The 2016 Christmas Special of Call the Midwife aired on Christmas Day 2016.
Mother Jesu Emmanuel rings Nonnatus House to inform Sister Julienne that Mother Felicity, who helped run Hope Clinic, a tiny mission hospital in Apartheid-era South Africa, has passed away and the clinic is threatened with closure due to lack of staff. She requests a small working party go to South Africa to save the clinic and run an urgent polio vaccination program. The party consists of Sisters Julienne and Winifred, Nurses Trixie, Barbara, and Phyllis, Reverend Tom Hereward and Fred, and are also joined by Dr. Patrick Turner and Shelagh Turner. Hope Clinic is run by one doctor, Dr. Myra Fitzsimmons, or Dr. Myra as the locals call her, and a handful of nuns.
One day, Tom is alarmed to learn that the clinic's water supply is full of clay and unhygienic, and the clinics patients need clean water, but a local landowner is unwilling to allow a pipeline across his land due to a longstanding grudge against Dr. Myra and the clinic. Things take a very serious turn when Dr. Myra suddenly becomes seriously ill, and with the clinic's water supply running dangerously low, the team from Nonnatus House find themselves in a race against time to save the clinic.
Dr. Myra convinces herself she has liver cancer and won't allow Patrick to examine her. Patrick believes Dr. Myra's self-diagnosis is wrong, but she won't let him near her. Shelagh is able to persuade her into the examination, and Patrick determines she has an abscess and drains it. However Dr. Myra's health continues to deteriorate. Dr. Myra also tells Sister Julienne the reason the landowner Mr. Starke won't allow a pipeline across his land: Mr. Starke blames Dr. Myra and her black patients for the death of his wife and child, believing they caught the diseases that killed them from Dr. Myra's patients. Sister Julienne goes to speak to Mr. Starke and tells him that unless he stops blaming Dr. Myra for what happened and will give permission for a pipeline across his land, more mothers and babies will die. Starke later comes to speak to Sister Julienne while she's tending to a newborn baby; he relents and a new spring is installed, giving the clinic clean water.
Phyllis is revealed to be afraid of spiders.
Miranda Hart was supposed to return as Chummy for this episode, but didn't. In February 2017, Hart revealed she'd been forced to pull out due to illness.
When Dr. Myra is telling Sister Julienne the reason for Mr. Starke's vendetta against Hope Clinic, she says she delivered Starke's wife of a baby boy. When he's talking to Sister Julienne near the end of the episode, he says the baby was a girl.
Barbara: Honestly, Trixie, I promise you nobody will know you haven't been able to set your hair. That hat covers a multitude of sins.
Trixie: (grumbling) It's the first time I've ever wished I had a wimple.
Songs featured Edit
The Loco-Motion by Little Eva
Dedicated to the One I Love by The Shirelles
Rubber Ball by Bobby Vee
Pata Pata by Miriam Makeba