joan? Ohh! When has the pain been at its worst, Sister? When I was forced to make my way to the telephone to summon you.
If you'd knocked on my door, I would have telephoned the surgery.
I did not wish to inconvenience you.
You are so very fixed on preparations for your departure to the Mother House I'm prescribing kaolin and morphine, and a few days' bed rest.
I'm afraid you'll have to go without her.
Oh! Your carriage awaits, good ladies! And I picked up a tin of those glucose sweets, just in case anyone's car sick.
If I feel nauseous, I just stick my head out of the window.
Fresh air generally does the trick, and if it doesn't, nobody else is inconvenienced.
Ha! We're ready, Mr Buckle.
Hello, you.
Are you ready for the last leg of your journey? You've come a long, long way.
But you'll be home soon.
No reason to be peering at her, Doctor, she's not ill.
Just one of my shyer types.
There.
FRED: # Good King Wenceslas last looked out On the feast of Stephen A little bird tells me you're never very keen on going to the Mother House.
Once, it was a place where I found my new beginning.
Now, it is where I will likely meet my end.
Nursed in a narrow bed, tenderly cared for but without the purpose that comes from engagement with the world.
The only engagement I want from you now is with a nice bowl of porridge, or some egg on toast.
Sister Julienne is arriving soon.
Yes, I'm looking forward to seeing her.
Oh, me too.
Is there any sign of the minibus, Sister Hilda? I'm supposed to be helping when the Chinese babies arrive, but I've also been told to do my spiritual reading.
By whom? By you, Sister.
Well, heads will obviously roll if I'm disobeyed! Oh! Greetings! May we be of assistance? Goodness! Blimey.
It's normally sheep and rabbits that make me nervous in the countryside! An atheist, perhaps.
Or a builder wanting to turn the convent into flats.
I've seen more than one of that breed turn tail and run.
Is everyone all right? I don't know who that was.
We're just going to go in here.
How is Mother Jesu Emmanuel? Confined to her room.
And she's resigned from her duties completely.
Oh, poor Mother Jesu.
She always sought to sail the ship alone.
There are records and documentation here for every branch house in England, and the world.
She said that was the role of the Superior, to navigate on behalf of those with other work to do.
But she was struggling, clearly.
Yes.
And for longer than we knew.
Please don't think me indiscreet.
You really are the only one who can step into Mother Jesu's shoes.
I have no desire to do anything of the kind.
My work is in Poplar, where I live amongst the people I serve.
And I am of more use there than I will ever be behind a desk here.
II'm sure that someone much more appropriate will be elected.
In the meantime, if I can attempt to calm this chaos, I will do so most humbly.
Midwife calling! Hello, Nurse.
Long time, no see.
Is that Russell underneath all that chocolate? Doesn't seem five minutes since I delivered him! Mmm, I gave him his selection box early.
Keeps him good.
I thought I'd drop by and check you over.
We don't seem to have seen you for a while.
I've decided to go to the hospital for this one.
But we need to refer you before you can do that! And why would you want to? Ah, they treated my sister like the Queen when she was in there having her Lorraine.
Breakfast on a tray, ashtrays emptied every time she snapped her fingers.
We really discourage smoking in expectant and nursing mothers That's the trouble, though, isn't it? No offence, Nurse, but you lot at Nonnatus, you come into our homes, you inspect them, and then you start telling us what we can and can't do.
Then after the baby's born, you all waltz off and leave us with a pile of dirty washing.
No offence, Nurse, but it's St Cuthbert's for me for this one.
One trifling flick through the maternity Rolodex and I've found more than a dozen mothers who have "changed their minds" and plumped for a hospital delivery! It isn't Dr Turner's doing.
He won't refer patients to St Cuthbert's unless there's good reason.
The trouble is, they ask him to.
Hospitals are telling women there are a hundred good reasons for giving birth in clinical surroundings, and word gets round.
Young mother.
Old mother.
Twins.
High blood pressure.
Low blood pressure.
Piles.
First-time patient.
Multiparous patient.
Elderly relative sitting in the corner.
What? They're calling it "undesirable socioeconomic circumstances".
It used to be called "living in the East End".
Oh! I want my little troupe all sitting side by side, with a seat immediately next to them for me.
We will need another high chair.
And no food containing cow's milk.
Somebody said it was macaroni cheese and semolina pudding.
I'll go and see if there's anything plainer.
Some of the children from the Hong Kong Adoption Project spend a short while in a residential establishment, getting acclimatised and to know their new families.
I may be biased, but I think ours is much the best.
Yeah, it's, er, it's lovely.
It's like a home from home.
Hello.
Who are you, then? I wonder what your name is.
He's called Neil.
Hello, Neil.
Why isn't he eating with the other children? He was brain damaged at birth through lack of oxygen, and has to be spoon-fed.
Sister Hilda thinks it goes down a bit better if we can do it one to one.
How long has he been on the list for adoption? I asked Sister Hilda that the first time I saw him.
And she said, "He isn't.
" Have I got time for a cigarette to calm my nerves, Vi? I'm not having any naked flames near this, you'll go up like a bonfire.
Wotcha, Fred.
Oh, evening, Nolly.
No hard feelings about the reindeer, then, eh? We improvised.
If there's trouble at the zoo, there's trouble at the zoo.
No harm done, then.
Well, it might have been nice for the kiddies.
Some of them might have liked to have seen an animal at Christmas.
Would have made it special.
And the other way.
AUDIENCE COO # You're all I want for Christmas # And if all my dreams come true # Then I'll awake # On Christmas morning And find my stocking filled with you.
GIRLS GIGGLE APPLAUSE O Lord, our Heavenly Father O Lord, our Heavenly Father, almighty and everlasting God .
.
and grant that this day we fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger, but that all our doings, being ordered by thy governance, may be righteous in thy sight.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.
.
.
Jesus Christ our Lord.
This tastes horrible.
There's not many to go now.
And then you can take these down to the postbox for me.
Where've you been, Fred Buckle? I've had three slices of streaky congealing under the grill for an hour and more.
A tricycle, a scooter, a hobby horse and .
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a Scotty dog on wheels! I've been collecting toys for the kiddies at the orphanage.
It's all old.
Yeah, but, you know - we clean it up and a coat of paint And if we look sharp, we'll get it off to Santa in loads of time.
There's fleas on that Scotty dog, I can see them dancing from here! Reggie, get away! I'm going to do them all up.
Oh, Fred! You are as soft as a brush when the mood takes you.
And you do mean well.
But you haven't got the time to do these up before Christmas.
And no child wants to wake up to broken toys that other people have thrown out.
It happened to me when I was a kid.
It was just a thought.
Come in, Sister .
.
and sit where I can see you.
I still have the sight in one eye, but it must do the work for two.
I remember clasping hands with you the night before we took our novice vows.
After we put on the hand cream? You remember.
Who could forget Sister Gertrude marching in with the Nivea, announcing that we would all go to the altar with hands as smooth as they would ever be again? I love the smell of Nivea, even now.
It's one of the things I missed when I was voted Superior and stopped going into people's homes .
.
the smell of hand cream, the talcum powder.
Even baby soap.
You don't imagine you will mourn those small connections to ordinary things as Mother Superior.
But you do.
I pray for you every day.
I want my work to be your work.
I want you to take my place.
But you cannot choose.
The Sisters vote amongst themselves.
You are the only one who has the intellect, as well as the spirit and the heart.
I believe our Sisters see that.
And if they cannot, there is one who does.
They mark the paper.
One higher moves the pen.
PEBBLE CLATTERS PHONE RINGS Turner residence.
Shelagh, it's Sister Julienne.
Have you time to talk? I'm on holiday from midwifery until New Year.
Angela and Teddy are wrapped up and are feeding the ducks with their nanny.
Tim's lying upstairs listening to some appalling music, and Miss Higgins is cracking the whip.
Nobody needs this much time.
I need any you can spare.
I have never seen an office in such disarray.
And I cannot restore it to order alone.
You'll be home in time for Christmas.
Lord, but you look lonely there, Sister Monica Joan.
I am in the company of the Almighty, who - being of the masculine persuasion - would, I suspect, be unmoved by my current skirmish with this carpet sweeper.
I sense the presence of something malign in it.
You have a bit of cotton wrapped round the brush.
Sister Monica Joan, would you like to come to church with me? It's not in some great building, or even a chapel this size.
But you might find it feeds your soul a little.
In fact, it would feed more than your soul, we serve lots of sweet cakes and puddings round this time of year.
II dare not vacate these premises, when no other is here to raise their voice in prayer.
You must imagine me veiled in scarlet, like the Vestals of Rome, charged with keeping the flame alive.
Miss Higgins has blocked off my days away on the calendar in three different colours of ink.
I'm sorry to have to say it, but she seemed enthusiastic.
We'll all be fine.
And Sister Julienne needs you.
I think we should leave now.
I'm scared I'll miss the train.
Or change my mind.
Well done! Well, that's all done now, Denise.
Thank you! Do you want to take Mandy and go and watch television with the others? I want to be here when the mums and dads come.
They're only coming to see the Chinese babies.
They're coming to choose.
They look at all of us on choosing days.
This isn't a choosing day! Even if there was such a thing.
Besides, we already know who the Chinese babies' new mums and dads are going to be.
They're just coming to meet their children, and have some fun with them.
That's nice.
Oh! Oh, my dear Shelagh.
I brought you some mince pies.
I'm a guest now.
I shouldn't come empty-handed.
Is it self-indulgent to say I hardly recognise myself? It's as though that woman was erased as completely as the old Nonnatus House.
Not a wall or a window left standing.
Your vocation changed.
And you did not disobey the call.
I couldn't disobey it.
It was stronger than anything I'd ever known.
Shelagh.
My dread of what I think is coming is stronger than anything I have ever known.
Are you really afraid you'll be voted in as Superior? Mother Jesu Emmanuel is lying upstairs willing it.
And the prayers of the dying are such a very potent thing.
Mother Jesu Emmanuel may be praying for something she wants very much.
It doesn't mean she is praying for what is right.
What do you want to do? I am a religious Sister.
I am not allowed to want anything.
What are you doing, Mavis? I was just showing June where the Bickiepegs were for Russell.
The first thing she said when she arrived was, "Ain't you got your tree up yet?" I said, "I'm not due till New Year.
" I thought we had ages to get it organised.
Maybe this is just wind.
Bobby, if this is wind, it's enough for me to take off in a flaming hot-air balloon.
Denise! Come and help Neil to play with maracas.
He likes the noise they make.
We might try and sit you on the rocking horse later.
Would you like that? We could sing # Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross To see a fine lady upon a white horse! She ran away as soon as she saw me.
I think we should call the police.
She's heavily pregnant, and looks very distressed.
Well, most pregnant women would be distressed if they looked in through the window of an orphanage.
And if they knew what's just happened to poor little May here, they'd throw back their heads and howl like wolves.
What has happened? Her adoptive parents have utterly failed to materialise! No! Something must have gone terribly wrong.
I shall ascertain.
Make way, I shall require the telephone.
CHILDREN SING ALONG TO TV THEME Must May really wait a year before her parents can take her? Tuberculosis is tuberculosis.
12 months in a sanatorium ought to see it off, but while the husband's away, the wife doesn't feel she can proceed.
May already seems terribly withdrawn.
May's mother was a refugee who turned to prostitution.
Pretty little thing, forever determined to reform.
Came back to the Hong Kong orphanage for May three times, talking of a better life, job as a servant, place at a night school.
She'd take the child away and then, weeks later, bring her back.
One or other of them always had a black eye or a cigarette burn.
I used to wonder which of them was most in need of care.
Sister.
Tea is usually a silent meal.
Today is not a usual day.
Our guest has bought mince pies.
Are we to drive her from the room while we consume them? No, I don't doubt love was there.
But sometimes love's not enough.
Courage is worth more.
And common sense, more still.
May's mother had neither.
She kept coming back, and the child forever waiting by the door.
TV: And he won't come without his bed.
Won't he? No, not this time of night.
Always brings his bed with him.
Oh, hello, Francis Mrs Hollinger? It's Hollier, it's on her card.
I'm sorry.
Well, I'm pleased to say we've been able to accommodate your wife under the Emergency Bed Service.
At St Jolyon's.
But that's on the other side of the borough.
The matron there is expecting you.
You can either wait for an ambulance, which might take up to an hour, or you can make your own way there.
Sister, you're wanted in Room 6.
You must excuse me.
What do you want to do? I'm not staying here.
My sister said they treated her like a queen.
As my godmother said, if you invest in an exquisitely simple silhouette, you can ring the changes with a multitude of accessories.
So she took me to the best couturier in Paris .
.
and bought me this! It's very plain.
That's the whole point, Lucille.
For example, the vendeuse suggested that, for an informal supper, I might wear it with a white mink chapeau.
Do you not think your head might get a bit hot? I'm going to put on these high heels and demonstrate the infinite possibilities of pared-back elegance.
Oh, we should have waited for the ambulance.
I thought there'd be a bloody bus! It must be the fog.
There'll be a taxi coming soon, I promise you, even if it's just a cabbie coming home from up West.
I want to go home.
I wish we'd never come out! You've just got to keep walking.
I can't hardly stand, never mind keep walking! I'm in labour Mavis, listen to me.
We're going to that phone box, and we're going to call an ambulance.
Come on, you can do it.
OK.
Oh SHE MOANS Mavis! Mave! The phone's busted, I don't know what to do! Oh, you'll have to go to Nonnatus House and get a midwife.
I don't know where it is, I'm not a woman, Mavis! It's next door to the school, you stupid article! Justjust stay there! Promise me you'll stay there.
Oh I'll say this for the best couturier in Paris, for a Frenchman, he certainly fits a lovely zip.
And the beauty of it is, I can wear it with a pair of elbow-length white satin gloves and a discreet diamond brooch for the opera, or a pearl-grey tweed coatee for a city luncheon.
I just worry you're going to look like a photographic negative.
And what's this, may I ask? A gorgeous jacket in a lovely shade of red.
It's a fuchsia-pink duster coat in shantung silk.
FRANTIC KNOCKING AT DOOR I don't like the sound of that.
It's my wife, she's by the phone box.
I think the baby's coming out! We need coordinates.
Which phone box? I can't remember! And it's goodbye to one pair of fully fashioned Parisian nylons.
We're almost with you, Mavis! Hold on! Oh, I can't hold on, I can't! Go and ring for an ambulance, and tell them to prepare for a BBA.
BBA? Born before arrival.
We're on the corner of Bateman Street and Chandler's Mews, tell the Ambulance Service that, then come back with hot water bottles and clean towels.
Oh, come on, mate, I promise you, when they come as quick as this, they come easy as a wink.
As soon as we've got this contraction out of the way, we're going to do some basic checks to tide us over until the ambulance arrives.
MAVIS GROANS It's all right, we're here now.
Let's slip these off and see where we are.
They said I had to go to St Jolyon's.
Well, we're not having that.
We want it born within earshot of Bow Bells, or it's not a Cockney.
I can feel something down below, I reckon it's the head.
With this next pain, you push if you have the urge to, Mavis.
Don't I need to lie down? No, you're fine as you are, just keep your feet nice and wide apart.
Oh I can feel the top of baby's head, Mavis.
Push! There you go, chick, that's the ticket.
As hard as you can, Mavis, all the way to the end of this contraction.
That's it, you're doing brilliantly.
They will keep neither mother nor infant warm if they are not kept warm themselves.
Thank you, Sister.
God speed you on your way.
We need all the help we can get.
Keep pushing, Mavis, like you did with the last one, and the one before.
Good girl.
Thank you.
That's all right, chick.
Now, you catch your breath, save all your strength for the next one.
Is the head out? When I was having Russell, you let me reach down and feel it.
I think Russell was a little bit more biddable than this one.
Dragging its heels a bit, is it? Push as soon as you like, Mavis, a really big, brave push.
We're with you.
Keep pushing, that's it.
Come on, chick, you can do it.
Don't let go of this, Mavis.
You have to keep pushing.
Clean towels, two hot water bottles, all present and correct.
And I wish I could say I did see an ambulance, but there isn't any sign.
That was a superb push, Mavis, but baby's not moving.
I need to get you onto one knee, sweetie.
No, I can't! Well, you can, because we're here.
You have three of us, all to yourself.
One of us is even wearing her uniform.
Just think of us as the Beverley Sisters, but with rubber gloves.
Gently now, that's it.
All right, there we go.
Yep.
Here we go.
And push, push, push, push, push.
The pain's gone! Then push anyway.
That's it, that's it, that's it! BABY CRIES Posterior shoulder first.
BABY KEEPS CRYING Oh, there we go.
There.
I think somebody's Christmas has come a little bit early, hasn't it? You've got a little boy, Mavis.
I'll have to give him a Christmassy name now, won't I? Like Noel.
Or Robin.
Gabriel, like the angel.
Perhaps you should wait till the shock's worn off! AMBULANCE BELLS APPROACHING Come and see your beautiful baby.
Is she all right? Mr Hollier? It's a bit bloody late now! Now, Mr Hollier.
Let's have a bit of peace and goodwill.
Will I have to go to hospital now? You're not going anywhere where we can't look after you properly.
Mavis's husband is lying down across the chairs in reception.
I put two spoons of sugar in his cup.
How are you getting on? I seem to have got all the blood out, but I'm having less luck with the vernix.
It's only a dress, and a birth is never just a birth.
I could call him Nicholas.
It's Father Christmas's name in some of the old-fashioned books.
Nicholas.
I like that.
Gravel.
You must have come off the cape when you were pushing.
As one Poplar girl to another, am I allowed to say I'm proud of you? Yeah, we did all right, didn't we? Everyone tells you hospital's better.
The hospital tells you hospital's better.
They never tell you there might not be a bed.
There you are.
What a smart little soldier.
Bringing him to meals and feeding him alongside the other children is having a really positive effect.
I've noticed that little May hardly eats at all.
I picked her up to put her on the rocking horse yesterday.
I know what a well-nourished three-year-old should feel like in your arms and it shouldn't feel like that, like a bird.
Sister Mildred says some children do less well than others in residential care.
May just isn't suited to orphanage life.
It's gone on too long for her.
I wish there was something we could do.
I pray, for all of them.
I don't think I've stopped praying since I got here.
Young Nicholas is looking a little bit peckish, Mrs Hollier.
I'll pull the curtains round so you can have some privacy while we put baby to the breast.
Can't I stay? It's nothing I haven't seen before.
Please? You'll find a selection of reading matter in reception.
Oh, Nurse, Nurse, I'm sorry, but it hurts so much! Where, lass? Down below.
Oh, it hurts so much! SHE WHISPERS PRAYERS Oh! I'm sorry, I didn't mean to startle you.
I saw you before when you were looking in the window.
Did you come here because you need help? Stop! Please, miss, stop! I'm glad you stopped running, it's bad for you, it's bad for your baby.
I suppose you're one of the midwives? We're all midwives, it's what our order does.
I know that.
When I was a child, I used to be at the orphanage.
Oh Will you tell me your name? It's Lena.
Why didn't you knock on the door, Lena, why didn't you just ask to speak to someone? I just don't know.
I was scared.
Were you unhappy at the orphanage? No.
It was the last time I ever felt happy in my life.
You poor thing.
You have a vaginal haematoma, a massive collection of blood under the skin.
It's been getting bigger and bigger since you gave birth.
How big? Well, if you're looking for a more seasonal image, about the size of a tangerine.
Oh Your blood pressure is just a little high.
It may come down with rest and warmth, but I would like to check your urine if you can provide a sample.
My earliest memory is of one of you, when my brother was born.
I was only two then, maybe three.
Was he born at the cottage hospital? It's closed down now.
In London, in Poplar.
Our order's been in Poplar for a number of years.
It was one of you who brought me down here on the bus.
They said my brother Billy couldn't come, because he had a club foot.
He had to have a stick and wear a special shoe.
How old were you? When my parents died? I think I was seven, maybe eight.
I had one big tooth and one baby tooth at the front, I remember that.
The nun who met me here said I should be careful who I smiled at, or I might not get picked.
It's OK.
Sister Hilda asked if you could go and help with the children.
Neil seems unsettled and she thinks he might want you.
Oh.
I can remember one of you standing with Billy on the pavement.
We were looking at each other through the window of the bus.
Such a dirty window, we could hardly see each other.
I was crying and crying, and the nun said I had to stop crying because if I didn't stop, the bus wouldn't go.
And I wiped my eyes with the back of my hands, and the bus pulled away.
I never saw my brother again.
Do you want to tell us what happened after that? After I came here? I was sent to Australia.
On the children's farm school scheme? It gives children such a wonderful chance in life.
Kills some of them.
Yeah, they killed me.
We should be ready now, Dr Turner.
In a moment, I'm going to make a tiny incision and drain all of the blood out of the haematoma.
You'll soon feel much better.
It's already stopped hurting.
That little scratch you felt before was a local anaesthetic.
I need to go home.
I still haven't got a tree yet.
It's nearly Christmas Eve.
The baby won't know, but Russell will.
How will he know it's Christmas without one? I want you to take deep breaths of the gas now, Mavis.
I haven't even wrapped the presents yet.
Come on, now.
Deep breaths.
That's it, good girl.
She's had a rotten run of luck, poor lass.
Christmas should be a happy time for a young family.
Yes, it should.
You often hear of children being sent to Australia.
I thought most of them went to small children's homes in the countryside.
Lena didn't, she said she was taken to a farm, put to work, and treated absolutely brutally.
She also says she married an older man and when he died, she used the small amount of money she was left to pay for a passage home.
That's all Sister Julienne and I have been able to get out of her.
At least you managed to persuade her to stay the night.
She's been staying in a room above a pub.
That doesn't sound at all suitable.
The order has never put any children to the child migrant programme directly.
We only ever liaised with charities who did, which might explain why the records seem so sketchy.
Well, what if the records are sketchy? What if nothing was ever properly written down? If they weren't, then they should've been.
Facts may sometimes disappear from sight, but everyone has a story.
The least we can do is make sure that it's told.
FORK TINKLES AGAINST GLASS Your attention, please, Sistersand guest.
Or should that be guests? Neil and I are experimenting with a new arrangement of cushions.
He seems to be digesting better, and he's trying to look around more.
Wonderful.
I've been with Mother Jesu Emmanuel, and the chaplain general will visit to oversee the election the day after tomorrow.
Mother asks that we choose a Sister whose grasp of the religious life means she may lead us with both confidence and grace.
In addition, she commends Sister Julienne for so swiftly establishing good governance in the office.
It'll all be over by Christmas, as we used to say in the war.
You'll be looking forward to going back to Poplar, Sister Winifred? I don't want to go back.
I want to stay here.
Sister, we have to go where we are called.
Obedience demands it.
Well, with respect, Sisters, I think there is a difference between going where we are called by God and doing what we are told by human beings.
I think perhaps I should withdraw.
No, do stay.
The presence of a guest might persuade our Sisters to moderate their quarrel.
The quarrel is not between ourselves, it is within us.
The quarrel is between one's own desires and that which is demanded.
The quarrel is between the body and its longings, the soul and its terrors, and the mind, yearning to be free.
The quarrel defines us.
It drives us forwards, upwards, to our knees in prayer.
You must embrace the quarrel.
The quarrel will lead us to the answer.
It is everything we are.
Tea is supposed to be a silent meal.
Well, I feel called to stay here, and I don't care who's calling me.
Oh, come on, Reggie, eat your Swiss roll and custard.
In a few days' time, everything will have dried fruit in it, and you hate dried fruit.
DOORBELL RINGS Oh, get that, Fred, I'm running late for the WVS sherry party.
DOORBELL KEEPS RINGING What's the panic, Noll, your knicker elastic gone? I am a man of conscience, it's part of my jovial carapace, and I've been thinking about them little 'uns we disappointed over the reindeer.
ANIMAL BRAYS That's not a reindeer.
It's a donkey, and it's got sand in its fur.
Maybe it cut through Clacton on the way from the North Pole.
I'll need him back after the holidays.
Merry Christmas.
Violet, sweetheart? I've just got to pop down the civil defence headquarters.
Well, no stopping off down the Black Sail afterwards.
My word is my bond.
It's a donkey! Shh! Reggie, I've taken a special delivery.
I know, Fred, and it's a donkey! Look, just go back inside and don't say anything.
Come on, you.
No, come on, come on, that's it, this way.
DONKEY BRAYS Shh.
Good evening, Doctor.
More seasonal confectionery from grateful patients.
I can't allow that on the premises until it's passed a fire test.
Aluminium trees are highly inflammable.
Ah, Mr Hollier! Just the person.
I thought you and your family might like this.
A tree? Take it, take it home, turn the lights on.
You'll have a little bit of Christmas then, until I can send your wife home.
Thank you, Doctor.
I'll go through and tell Mavis so she can stop fretting and concentrate on getting better.
PHONE RINGS Surgery reception, how may I be of assistance? It's for you.
Yes? Dad, what's happened to our silver tree? Look over your shoulder, Tim, what can you see? Angela, looking broken-hearted.
And another tree.
Dad, you're always giving things away, even when it's not Christmas.
But it is Christmas.
Sister, I don't feel well.
Come on, donkey, come on.
No, this way.
You need a hand, Fred? Oh, no, no, no, me and old old Eeyore here, we understand each other.
I'm trying to get him up the allotment so I can put him in my shed.
I would let him graze, but I think he'd run amok.
He's not running amok now.
DONKEY BRAYS Listen, you haven't got any peppermints on you, have you, Doctor? Only .
.
I got him all the way here on the strength of a Polo mint I found in me pocket.
What are you doing with that donkey? I'd move that tin a little bit if I was you, Doctor, because he seems to have his eye on the toffee penny.
There we go, that's a good donkey.
Fred? Come on, come on, donkey.
There you go.
This way.
This way.
Oh, I told you to stay at home! I got the donkey a blanket.
You're a bit keen to get this animal under wraps, Fred.
Well, given your upstanding status in the community, Doctor, I'll let you get off home.
I'll leave you the Quality Street.
Right, come on, then, let's .
.
let's see if we can get you in here.
Come on.
Oh, look at all these lovely No, come back, come back, come back, come on, come on, come on, good donkey.
That's a good donkey.
No, you're not going to go? Please.
The fog has made the road to the hospital impassable, but Sister Hilda let me into the stores and I found everything in there that I might need.
Is it good again? It's perfect.
I want to be good at this, it's like I want to get good marks.
When I was on the farm, I never got anything right.
I used to drop the eggs or leave smears on the dishes, tea leaves mixed up in the mop, I couldn't make anything clean.
And that's when they'd hit you with the flat of their hand or a stick, when you couldn't make things perfect.
Sometimes we just have to do the best we can, whatever is asked of us.
You always do your best.
You even did your best by Billy.
Billy? My brother.
I can remember you holding his hand when I was looking through the window of the bus.
I was holding his hand? You've been in my mind like a photograph for years, and yesterday, when I saw the light fall on your face and I knew it was you There were always so many children in Poplar, seven or eight to a family sometimes.
There was only me and him, but I knew he'd be all right.
He was holding your hand.
SHE MOANS That was a wonderful push.
We have baby's head.
Really? Really.
All is well.
You're a very, very clever girl, Lena.
And when the next pain starts, we're going to tell you to push, and if you push steadily, baby will be with us, and we'll be able to place him in your arms.
Him? Shh.
We'll soon find out if it's a boy or a girl.
I don't mind what it is, once he's here, I'll have flesh and blood again.
It's been such a long time since I've had flesh and blood in this world.
That's it, Lena.
That's it, keep pushing, keep pushing.
Keep pushing.
BABY CRIES Success! It's a boy, Lena! A gorgeous little boy! Is he all right? He's perfect.
And completely yours.
I'm going to call him Billy.
ON TELEPHONE: Ah, Mrs Turner, I'll be with you in just a minute.
Mrs Turner, how may I assist you? I'm trying to connect some records we have at the Mother House with those of a family who were on our books before the war, two children, called Lena and Billy, or possibly William.
I don't know what's going wrong with Poplar.
Time was that you could leave the door to your whole house wide open and every chattel you possessed was safe.
Has something gone missing? Oh, the Brussels sprouts, and two pounds of parsnips! PHONE RINGS I hung them up outside in my string shopper so that they'd get a nip of frost, and they've gone! Poor beggars, must've been starving to rob all that raw veg! PHONE RINGS AT OTHER END Hello? Mrs Buckle? Oh, is that Mrs Turner? I'm afraid I'm coming to you with my begging bowl.
Well, I always do my best to fulfil any charitable requests, Mrs Turner.
It's quite a big begging bowl.
I need you to fill it with angel costumes, and possibly animal costumes.
Animal costumes with heads on, or just very long johns, perhaps with papier-mache masks? I don't mind, but we're putting on a nativity play for the Mother House orphanage before some of them go off to their adopted families and to give those that don't a Christmas memory to look back on.
There will be other people helping, but I want every single child to have a costume.
How many are there? About 20.
Well, he's settled in quite nicely.
Fred, it's not ours.
No.
Give him to the orphans.
As a Christmas present? Mm-hm.
Well, better than those old broken toys.
No fleas, only sand.
Thank you.
I've seen so many people waiting for news as a midwife.
Now I'm waiting for news of my own.
I have more sympathy for them than I ever imagined.
I'm worried we won't hear the bell when it rings to announce that the vote has been declared.
Maybe I don't want to.
Maybe I simply want to stretch this moment out and make it last, fill it with things I have chosen.
If you could choose one thing now, what would it be? A cigarette.
I mean it, Shelagh.
I keep them for nervous fathers and unexpected social situations.
Patrick doesn't know.
This was the last thing I did before I took my first vows.
It was the first thing I did when I renounced mine.
I had to speak to Mother Jesu on the telephone.
If she'd been angry, it would have been so much easier.
But she said, "Child, make room for God, "and he will fill it in ways you can never imagine.
" I put the phone down, and all I could think about was, would he fill it with a pack of Henley's? CHURCH BELL TOLLS OK? Can you manage? NUNS SING Your votes have been counted.
May I present your new Mother Superior You have made your will known.
I am to serve you as your Superior.
May his will be done.
And may I come to accept it with his grace.
Bearing in mind our recent debate upon the rule of obedience, I trust Sister Winifred will not resist my request that she remain here, working with the children, whilst Sister Julienne must forthwith at once to Poplar and her work in Nonnatus House.
We will arrange for two new Sisters to join you in Poplar in due course.
What's all this? Fortification for your labours, which, on this occasion, have nothing to do with childbirth and everything to do with motherhood.
One bag of presents, all shopped for weeks ago by your loving hands.
And enough paper, sticky tape and ribbon to get them all wrapped up and ready for Christmas morning.
Then if we all get cracking, we'll be in time to send them to the North Pole for delivery by sleigh.
Thanks, all of you.
Merry Christmas.
Merry Christmas.
Merry Christmas, love.
SEWING MACHINE CLATTERS Hello, my love.
Erm .
.
Reggie and me have got something to tell you.
Well, unless it's going to be of some benefit to this nativity play, then I'm afraid it's of no interest to me.
Room for two more? Yes, please.
That one there.
You'd think it was Ben-Hur on ice, the way they're carrying on.
Are you sure you don't want to go with them for the ride? Vi, I told you, hang them up in the back of my van.
It's full of scrap timber and it's too close to the trailer, which smells.
Too many sprouts! Oh! I missed you all so much.
Is Miss Higgins here? All present and correct.
Oh, this is May, Angela.
Would you like to say hello? Hello.
Dr Turner? I've been having a word with your wife, Dr Turner, and she's now under orders to have a word with you.
Lena, I have a visitor for you.
Billy, step into the light where your sister can see you.
I took a picture of you with my mind.
But the window of the bus was so dirty.
I'm sorry I couldn't look after you.
I'm sorry I couldn't look after you.
I did all right, Lena.
Did you? Dr Barnardo's is all right.
I was good at my arithmetic.
Were you? Got a job down the weights and measures, married a girl from the typing pool.
No kids, but I made a nice life.
I'm glad.
Don't cry.
If I don't stop, the bus won't go.
You come home with me, and you bring the little 'un.
It's Christmas Day tomorrow, and we'll be together.
I'm not sure it'd stand up to a force nine gale, Fred, but I don't think they had much wind in Bethlehem.
They didn't have a donkey who was partial to Christmas veg either! Children! I've got a cherub without any tights on and a pair of trotters that haven't got a home, so can everybody please look at their feet and then look at the feet of the angel or animal next to them and put their hand up if something's gone wrong? You're going to look like the best-dressed king in the stable.
I think he might be the most loved.
I'd take all of them back with me if I could.
I would too.
A lot of them thrive here.
It's secure and stable.
They do well.
But Mother Mildred is adamant that any more time in a Home with a capital H instead of a small one would be very damaging for May.
It might well have damaged her already.
I just wish the people who want her could take her now.
We could take her now.
Not adopt her, just foster her, just for the few months she needs .
.
show her that there's a world that's just the right size, that there's a place where she will fit.
Or a space that she can fill.
I said we had no room for another living creature in our household, or our car.
It's an enormous car, and our life just keeps expanding.
There's room in it for everything that matters.
Look at you! MATURE JENNIFER: There are always angels everywhere.
Perhaps we only think to look for them at Christmas, when their wings can be seen, when their halos glow with light, but they are always there .
.
there in the quiet corners, there in the shadows, there in their ordinary clothes, and they are beautiful.
Make room for the angels, for they will catch you unawares, and fill your heart in ways you never could imagine.
DONKEY BRAYS LAUGHTER APPLAUSE Good evening.
Good evening.
Evening.
You have a gentleman caller, perhaps? No, Sister.
I couldn't bear to see you praying your way to the good Lord's birthday all alone.
You come with me.
Home in time for Christmas.
VOICES SING What's that? Come in! SINGING WITHIN # .
.
Hail the son of righteousness! # Light and life to all he brings # Risen with healing in his wings # Mild he lays his glory by # Born that man no more may die # Born to raise the sons of earth Born to give them second birth MATURE JENNIFER: None of us have ever truly walked this way before, but if there is no map, no route, no arrowhead to follow, there is sometimes a star, and we do not make our way without companions.
As the road unfolds, we travel side by side and share the shift from darkness into light.
.
.
Glory to the newborn King.
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Oh, that was gorgeous!