Call the Midwife has beaten Merlin, The Night Manager and Happy Valley to be named the best drama of the 21st Century so far

Call the Midwife has been voted the best drama of the 21st century.

The BBC1 show about midwives in the East End beat hit programmes including Merlin and The Night Manager to the title at the closing night of the BFI And Radio Times Television Festival.

The show had already been picked as the century’s best period drama in a Radio Times poll.

The poll was split into six categories, period drama, crime drama, US drama, foreign language drama, sci-fi drama and contemporary drama, with the public then asked to decide the nation’s overall favourite.

Call The Midwife (BBC)
Call the Midwife (BBC)

 

The final round received more than 23,000 votes, with Call the Midwife beating sci-fi winner Merlin to top spot.

Scandinavian series The Bridge, which won the best foreign language drama category, was third.

The top three were followed by contemporary winner The Night Manager, US drama The West Wing and Happy Valley, which clinched the crime category.

Call the Midwife executive producer Dame Pippa Harris said: “It’s an extraordinary ho‎nour to have topped this poll, and the whole Call the Midwife team are delighted.

Tom Hiddleston in The Night Manager
The Night Manager won the contemporary category (BBC/The Ink Factory/Des Willie)

 

“It’s a tribute not only to the brilliance of our ensemble cast but to the skill and passion of Heidi Thomas’s writing and to the range and diversity of stories the series has covered.

“I’m personally thrilled that a show which takes an unflinching look at the lives of women and is created by and stars so many talented women, should have struck a chord with such a large audience.”

Call the Midwife was first broadcast in January 2012. The seventh series is due to screen in 2018.