CHRISTOPHER STEEVENS examines this weekend’s TV. Call The Midwife is a great show with gritty, nostalgia and gangsters

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All Creatures Great & Small


Nobby, Crusher and the boys are just dropping round to wish you Season’s Greetings. Ho ho bleedin’ ho and all that.

Lahvley hangs out on the tree you have, and it’s a shame that anything terrible happened.

The Nonnatus House nuns met up with the Kray Twins on Call The Midwife (BBC1) to have a chat after Dr Turner (Stephen McGann), called him out for a guy with a terrible neck. . . The kind of neck problem that can befall a geezer when others start to waving hatchets about. ‘Is it his jugular, Doc?’ worried his gangland godfather, Charlie Page (Jack Myers).

The doctor turned down a new whistle-and-flute, offered as a token of the gang’s gratitude, but a hamper of goodies arrived next day at the surgery.

Heidi Thomas, a writer fell into the trap of seeing the violence and brutality of 1960s London in the same way that Michael Caine does with his Mini Cooper. Charlie even made toast with cheese for Anita’s pregnant mother, following the instructions of his beloved mum.

This feature-length episode pulled back from the brink of glorifying the villains, when Anita (Rosie Day) was revealed to be hiding a heroin habit

The episode was a feature length and pulled away from glorifying villains when Anita Rosie Day revealed that she had a heroin addiction.

Anita Rose Day (Rosie Day), a heroin addict, saved this episode from being glorified. While some scenes in the episode were graphic and not for families, it is obvious that Call The Midwife requires a strong stomach as well as a steady hand.

Miriam Margolyes, as Mother Mildred, surprised everyone by knowing what to do for a baby suffering from opiate withdrawal — a trick she picked up in Hong Kong.

A pungent observation was made about Sister Julienne, Jenny Agutter and Brussels sprouts. Mim insists on infusing every role with a little bit of wind.

We want nostalgia from the show and this episode was just that. Mother M read A Christmas Carol to enthralled children, Nurse Crane (Linda Bassett) clip-clopped coconuts shells at the cubs’ nativity play, Max Bygraves crooned Tulips From Amsterdam from the Dansette and Reggie (Daniel Laurie) helped build a snowman before acting as best man at the Boxing Day wedding.

The nostalgia almost went too far, as Dr Turner used a squirming grey leech to treat Nurse Lucille’s black eye. That’s not Memory Lane, it’s medieval.

However, it was a success and Lucille & Cyril (Leonie Eil and Zephryn Tette) were a happy couple as they cut their cake.

Nearly-weds James and Helen (Nicholas Ralph and Rachel Shenton) kept the nostalgia bubbling in All Creatures Great And Small (C5) as they bundled everyone over for Christmas dinner with Mrs Pumphry and Tricki Woo

James and Helen (Nicholas Ralph, Rachel Shenton) were nearly-weds. They kept the memories bubbling in All Creatures Great and Small (C5) when they invited everyone over to Christmas dinner with Mrs Pumphry & Tricki Woo.

James and Helen (Nicholas Ralph, Rachel Shenton) were nearly-weds. They kept all the memories bubbling in All Creatures Great and Small (C5) by inviting everyone to their Christmas meal with Mrs Pumphry (Tricki Woo), and bundled them up for it.

Patricia Hodge, who plays the grand Mrs P, summed up the appeal of the show during filming this year: ‘Living in a time of seismic change, as we are now, nostalgia’s a big thing. I think it’s a comfort blanket.’

Naturally, there was also kisses underneath the mistletoe or frosts upon the moors. There was even a knee-trembler inside the pantry with Tristan’s barmaid (Callum Woodhouse).

Much was made of James’s homesickness, with a long-distance call to his parents — crammed into a phone box in Glasgow. This touching example of how viruses and many other things conspire to separate families at Christmas was poignant.

With warplanes flying overhead, it was obvious that the sad ending to the episode wasn’t necessary. We didn’t need a reminder of looming war. Everyone has enough to do this year.