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S08E08 is the eighth episode of the eighth series and the 69th episode overall of Call the Midwife. It originally aired on 3 March 2019 in the UK.


As Shelagh plans a ball to raise money for new medical equipment, Valerie must come to terms with recent events, while Sister Hilda assists a terminally ill young woman.


The episode begins where the previous one left off with Valerie sat smoking in Nonnatus House in shock at learning her grandmother's shocking secret. Trixie comes downstairs in her nightgown and finds Valerie trying to clean the ash and blood out of her uniform. Trixie tells Valerie they're going to have to report what happened. They first tell Sister Julienne, and later they talk to the police. Sergeant Woolf asks Valerie for a recent photograph of Elsie. Valerie gets a photo of herself with Elsie and cuts it in half. The police show the half with Elsie to Teresa Banley, the young woman Elsie had performed the abortion on the the last episode and she confirms Elsie as the perpetrator and Elsie is arrested. However, Elsie is defiant in her actions and pleads not guilty, meaning Valerie will have to go to court and testify against her own grandmother.

Violet informs Fred that Reggie is being sent home early due to an outbreak of whooping cough, and they rush to the station to meet him. Meanwhile the day the Turners have been dreading arrives as May is sent off to her adopted family. Sister Hilda has a new patient, Julie Schroeder, a seventeen-year-old girl who is terminally ill with Hodgkin's disease and has some painful burns from her radiotherapy. Also, Julie's mother Ena is heavily pregnant with her fifth child. Julie's step-father, Alfred, was a German prisoner-of-war.

Valerie's moral dilemma is made worse when her cousin Maureen comes into the clinic and chastises her for going to the police about Elsie and accuses her of turning her back on her own family until she is escorted off the premises by Lucille. Reggie is aloof, and he admits to Fred he misses his girlfriend Jane. Reggie also realises Fred is having problems of his own, but he is reluctant to consult the doctor. Reggie takes a note for Dr. Turner to the surgery telling him Fred has a sore bladder. Patrick approaches Fred, who says he fears he may have prostate cancer. Patrick convinces Fred to come to the surgery for a check-up. At the surgery, Patrick examines Fred and determines it's an infection, not cancer. Shelagh then dashes into the surgery and tells Patrick that May's adoption has fallen through due to the father of the family relapsing, and a Hong Kong project worker took her back to the Mother House, so Patrick and Shelagh go to Chichester and bring May home.

Sister Julienne announces that Teresa Banley has been granted a medical exemption certificate and will not be testifying against Elsie. Sister Frances realises the only person who could help put Elsie away is Cath Hindman, the aspiring model who had a back-street abortion and had to have a hysterectomy as a result of the infection the procedure had left her with. Sisters Frances and Monica Joan visit Cath's sister, Lesley Whyte, who explains Cath went to live up west and she hasn't seen her since because Cath says every time she sees Lesley's face, she sees that bathroom. The two Sisters, however, are able to track Cath down and persuade her to testify against Elsie.

Ena Schroeder goes into labour, and Lucille tends to her while Sister Hilda talks with Alfred, who tells Sister Hilda how his sister Bertha died from starvation when she was only five, the same age Julie was when Ena met him. Ena gives birth to a baby girl.

As Elsie's trial begins, Valerie dreads having to testify against her, but then Cath arrives with Lesley, saying that "Too much has gone on behind closed doors". Cath tells the court about her ordeal, and how she still lives with the consequences of her decision to have the abortion. After Cath finishes telling her story, the judge declares no further witnesses will be called. Trixie rushes out of the court and tells Valerie she doesn't have to testify. Elsie then changes her plea to guilty, and she is sentenced to six years in prison.

After several weeks in hospital, Phyllis returns to Nonnatus House. Shelagh plans to launch a fundraising drive, with the first event being the Ballroom of Hope. On the night of the event, the first dance is the Fathers and Daughters Waltz. Julie Schroeder gets to live out her dream of going to a dance, and Violet brings Reggie's girlfriend Jane to the event.



Valerie Dyer
Beatrix Franklin
Lucille Anderson


Sister Julienne
Sister Hilda
Sister Frances
Sister Monica Joan


Ena Schroeder
Julie Schroeder
Phyllis Crane
Teresa Banley


Elsie Dyer
Aunt Flo
Alfred Schroeder
Frederick Buckle
Violet Buckle
Reggie Jackson
Patrick Turner
Shelagh Turner
Timothy Turner (briefly)
Angela Turner
May Tang
Maureen Bryant
Miss Higgins
Aubrey Woolf
Lesley Whyte
Cath Hindman
Cyril Robinson


  • Timothy Turner is seen only briefly at the beginning of the episode. We see him walk out of the shot as Shelagh says "Have a good day at school".


There are nights so dark that the dawn is not merely distant, but beyond imagination. These are the hours where grief, where fear rules, where truth lies exposed... like a wound. Hope hides, peace is for others. The minutes extend, repeating the distress of the hours that went before... and every thought begins and ends in silence.

- Mature Jenny's opening narration.

Trixie: Valerie? You didn't come to bed.

Valerie: What was I gonna do there? Sleep?

Trixie: I wasn't exactly in the Land of Nod myself.

- Trixie finds Valerie trying to clean cigarette ash and blood out of her uniform.

Maureen: Oh, you know all sorts of thing! Valerie "Nose In The Air Up My Own Backside" Dyer! Valerie "Look At Me, Swanning Round With All The Nuns"! You might know a lot of things about the human body, but I don't suppose anyone's ever told you - blood is thicker than water!

Lucille: You stop this right now! This is a clinic, not a fish-market. And you are talking to a uniformed professional who is entitled to respect.

Maureen: (Sneering derisively at Valerie) I am, am I? Cos I thought I was just talking to a stuck-up turncoat whose forgotten whose side she's supposed to be on!

Lucille: You heard me. I want you out of that door.

- Lucille escorts Valerie's cousin Maureen off the premises.

Sister Monica Joan: They weren't deshabille when I was summoned by the bell.

- Sister Monica Joan and Cyril find the midwives in a state of undress.

Sister Julienne: You were born into our hands, your trials are ours.

To Valerie

Cath: Too much has gone on behind closed doors. I thought I wanted it left there. But when the Sisters came to see me, I realized that other people want more.

Cath Hindman telling Valerie why she has decided to break her silence.

Prosecution Barrister: Can you point out the person you engaged to carry out the procedure in question?

Cath: (Points at Elsie)

Prosecution Barrister: Now tell us, in your own words, the outcome of your experience at her hands.

Cath: I got an infection. A fever. I had to have a hysterectomy. She'd damaged my womb with whatever it was she used. I never saw it. I only know that it was sharp. I've got a scar on my stomach that's ten inches long. Goes all the way up to my ribs. The surgeon did that. He had to. But every time I look at it in the mirror, I think of her. Every time I look in a pram, every time I think about the way I nearly ran up those stairs into that backroom, thinking "This is my way out of the shame and the disgrace of it", I think of her. And how I thought that she was saving me. Didn't seem such a lot of money, seven pounds. But it's a price I'll never stop paying.

- Cath Hindman tells the court about her ordeal

Gathered together, we find our light. And each spark shifts, and multiplies, scattering it's radiance on our ordinary lives. Like everything precious, more valuable when shared. Like every common miracle, made of the stuff of stars. Let the light shine. Watch for it falling on each other's faces. Count the beams, catch them, let them be reflected back. See the hope, see the promise. Never hide your fears in silence. Listen to those you cherish. Hold them in your arms. Let them hear your heart. Tell your truth. Tell your story. Tell your love.

Mature Jenny's closing narration.