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Call the Midwife series had to be rewritten after Miranda Hart's last minute exit

Gemma Strong

The new series of Call the Midwife had to undergo some major changes when star Miranda Hart was forced to pull out at the last moment. The 44-year-old actress, who plays loveable character Camilla 'Chummy' Browne, was unable to take part in series six of the medical drama because of her busy schedule - throwing a major spanner in the works for creator Heidi Thomas.

Speaking to the Radio Times, Heidi revealed that the season had initially been sketched out around Chummy's return, but ultimately had to be rewritten.

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Miranda Hart had to pull out of filming for series six of Call the Midwife

"We were thrilled when Miranda approached us, and I story-lined the series for her," she said. "But at relatively short notice she had to withdraw."

Asked how much notice she was given, Heidi replied: "I can't say, but it was short. We were hopeful right up until the end that we could make it work, but we couldn't.

"I just rewrote the series without Miranda in it, which was sad because we would have loved having her in it. She is part of the Call the Midwife family. But (this time) it wasn’t meant to be."

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The new season of Call the Midwife will begin on 22 January

Despite the setbacks, Call the Midwife has now finished filming and will begin airing on Sunday 22 January. The new series is set to tackle some gritty social issues, from domestic violence and parenting as a disabled person, to female genital mutilation, which Heidi said will be show in the proper historical and cultural context of the time. "We are a medical drama, not a moral drama," she added. "We are not judging this woman."