Adapted from the best-selling memoirs of Jennifer Worth by Heidi Thomas, ‘Call the Midwife’ follows the work of midwife Jenny Lee – ‘Lee’ was the maiden name of Jennifer Worth – and her colleagues in London’s East End as they form a community working as nurses at Nonnatus House. Set in the 1950s, this beloved BBC period drama centers on the women who are going about their day-to-day lives while struggling to find their place in the world in post-war east London. The show recounts their trials and tribulations as they navigate their personal and professional journeys.
Over the nine seasons, the show has painted an accurate and comprehensive picture of what it was like to try and make a change in the late 1950s, tackling issues such as cancer, dementia, abortion, homelessness, and prostitution. Depicting the necessitous and derelict conditions people had to endure at the time, the show has done a remarkable job not only in the storyline but also capturing that through the atmosphere they created. They stayed true to the timeline and earned the props in transporting the audience back to the late 1950s and early ‘60s with its striking sets, olde-worlde costumes, and the architecture. If you’ve ever wondered where the filming for ‘Call the Midwife’ took place, look no further.
Where is Call the Midwife Filmed?
From portraying Nonnatus House to the streets of east London, the production team has adeptly struck a fine balance between location shoots and studio sets. Call The Midwife has been mainly filmed in North and Central London, Kent, and Surrey.
The chapel in the St. Joseph’s College complex in north London was initially replicated as the Nonnatus House. In 2013, however, the production team was hastily relocated to another set when the North London location they used for Nonnatus House was transformed into luxury flats, which is currently listed on Foxtons as a four-bedroom property to rent for upwards of £ 48K.
To maintain the unique charm of ‘50s London in the show, the team took refuge at Longcross Film Studios in Surrey, which is close to Chertsey and not far from London. While the Nonnatus House scenes take place at the studio, many of the exterior scenes and other sites are filmed at Chatham Dockyard in Kent. The production team has once done created a brilliantly impressive exterior set which is equivalent to a time capsule, bound to send one straight into the ‘Call the Midwife’ universe and back into the early ‘60s.
Once a Ministry of Defense site, Longcross Studios is not a stranger to serving as a filming location. Movies such as ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’, ‘Skyfall’, ‘Thor: The Dark World’, ‘Fast & Furious 6’, and ‘Doctor Strange’ have previously been filmed here.
As for the exterior and outdoor scenes, The Historic Dockyard Chatham in Kent has been home for ‘Call the Midwife’ production since the very beginning of the show. Providing with gorgeously picturesque and period buildings for the show’s team to work with, the 400-year-old Dockyard in the South East is transformed to look like the East End.
Despite being 30 miles from Poplar, the Dockyard doubles as London’s East End pretty convincingly. The show now runs an official ‘Call the Midwife’ tour, which comprises a walk through key filming locations which include an exclusive exhibition of props, sets, and costumes used.
Perfect for the period backdrop, the Dockyard is also home to other TV and film production including ‘The Golden Compass’ (2007), Children of Men (2006), The Big Painting Challenge (2018), Sherlock Holmes (2011), Les Misérables (2013), Peterloo (2018), and many more.