call the midwife Season 12 spoilers follow.
Prepare your handkerchiefs, call the midwife there’s some exciting news and we’re not doing well.
It has been confirmed that Leonie Elliott has officially resigned call the midwife. After six years on the show, fans were forced to say an abrupt goodbye to her character Lucille Robinson, who left after just two episodes of Season 12.
The news came via Twitter, where the actress wrote a moving tribute to the show, cast and writers. “Thank you all for hugging Lucille and rocking with me on this journey, it is with a heart full of love and appreciation that I embark on new pastures,” she wrote.
“After spending six years on a truly wonderful show with a fantastic crew, I have fallen deeper and deeper in love with Lucille. I am honored to have represented the pioneering Windrush generation and their incredible impact on British society.
“I’d like to say a BIG thank you to the brilliant cast and our super talented creative team: Heidi Thomas, Pippa Harris and Annie Tricklebank. Thanks again for all your support, it’s greatly appreciated. Super excited for what’s to come.”
Their emotional farewell was accompanied by a clap of hands with the caption: “It’s over, precious.”
This is truly the definition of bittersweet news. While the pursuit of new adventures leads to new creative challenges for Elliott, Lucille’s abrupt departure from the show is utterly disappointing.
Not because we’re saying goodbye to a character who brought so much richness to the show’s stories — the writers have proven time and time again that they can deliver even in the face of entire cast departures. It is because, on this occasion, call the midwifeusually so refined in their stories, they dropped the ball massively.
When we last saw Lucille on the show, she was on the verge of a mental breakdown.
A toxic cocktail of racial and social injustice, homesickness, grief over her miscarriage, and struggle to conceive sent Lucille into suicidal thoughts. Her heartfelt goodbye to husband Cyril offered a glimmer of hope as she admitted feeling conflicted about returning to Jamaica to nurse her back to health.
“I want to go but I don’t want to leave”, she told him then and the assumption then was that it would be temporary.
It quickly became apparent that her hiatus may actually be longer when, in episode five, it was revealed that she had taken a job and was contracted for six months.
So when Cyril returned to Poplar after visiting Lucille in Jamaica, his words had more purpose than we realized at the time. “Lucille is still in Jamaica,” he told Violet and Fred Buckle. “She’s fine, she’s been accepted into her new job and it’s doing her good to be with her family. She sends her love.”
“I have a good job here and some good friends. This is my home,” he added, and thus Lucille’s smooth phase out was complete. Their six-year journey fizzled out without the slightest fuss.
Fans were expected to be indifferent and accept that her story arc would have a lot of loose threads. Loose strings that linked her character’s fate to that of her husband Cyril.
Zephryn Taitte has been confirmed for season 13, which could mean a possible split between the two or a long-distance relationship. However, the latter is unlikely to be sustainable, making the end of the marriage seem less of an if, but when.
There is also a question of your mental health. Could all your deep problems really have been solved by the family balm? It’s possible, but much is left to guess where the clarity would have suited his departure better.
Particularly disappointing is Enoch Powell’s handling of the ‘Rivers of Blood’ storyline, which seemed to be far more prominent than it turned out to be.
Lucille’s understandably personal and hurt reaction to her immigration and racial hate speech was the perfect opportunity to explore immigration relations in an impoverished society during the 1960s.
It felt like the effects of such an important moment in British history would ripple through the season, and perhaps the most natural point of view was through the eyes of Lucille and Cyril.
This seemed more likely given creator and writer Heidi Thomas’ comments about the plot: “It was a huge turning point for our society and the way we talk and behave with people who came here from other countries, so that was something that we feel you had to face.”
However, that ripple was more like a splash. It made quite an impact when it landed, but once the water fell, it quickly calmed down without warning.
What’s worse is that his own words were the catalyst for his departure, thus manifesting, in part, his desires. An oversight, no doubt.
In reality, however, Powell’s story turned out to be the vehicle through which Lucille’s exit began. It might as well have been the boat that took her to Jamaica.
It was a strange move on the part of the genius creators to write it in such a lukewarm, unfinished way.
call the midwife is known and celebrated for its ability to tell beautiful, delicate and complicated stories. Stories with difficult social and emotional history attached to them.
They addressed homophobia, queer love, the impact of thalidomide on families, abortions, the introduction of the birth control pill and race. The list is long, and their track record of success in providing enriching and thought-provoking content is impressive, which makes their departure feel like a betrayal of character.
When the Christmas special arrives, we hope the call the midwife creative team is able to save Lucille and, by extension, Cyril’s story, providing a satisfying conclusion to a character that has meant so much to so many.
All episodes from call the midwife are available to stream now on BBC iPlayer.
We encourage anyone who identifies with the topics raised in this article to get in touch. Organizations that can offer support include Samaritans at 116 123 (www.samaritans.org) or Mind on 0300 123 3393 (www.mind.org.uk). Readers in the US are encouraged to visit mentalhealth.gov or the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.