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Call the Midwife viewers 'sobbing' after fan favourite character nearly dies in dramatic episode

Fred Buckle was left fighting for his life in hospital

Helen George as Trixie Franklin and Cliff Parisi as Fred Buckle in Call the Midwife
Nicky Morris
TV and film writer
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Call the Midwife viewers were left "sobbing" during Sunday night's episode, which saw fan favourite character Fred Buckle narrowly escape death. The shopkeeper, played by Cliff Parisi, came close to dying after being diagnosed with tetanus following a cut to his hand. 

Near the beginning of the episode, Fred suffered a minor injury to his hand whilst repairing a lawnmower. While he initially seemed fine, he later collapsed during a visit to Nonnatus House. 

WATCH: Meet the cast of Call the Midwife

Nurse Trixie Franklin soon diagnosed Fred with tetanus, which she warned could be fatal. Despite being treated with penicillin, Fred's health continued to decline and he was quickly put on a ventilator in intensive care, where he remained unresponsive. 

Cliff Parisi as Fred Buckle in Call the Midwife© Neal Street Productions/Domizia Salusest
Cliff Parisi plays Fred Buckle in Call the Midwife

Thankfully, during a hospital visit from his son Reggie and Sister Monica Joan, Fred made a miraculous recovery and managed to open his eyes. While Fred faces a long road of recovery ahead, it looks like he's not going anywhere. 

Taking to X, fans expressed their relief over Fred's recovery. One viewer penned: "@CallTheMidwife1 was on top form tonight! Bawled like a baby watching Fred in the hospital. Reggie & Violet need a hug," while another added: "I'm so glad Fred pulled through I was fully sobbing."

A third person wrote: "Sobbed my way through a good 45 minutes of @CallTheMidwife1. I've now realised I'm not emotionally ready for anything to happen to any of them. Especially Fred!" while a fourth was also in tears, adding: " #Callthemidwife another excellent episode which had me sobbing from start to finish. There's no way you can lose Fred a total fighter."

Helen George as Trixie Franklin and Cliff Parisi as Fred Buckle in Call the Midwife© Neal Street Productions
Fred narrowly escaped death in the latest episode

Many fans also pleaded with the show not to kill off any beloved characters. One person asked: "Can we make a clear rule going forward please @BBCOne? Some characters are not to be messed with, these clearly include Fred, and of course Dr Turner @StephenMcGann. The nation can't take it #CallTheMidwife."

A second added: "#CallTheMidwife dear production team, unwritten rule. Nothing… that is NOTHING bad is to happen to Fred or Sister Monica Joan, I just couldn't deal with it."

Cliff Parisi as Fred Buckle in Call the Midwife© Neal Street Productions/Olly Courtney
Fans were relieved when Fred pulled through

In previous seasons of the popular period drama, fans have been left heartbroken by the shocking deaths of cherished characters, including Nurse Barbara and Sister Evangelina. 

Back in season seven, Nurse Barbara, played by Charlotte Ritchie, was diagnosed with septicaemia after contracting meningitis and tragically passed away. 

charlotte ritchie ctm 1© Photo: BBC
Fans were heartbroken when Nurse Barbara died in series seven

Similarly, Sister Evangelina (Pam Ferris) met her tragic end after suffering a stroke in the season five finale. 

Fans clearly still haven't forgotten the heart-rending deaths, with Fred's near demise serving as a reminder. Taking to X on during Sunday's episode, one person wrote: "This is a Barbara and Sister Evangelina level tragic episode."

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