Filming has begun on a new series and Christmas special of BBC1’s period drama hit Call the Midwife.

Written and created by Heidi Thomas, the third series continues filming on location at the historic Chatham dockyard with its base now housed at studios in Chertsey, Surrey. Based on the memoirs of the late Jennifer Worth, audiences can expect to see all the cast returning to the streets of Poplar with some new faces in residence too. 

Call the Midwife was the biggest new drama series on BBC One in more than a decade, and the second series averaged more than 10 million, making the series the highest-rated drama this year on any channel.

Series two saw Nonnatus House under threat of demolition, a baby boy for Chummy and PC Noakes and a romantic marriage proposal between Dr Turner and Sister Bernadette. In series three, which will screen in 2014, the year is 1959, the eve of the swinging Sixties. The winds of change are sweeping through the country and the residents of Nonnatus House face some momentous changes of their own.

Pippa Harris, Call the Midwife’s executive producer, said: “I am very proud of the continued popularity of the show and how series two was so warmly received by the audience. Its success is down to the insightful writing of Heidi Thomas and to our fantastic crew and cast who I am thrilled are returning for series three to enjoy the dawn of the Swinging Sixties.”