CALL The Midwife fans are set to bid farewell to two much-loved nuns during an emotional Christmas special.
Poplar's Nonnatus House won't be the same without the duo, who fans have come to hold dear.
As Call The Midwife's Christmas Special kicks off, viewers will learn Sister Hilda – a progressive nun who has previously snuck forbidden magazines into the residence – has been called away on God's Work.
Fenella Woolgar's character has been a constant in the heart-warming east London drama, now set in the Sixties, since 2012.
Meanwhile, loveable Sister Frances, played by Eleanor Bruccoleri, will suffer a painful mishap forcing her out of action.
The novice nun falls off her bike while on the way to help deliver a baby, falling into the snow and causing injury.
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She is prescribed a hefty dose of rest and fresh air, in the form of a winter seaside break, and does not return for the remainder of the episode.
Ella's character joined in the Christmas special back in 2018.
A source close to the BBC show said: "Ella and Fenella are off doing other things now – but that doesn’t mean they won’t come back again at some point. They’ll both be missed."
Meanwhile, the show's Christmas Day episode will see the return of Nurse Franklin – and her engagement to widower Matthew.
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Last year Helen George, who plays Nurse Trixie, told of the cast's "intense" filming schedules.
After taking a break for filming for her maternity leave, she is back – with Trixie's engagement proving the perfect festive heart-warmer.
Meanwhile, the nuns will continue to monitor young Susan Mullucks as part of the drama's ongoing focus on the Thalidomide scandal.
They will also assist a young pregnant woman who has been cast out onto the street moments before giving birth.
Yet there's typical Call The Midwife cheer amid the tear-jerking storylines, with a carol concert seeing a host of unexpected performances.
This summer, bosses teased filming for Call The Midwife's new series with a behind the scenes image.
Back in August, head honchos behind the much-loved medical drama took to social media to announce filming was complete on this year's Christmas special and they were midway through production on the upcoming 12th season.
A behind-the-scenes photograph showed Doctor Patrick Turner's (played by Stephen McGann) on-screen children.
The caption read: "It's that time of year when Call the Midwife takes a short recess in the middle of filming to give our hard-working team a well-earned rest with their families.
"Filming days can be very long, and the hours very inhospitable – and so our production likes to reward our team with a decent break midway through so that they can return refreshed to complete the series.
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"When we return from our summer break, we have the last half of our stories to film, and won't complete that till the early winter. Call the Midwife is truly a four seasons job!"
Call the Midwife episodes are available to watch on BBC iPlayer.
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