Frank and Peggy Hobson were a pair of middle-aged siblings who were featured in Series 1, Episode 5. Frank was portrayed by Sean Baker and Peggy by Elizabeth Rider.
Frank was a coster and Peggy worked as a cleaner at Nonnatus House. Unknown to most was that, despite being brother and sister, the two were in love, and had maintained a secret incestuous relationship for decades.
When Frank and Peggy were young children, they were sent to the workhouse, as they were orphans without any family. At only 7, Frank fought hard to keep him and Peggy together, but were "torn apart" when they went into the workhouse. Through the years, Peggy was said to have cried for him every night, whilst Frank never stopped looking for her. When Frank finally found her years later, he "worked day and night" to raise enough money to free Peggy from the workhouse, and when he did, they "clung to each other for dear life".
In Episode 5 of Series 1, Peggy is first shown rushing down to the docks to bring Frank his lunch, joking that he'd forget his head if he could. Frank laughs it off and the two say goodbye, Frank returning to his business on the docks and Peggy returning to clean at Nonnatus. Frank's apprentice, a young man named Tip, is shown, and he is very close with the two, seeming to be a son-like figure for the couple. As she is scrubbing the floors in Nonnatus, Nurse Lee stops to exchange pleasantries, and it is revealed that Frank has been ill the last while, though Peggy says it's only oyster poisoning. Just then, Fred's new pig comes into the hall, dirtying the floor, much to Peggy's discomfort. At seeing that Peggy will not meet her eyes, Jenny asks what was wrong, to which Peggy meekly replies that the floor are dirty again. Although Jenny assures her that it's alright, Peggy begins to scrub the floors again.
When Frank comes by to give the women of Nonnatus some of his purchases, he finds Peggy obsessively scrubbing the floors, muttering that she's sorry. Frank comforts her, knowing that her time in the workhouse has left scars. Frank brings her out of her terror and assures her that no-one will hurt her. He tells her that he's done early, and suggests they take the rest of the day off, starting with walking home along the riverside. Peggy smiles and it is made clear that the only one who knows how to calm her down is Frank.
Later in the day, at their modest, but happy little home, Frank and Peggy sit in their garden, drinking some wine. When Peggy remarks that she's been lying around all afternoon when there's work to be done, Frank says it's their holiday, and to pretend they're in Paris, looking out at the Seine. Peggy asks how he always knows "how to make everything better". Frank softly tells Peggy that he's known her longer than anyone else. As Frank leans back, he winces a little, though he tries to hide it, Peggy sees. She assures that sitting down doesn't suit him, and Frank gets up to tend to their garden. However, he suddenly doubles over in pain.
Fearfully, Peggy runs to a nearby telephone booth, ringing Nonnatus and saying that "her" Frank is ill. Sister Julienne rides to the house, and after examining Frank, she tells the two that Dr. Turner will insist that Frank go to the London Hospital, but Frank flat refuses. He says he "won't go in no institution" despite the Sister's assurances that it's only a hospital. When he tries to insist there isn't anything wrong with him, Peggy tells him that he won't have to worry about the results then, when he goes. Frank doesn't argue with his sister.
A few days later, at Nonnatus, Dr. Turner and Nurse Lee break the news to Peggy that Frank has pancreatic cancer, and that they must begin radium treatments right away. Peggy doesn't seem to understand how serious it is, and asks if a pancreas if one of those organs that you really need, or if it can be taken out, like an appendix.
The gravity of the situation begins to sink in, when Jenny tells Peggy that the radium will "hopefully" stop the cancer from growing. Dr. Turner insists that Frank stay in the hospital during treatment, but Peggy says he'd refuse, no matter what she says. When Frank is admitted to the hospital, both siblings are very nervous, and when Frank is called forward, he stops and looks back at Peggy, only going on when she nods encouragingly. Peggy is next seen praying in Nonnatus chapel.
Weeks later, Frank returns home, obviously ill due to treatment. When Tip comes by to visit, it is shown that he is very close with Tip, although they are technically boss and employee. When Tip asks if he will be back at the stall in a month, Frank says yes and tell the young man to enjoy his "moment in the sun" as the stall runner.
Sister Julienne and Nurse Lee arrive and tell Peggy that Frank is dying, the treatment having no effect, and ask if keeping the truth from his is best. Peggy says knowing he is dying would kill him quicker. When Frank starts to get sick, the Sister and nurse bring him back inside from the garden, and give him morphine for the pain.
As Nurse Lee cleans out the bowl in the bathroom, she notices that there's only one bedroom, and that on either side of the bed, there are items. She correctly assumes that the siblings share a bed. Aghast, Jenny brings the information to Sister Julienne, but the Sister avoids the fact, simply stating that everthing is "just as they need it for their little bit of peace". When Jenny remarks "you know...", the Sister goes on to say that love has made the two richer.
Still dismayed, Jenny brings it to her fellow nurses, only for Sister Evangelina to overhear. The nurses judge Peggy and Frank, and in anger, the Sister comes in and explains Frank and Peggy's history in the workhouse. The Sister says "their love was the only good thing that ever came out of that place". When Cynthia protest by saying "it's incest", Sister Evangelina says "there was nothing left of family, the minute they walked through those gates (meaning into the workhouse)".
During a home visit with Frank, he correctly guesses that he's dying. Unable to deny this, Jenny says yes. Frank, mirroring Peggy from earlier, says not to tell his sister, as it would destroy her to know. He explains to Jenny that until he dies, he and Peggy can enjoy the little pleasures of life that mean the "world" to them.
At the same moment, Peggy cries with Sister Julienne that she doesn't know how to be without Frank. The Sister says to "draw strength from knowing you will meet him again". Jenny sees the exchange and begins to see how deep Frank and Peggy's love runs.
A few days later, Peggy holds Frank's hand as he dies, with Jenny in the room to confirm it. Peggy is devastated. As Peggy prepares Frank for the coroner, she explains to Jenny that she and Frank were more than brother and sister, closer than husband and wife. She says even though the workhouse never really left her, being with Frank was their "little bit of perfect". Peggy asks the nurse to wait until morning to call the undertaker, and the nurse agrees.
As Peggy walks through her now empty house, she picks up the crossword Frank had been working on, finding a message from him. It reads "Don't think of me as gone, my love. I will always watch over you. I will always keep you safe".
That night, Peggy, with Frank's body still in the bed, reads to him. When she is done, she crawls under the covers, and curls up against him.
The next morning, as promised, Sister Julienne and Nurse Lee arrive with the undertakers, and when no one answers the door, they go in to find Peggy dead next to Frank, having committed suicide with morphine. Jenny is distraught, thinking she should have known, should have done something. Sister Julienne says there was no way to know what Peggy might have done, and that even if they'd stayed with her 24/7, Peggy would never have recovered. As Sister Julienne kneels to pray for the two, she says that Peggy is at peace now, "perhaps for the first time".
In voice-over, Jenny says that there was no part of Peggy and Frank's house that didn't have love in it. She goes on to say that Frank and Peggy kept the ugliness of the world at bay by loving each other. Jenny says that Peggy and Frank's love showed her that there are no separate "versions" of love, only love, and that "it was worth searching for, even if that search took a lifetime".