Call the Midwife ends on 9.2m viewers
Call the Midwife ended with 9.2 million viewers on Sunday, making it the biggest new drama series on BBC One since records began in 2001.
Its consolidated ratings (i.e. including time-shifted figures) have grown since it debuted in mid-January when it drew 9.83m - a higher audience than the popular conclusion to Sherlock, which aired the same night.
Ben Stephenson, controller of BBC Drama Commissioning, described the nursing drama as 'a phenomenon that has won the hearts of the nation'.
Based on the best-selling memoirs of Jennifer Worth who trained as a midwife in London's east end during the 1950s, Call the Midwife will return for a second series next year.
The author died in 2011 after an illness - just before filming began - but the series' success has been welcomed by her widower and daughters.
Scriptwriter Heidi Thomas said: 'When Jennifer Worth was dying, I took her hands in mine and promised I'd do everything in my power to make her books sing as a drama.'
BBC One controller Danny Cohen added that Thomas and the drama's independent producers Neal Street had 'brought a new kind of grit and risk to period drama'.
The final episode shifted by 30 minutes to a later start time of 8.30pm, due to ITV scheduling an episode of Coronation Street at 8pm, and preceded the return of Upstairs Downstairs, also written by Heidi Thomas.
The 1930s drama drew 6.5m back to 165 Eaton Place, although figures are expected to rise with the inclusion of time-shifted viewing.