Call The Midwife’s eighth series came to an end with a tear-jerking close to the illegal abortion storyline.
The latest series of the BBC drama about midwives in the East End in the 1960s has shone a light on the issue.
One story focused on a pregnant mother who did not think she could cope with another baby. Because it was illegal to have a termination at the time, Jeannie went to a backstreet clinic, but developed an infection after the procedure and died.
In the moving series finale on Sunday night, Valerie’s grandmother Elsie (Ann Mitchell) admitted in court that she had been running an illegal abortion clinic.
When Valerie (Jennifer Kirby) went to visit her in prison, she told her granddaughter: “Until you girls with all your training and all your learning sort something out with the men who make the law, there will be names being whispered and money changing hands in every back street in England.
“Because when lives go wrong, we can put them right.”
Viewers said they were in floods of tears over the emotional scenes.
One person posted on Twitter: “So the tears fall, for the sadness and beauty of the episode and the sadness that once again the most beautiful show has come to an end. Thank you, all of you, the writers and cast you make our lives complete and bring such love and happiness. Till Christmas.”
“Sunday isn’t Sunday without an hour of tears from 8pm; #CallTheMidwife has always been consistently brilliant, but this series has been a class apart,” said another.
Other viewers praised the BBC for tackling the subject, and said it underlined why all women should be able to have the procedure done legally.
One person posted: “CallTheMidwife wraps up this season brilliantly. I cried at the final scene between Valerie and her grandmother. Such an important story to tell, how abortion needs to remain safe and legal, so that this never happens again.”
“Abortion history needs to be taught in schools, it needs to be talked about, we can’t forget the struggle to legalise safe abortions,” said another.
It has just been announced that Call The Midwife has been renewed for two more series.
Series nine had already been announced and the BBC has now said there will also be a 10th and 11th season.