If you’re one of the millions glued to BBC1’s Call the Midwife, you may be wondering where this fabulous new series is filmed. The Sunday night favourite may be set in London’s east end during the 50s but it’s actually shot all over the south of England. The building used for Nonnatus House is actually in north London and the cobbled street and alleyway scenes were shot at Chatham historic dockyard in Kent.
“One of the challenges for us was to find our central location of Nonnatus House,” says Executive Producer Pippa Harris. “The real convent where Jennifer was based has now been turned into luxury flats, so that wasn’t an option. Hugh Warren, our producer, discovered a magnificent disused seminary in Mill Hill, which designer Eve Stewart was able to convert not only into the dining room, kitchen and clinical room for the nuns and midwives, but also their bedrooms, as well as the interiors for most of our guest characters’ homes.
“Filming at the docks in Chatham was a great experience. It allowed us to bring a real sense of scale to the production and glimpse what it must have been like to work alongside a busy dock in the 1950s. Watching our midwives cycling through the crowds of extras, with cranes unloading heavy goods, trains trundling past, and the river in the background, was really terrific.”
“I knew that we would have to start with at least the shape of an historic dock and was lucky enough to have seen Chatham Docks before. I just knew it was the right place to go and the people there were amazingly helpful. They moved trains, cranes and original vehicles for us,” says Production Designer Eve Stewart, who was Oscar-nominated for her work on the hit film The King’s Speech.
“Chatham docks was beautiful,” says Miranda Hart, who plays Chummy. “Sometimes I felt like I was in a film cycling along the docks with a hundred extras. It’s filmed on such a lovely scale, they’ve done it beautifully.”
For more behind the scenes filming secrets of television top shows, buy The British Television Location Guide.