BBC hope Call The Midwife Christmas Special can beat Downton Abbey

The BBC have announced plans for a Christmas episode of hit drama Call The Midwife in a bid to win the festive ratings war with ITV after Downton Abbey outperformed EastEnders last year.

The show about a group of midwives in 1950s London will be returning for a second series next year after becoming the most successful debut series in BBC1’s history and the Beeb are keen to use its popularity to counter the might of Julian Fellowes’ period show on Christmas Day.

EastEnders attracted more viewers after the overnight figures were calculated in Christmas 2011, but the Downton Abbey Christmas Special scorched ahead when Catch-up services were taken into account. The final figures saw the BBC soap attracting 11.3 million people and the ITV drama getting 11.6 million, knocking EastEnders off the top for the first time in a couple of years.

Details about the Call The Midwife Christmas Special are thin on the ground, but the Beeb have confirmed that it will be written by by Heidi Thomas and will star all its series one cast.

Executive producer Pippa Harris said: “As the nights draw in and Christmas approaches, the residents of Nonnatus House pull together to celebrate the season in their own very special way.

“Christmas celebrates one particular birth, and so it’s especially fitting for BBC1 to pay a visit to these much loved characters, whose daily lives revolve around the joys and tribulations of childbirth.”

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