NETFLIX plans to poach Call The Midwife from the BBC – and thinks offering a bigger budget and more episodes per series will persuade creator Heidi Thomas to make the swap.
The streaming giant is eyeing up the hit period drama – currently in its tenth season – and is pulling out all the stops to tempt the screenwriter away from the Beeb.
A TV insider told Daily Mail: "The hour-long format of the programme and its huge viewing figures make it an irresistible prospect for Netflix.
"They would also be able to make more than the current eight episodes per series – and it would be watched globally."
Call the Midwife, which is based on a series of memoirs by 1950s nurse Jennifer Worth, has entertained British viewers for almost a decade and also airs on PBS in America.
Heidi says she's been approached by rival TV bosses dangling big-money offers in the past, but she refused because she didn't think they understood the show currently made by Neal Street Productions.
And it's why the playwright – who is married to Call The Midwife star Stephen McGann – has remained loyal to the BBC.
She explained in a recent interview: "I do get offered a lot of stuff.
"A lot of film producers were setting up to produce television and they would approach me with an idea and say, 'I think we can do 30 episodes.'
"But I thought, 'In your wildest dreams! You don't know anything about television.' They just wanted to sell more of it. I found that quite dispiriting."
The childbirthing drama launched on January 15, 2012 and became an instant hit, making stars of cast members including Helen George, who plays Nurse Trixie Franklin, and Charlotte Ritchie, who played Nurse Barbara Gilbert from 2015 to 2018.
The current series, with episodes airing at 8pm on Sundays, covers 1966, the year England won the World Cup at Wembley and Labour’s Harold Wilson was re-elected as Prime Minister.
The Sun revealed last month it will continue into series 12 and 13, covering the years 1968 and 1969.
A TV insider said of the programme, which began in 2012: “Call The Midwife may have been around for nearly a decade but it is still going strong and providing the Beeb with a Sunday night ratings winner.
“There was no way the corporation were going to axe a show which has such a strong following and so much more scope for storylines.
“Continuing the show into series 12 and 13 sees the programme enter one of the most exciting periods in recent history.
“And there are currently no signs that the Beeb or the show’s team want to end the show there.”
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