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S09.00: Christmas Special 2019

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Mother Mildred and the Nonnatus House team head to the Outer Hebrides in response to a nursing shortage.

Airs December 25, 2019.

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Will this be in the UK and US? I will keep a lookout for it on Netflix and PBS.

Liked this clip:

Edited by debraran
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I've already set my dvr for the episode--9pm eastern on my local PBS station.  I watch it as soon as I get home from Christmas dinner at my friend's house.

I can hardly wait to see it!!

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So glad to see our friends again.

Near the beginning the caption identified the music as Jingle Bells but it was actually Sleigh Ride.

I hope someone explained to Reggie that he will always have his record, even though someone may exceed it later.

The doctor's mention of Scunthorpe reminded me of the Scunthorpe Problem, "the unintentional blocking of websites, e-mails, forum posts or search results by a spam filter or search engine because their text contains a string of letters that appear to have an obscene or otherwise unacceptable meaning."

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The girl playing Effie had the most beautiful red hair. Loved how Phyllis helped her. 
Man, those must have been fundamentalist Presbyterians! Nice that the whole community pitched in with the paper chains.

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8 hours ago, zoey1996 said:

Just finished watching.  My heart is full.  More after reflection.

Me too, I really needed this show today. Loved it and the warmth it brought. I was too tired to watch it last night but this morning it was a perfect addition to a hot cup of coffee and a way to decompress from any stress.

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8 hours ago, LittleIggy said:

The girl playing Effie had the most beautiful red hair. Loved how Phyllis helped her. 
Man, those must have been fundamentalist Presbyterians! Nice that the whole community pitched in with the paper chains.

Do Presbyterians not put up a tree? 

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45 minutes ago, libgirl2 said:

Do Presbyterians not put up a tree? 

Most do. These were likely a very specific type of Presbyterian, Scottish Presbyterians or "Covenanters"; they don't put up trees or do much with Christmas or other "liturgical" holidays. "Fundamentalist" isn't really the right term to describe them (other than in the overly broad "serious about their faith" way that it is often used today). 

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20 minutes ago, Dawn said:

Most do. These were likely a very specific type of Presbyterian, Scottish Presbyterians or "Covenanters"; they don't put up trees or do much with Christmas or other "liturgical" holidays. "Fundamentalist" isn't really the right term to describe them (other than in the overly broad "serious about their faith" way that it is often used today). 

Interesting. Thanks! 

9 hours ago, LittleIggy said:

The girl playing Effie had the most beautiful red hair. Loved how Phyllis helped her. 
Man, those must have been fundamentalist Presbyterians! Nice that the whole community pitched in with the paper chains.

Her hair was gorgeous! I would love mine to look like that. I have the curls but not the color. And I can't dye it that color as I am allergic to hair dye. 

42 minutes ago, jschoolgirl said:

OK, who else thought Sister Monica Joan would pass away when she saw the white stag?

They managed to find the most expressive white stag out there! 

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Can someone summarize the last half hour.  I had to miss the end with no way to record it. The last bit I saw was the young girl getting the bottle from the wall and Dr Turner telling the husband about his experience in the war performing an appendectomy.

What were the woman of the village doing in the scene where they singing?  The mom said she was going what sounded like "tweeding". 

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I'm wondering the same thing about the village (island) women. Looks like they were doing something with fabric but what???? Scots tweed?

One of my grandmas was an Effie--that was so weird to hear last night.

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39 minutes ago, elle said:

What were the woman of the village doing in the scene where they singing?  The mom said she was going what sounded like "tweeding". 

It wasn't familiar to me either.  I thought the mom said 'walking the tweed', but google helpfully corrected me.  It's 'waulking the tweed' and here's a video.  (You learn something new every day):  

 

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2 hours ago, jschoolgirl said:

OK, who else thought Sister Monica Joan would pass away when she saw the white stag?

Raises hand.  I'm glad she's still with us, and also glad that she's found peace.  Not that she ever lost it, but she'd been troubled and now that she's seen the stag, she'll be okay.

I thought the episode was a bit over-stuffed but that's okay.  It's been so long, it was nice to see everyone again.

 

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7 minutes ago, AuntiePam said:

Raises hand.  I'm glad she's still with us, and also glad that she's found peace.  Not that she ever lost it, but she'd been troubled and now that she's seen the stag, she'll be okay.

I thought the episode was a bit over-stuffed but that's okay.  It's been so long, it was nice to see everyone again.

 

It wasn't my favorite Holiday special but like you said, it was nice to see everyone again. 

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17 minutes ago, libgirl2 said:

It wasn't my favorite Holiday special but like you said, it was nice to see everyone again. 

Not quite everyone. Where was Tim?! All of the other Turner children were there and there were references to their care. But, no Tim. I guess they couldn't get the actor, but some kind of throw away, "You will keep the younger children while Dr. and Mrs. Turner are away. Tim is going to stay with a friend." line would have been nice. 

I loved Effie's hair. She reminded me of Merida. 

To answer the question above, I was raised Presbyterian. We're descended from Scots that came to the US centuries ago. We always had a tree and a full Christmas celebration, at home and at church. Though, there is a lot of American influence on PCUSA. But, early Presbyterians did not celebrate Christmas or any other "feast days." Too Catholic! And of course Yule celebrations were too Pagan! My understanding is that Christmas really wasn't celebrated in Scotland (at least not widely) until the late 1930s and it wasn't a public holiday until 1971. As the people on the Hebrides would be less influenced by non-Scots than others, I could see them not being too into Christmas. 

Some info:  https://blog.nrscotland.gov.uk/2018/12/10/christmas-banned-in-scotland/

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3 minutes ago, HerLadyship said:

Not quite everyone. Where was Tim?! All of the other Turner children were there and there were references to their care. But, no Tim. I guess they couldn't get the actor, but some kind of throw away, "You will keep the younger children while Dr. and Mrs. Turner are away. Tim is going to stay with a friend." line would have been nice. 

 

I was wondering about Tim! 

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12 minutes ago, HerLadyship said:

Not quite everyone. Where was Tim?! All of the other Turner children were there and there were references to their care. But, no Tim. I guess they couldn't get the actor, but some kind of throw away, "You will keep the younger children while Dr. and Mrs. Turner are away. Tim is going to stay with a friend." line would have been nice. 

I loved Effie's hair. She reminded me of Merida. 

To answer the question above, I was raised Presbyterian. We're descended from Scots that came to the US centuries ago. We always had a tree and a full Christmas celebration, at home and at church. Though, there is a lot of American influence on PCUSA. But, early Presbyterians did not celebrate Christmas or any other "feast days." Too Catholic! And of course Yule celebrations were too Pagan! My understanding is that Christmas really wasn't celebrated in Scotland (at least not widely) until the late 1930s and it wasn't a public holiday until 1971. As the people on the Hebrides would be less influenced by non-Scots than others, I could see them not being too into Christmas. 

Some info:  https://blog.nrscotland.gov.uk/2018/12/10/christmas-banned-in-scotland/

I was disappointed by the lack of at least a Tim reference, too.  He is one of my favorites!  I wish they would give him a good storyline for the upcoming season.  

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Having no idea of Tim's age, I wondered if he had gone away to college, but they should have mentioned him.

Dr. Turner seemed less enthusiastic about living in the Hebrides after he had to do the appendectomy.  Maybe he listened to his wife too.

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I have to question Mother Mildred's wisdom in trying to set up the order in a place known to be "the last bastion of Sabbath observance in the UK" when the southern islands on the other hand are predominantly Catholic (aka not touched by Reformation). Anglican nuns and Christmas trees would have been much more welcome there. The mothership of those currently popular Celtic blessings - the Carmina Gadelica - was collected  there in the 19th century by Alexander Carmichael. And it contains a whole chapter dedicated to 'Waulking Songs'.

I live in a place close to one of those fabled sightings of a white stag. But I've never managed to see one myself. I definitely lack sister Monica's devotion.

Nurse Crane continues to rule - her and Trixie's plot was superb (as was Trixi's coat). Eilidh Fisher (Effie) was simply stunning despite the make-up department doing its best to make her look miserable. 

I really liked how they made the location part of the story. Lucille's speech about islands and people who can't leave and people who must leave was really poignant.

I give the episode four out of five hankies 😁

 

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Very interesting article on filming, the lighthouse (which i loved) the place they stayed during filming vs the "real" place they stayed.

https://www.radiotimes.com/news/tv/2019-12-25/call-the-midwife-2019-christmas-special-filming-locations/

 

Max Macmillan (Tim) was mentioned in articles on Xmas special to be in it, but maybe it was too hard to schedule it. I agree, a throw-a-way line is seconds to say and doesn't leave loose ends.

Edited by debraran
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4 hours ago, elle said:

Can someone summarize the last half hour.  I had to miss the end with no way to record it. The last bit I saw was the young girl getting the bottle from the wall and Dr Turner telling the husband about his experience in the war performing an appendectomy.

Where are you? If in the US, you can stream the episode here.

My great-grandparents were very strict Presbyterians, and would not have had Christmas trees or anything but religious service for the holidays (in early-twentieth-century Canada).

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3 hours ago, MissLucas said:

was superb (as was Trixi's coat

How did she pack that? Along with the white puff and hat, I didn't notice her wearing that on the train.  Loved that coat!!

Too many plots in the episode but I find that in all their episodes,  but at least no one died in this Christmas special although they seemed to tease us that sister MJ would or one of the Turner kids would fall down the stairs at Nonnatus house and become paralyzed. 

 

Merry Christmas!

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Loved it!  Any outlander fans?  I swear the wool/tweed waulking song was the same from the scene in outlander.  I wondered if some of the actresses were the same because I thought the voices sounded similar too!

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12 hours ago, jschoolgirl said:

OK, who else thought Sister Monica Joan would pass away when she saw the white stag?

Me.  I thought the scene with her and the stag was quite lovely, but that was in part because I thought it was supposed to represent some kind of ending for the character.  I truly thought we might get some kind of moment, similar to Sister Evangeline, where the character gets one last moment of glory, then dies peacefully in her sleep.  

 

9 hours ago, Driad said:

Dr. Turner seemed less enthusiastic about living in the Hebrides after he had to do the appendectomy.  Maybe he listened to his wife too.

That was a really random subplot.  I never thought of Dr. Turner as being quite so self-centered, but he just seemed to be throwing out that idea at Shelagh as though he hadn't really considered her or the children's feelings at all. 

I didn't love the special.  I thought they were trying too hard to give every single cast member something to do, when the special would have benefited from a more narrow focus, so it ended up as kind of a boring mess, to me, at least.   

 

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Yep, MM's premise was rather odd. The women were coming off colds so she wants to take them to a crazy cold climate to "recuperate" & set up a clinic. Shrug. Seems weird to me.

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8 hours ago, caitmcg said:

Where are you? If in the US, you can stream the episode here.

Thank you. Unfortunately, the video was jumping all over the place.  Luckily, my relative found it on demand for me.

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11 hours ago, AuntiePam said:

Raises hand.  I'm glad she's still with us, and also glad that she's found peace.  Not that she ever lost it, but she'd been troubled and now that she's seen the stag, she'll be okay.

They just had to get in another "Sister Monica Joan is unstable" plot, I am soooo sick of them. I wish they would just let her die or go to the Mother House & be done with her character.

11 hours ago, libgirl2 said:

It wasn't my favorite Holiday special but like you said, it was nice to see everyone again. 

It wasn't mine either, I just didn't connect with any of the stories, & don't really have any idea what Effie's problem was. I was disappointed & kind of bored with the episode. It felt forced getting everyone into a "fish out of water" situation.

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16 minutes ago, GaT said:

They just had to get in another "Sister Monica Joan is unstable" plot, I am soooo sick of them. I wish they would just let her die or go to the Mother House & be done with her character.

Except this one wasn't really.   She manipulate people all over the place to get what she wanted in this episode and played off the fact that they all know she's had some pretty significant senior lapses in the past, but this time she was lucid throughout.  

 

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1 hour ago, rhys said:

The women were coming off colds so she wants to take them to a crazy cold climate to "recuperate" & set up a clinic.

Yeah, and not only that, but they all come dressed like they're going to, well, someplace that's not cold, windy and incredibly rural/remote. Sheer stockings, heels, fancy hats and fur trimmed coats? I know it's supposed to be 1963 (based on the use of 'Hippy Hippy Shake' by the Swinging Blue Jeans, released December of that year), but I was a kid then, and women were commonly wearing pants, socks and boots in public by then!

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I didn't get to watch it till last night.  It was  a nice reward after a day of cleaning up  and doing laundry after the company left. 

I loved the beauty of the Outer Hebrides as much as Dr. Turner did, but l wouldn't want to deal with that cold wind all year.

I liked Sister Monica Joan's story best.  I love the way she leaves all the authority figures, like the train conductor, bewildered.  Her running away, note, "No need to trouble your conscience or the constabulary."  Heh.  Yes, I was afraid she would die after seeing the white stag, but I'm glad she didn't.

It's probably a good thing they don't do Christmas trees in those islands or they wouldn't have any left by now.  I guess I'm spoiled with bright lights, ribbons and sparkling ornaments because the tree with the paper chains didn't look worth the loss of a tree to me.

The midwives singing, "In the Bleak Midwinter," was my favorite part.

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5 hours ago, bybrandy said:

Except this one wasn't really.   She manipulate people all over the place to get what she wanted in this episode and played off the fact that they all know she's had some pretty significant senior lapses in the past, but this time she was lucid throughout.  

While I know the show has played fast and loose with her condition, Sister Monica Joan's actions in the past have not been "senior lapses."  For example, in an earlier Christmas special, Sister Monica Joan wandered away from Nonatus House, sent everyone into a high state of panic and nearly died from exposure as part of some quixotic quest to return to her childhood home.       

5 hours ago, sempervivum said:

I know it's supposed to be 1963 (based on the use of 'Hippy Hippy Shake' by the Swinging Blue Jeans, released December of that year), but I was a kid then, and women were commonly wearing pants, socks and boots in public by then!

I believe the letter Mother Mildred was reading where the village told her the former hostel they were using was going to be used for some other purpose was dated December 1964.

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I thought Trixie was not only foolish, but for one time only, making a fashion faux pas to be wearing cream colored heels with that dark red, fur trimed coat.  In 1963-64 stylish young girls like Trixie were wearing tight knee-high boots and that would have looked and felt so much better.

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4 hours ago, JudyObscure said:

 

The midwives singing, "In the Bleak Midwinter," was my favorite part.

I enjoyed that hymn also.  It also was featured in a 1st season episode of The Crown.  As George VI and his family were celebrating Christmas at Sandringham, the villagers came in sinhgng that song.  A young girl gave the King a homemade paper crown, and he joined in singing the hymn.

I must admit that I belived that when Sister Monica Joan saw the white stag, I thought she was a goner.  I also worried about where was Timothy Turner?...

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This episode seemed a little disjointed, maybe because of the two locations, but I still enjoyed it.  And yes, of course it made me cry more than once.

In The Bleak Midwinter is one of the few (relatively) modern Christmas songs I actually like, and it sounded lovely here.

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On ‎12‎/‎26‎/‎2019 at 12:55 AM, LittleIggy said:

The girl playing Effie had the most beautiful red hair. Loved how Phyllis helped her. 
Man, those must have been fundamentalist Presbyterians! Nice that the whole community pitched in with the paper chains.

They were more uptight than American Presbyterians, who totally would've been down with displaying pagan shrubbery, lol.  (At least since the 70s, when I remember my mother taking me to the Presbyterian church her parents attended - definitely a Christmas tree and other decorations in the church hall.  Although my aunt couldn't have used the Wagner wedding march when she got married, but that was just the particular minister, which is why she got married in the Methodist church down the street.)

On ‎12‎/‎26‎/‎2019 at 12:49 PM, HerLadyship said:

Not quite everyone. Where was Tim?! All of the other Turner children were there and there were references to their care. But, no Tim. I guess they couldn't get the actor, but some kind of throw away, "You will keep the younger children while Dr. and Mrs. Turner are away. Tim is going to stay with a friend." line would have been nice. 

Maybe he's at school?  How old is he now anyway?

16 hours ago, txhorns79 said:

That was a really random subplot.  I never thought of Dr. Turner as being quite so self-centered, but he just seemed to be throwing out that idea at Shelagh as though he hadn't really considered her or the children's feelings at all. 

I think he was just so overwhelmed at the beauty of the place at first that he didn't really think it through.  After the emergency appendectomy which took him back to his pre-breakdown self, and emphasized the difficulties any doctor there would face, I think he realized he was romanticism the idea of living there.

Edited by proserpina65
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I'm amazed at how much I've fallen in love with this show in such a short period of time. Especially considering that I missed the first 6-7 seasons.

No, taking the ladies to Scotland to recuperate from colds did NOT make any sense.

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I really loved the bagpipe version of the theme song when they arrived in Scotland and I wish I could have it for my ringtone.

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1 hour ago, Camille said:

No, taking the ladies to Scotland to recuperate from colds did NOT make any sense.

This did not make sense. I also wondered how Mother Mildred could command the nurses to go.  They don't report to her.  (ignoring the whole "no one tells her no")  

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Finally found time to watch this. Not my favorite Christmas episode, but still better than nearly anything else on tv.  Phyllis remains the absolute best. 

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On 12/26/2019 at 9:50 PM, txhorns79 said:

That was a really random subplot.  I never thought of Dr. Turner as being quite so self-centered, but he just seemed to be throwing out that idea at Shelagh as though he hadn't really considered her or the children's feelings at all.

Agreed, it was very stupid. As he is a doctor and his wife is a nurse, I can kind of see the logic and the romanticism. But, they have four children -- possibly two of whom would be okay with this. Teddy and Angela might not be thrilled, as they get older, to be on an island off the coast of Scotland. But, they'd probably be okay. Tim is old enough that it would be a huge blow. He has a school and friends in London that he would have to leave behind. And Mae would never fit in. She would be in the position of never encountering anyone who looks like her and would likely (in the 1960s and 1970s) always be treated as an outsider. The whole idea of Dr. Turner uprooting the family without actually talking about it with Shelagh, or really, even thinking past "this beach is nice" was really stupid. I don't know why they bothered to include it. They could have had the bit with him nervous about the appendectomy and reliving his war medicine days without it. It just made him look like a thoughtless ass. 

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On 12/26/2019 at 5:47 PM, morgan said:

Loved it!  Any outlander fans?  I swear the wool/tweed waulking song was the same from the scene in outlander.  I wondered if some of the actresses were the same because I thought the voices sounded similar too!

The song in Outlander is “Mo Nighean Donn”.

The one in Call the Midwife is “He Mo Leannan”, which delighted me, as it’s a Gaelic waulking song I actually knew! My dad taught Gaelic songs phonetically to me and my sister when we were little, and it’s fun to see where they pop up!

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I didn't think Dr. Turner did anything wrong. He was just thinking about applying for the job, it's not like he made a final decision without talking it over.  Surely he's allowed to think about something without getting permission first.

 He was drawn to the beauty of the area but also felt called to a place that had no doctor at all. I wouldn't call that self-centered. He might also want to do something besides deliver babies for a change and he would be an all around general practitioner in Scotland. 

 I don't agree that it would be bad for the family either.  In a few years all of London is going to be a swinging, Mod scene with lots of drugs, dropping out and danger for young people.

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