23/01/2012 11:59 GMT | Updated 23/01/2012 12:33 GMT

'Call The Midwife' Series 2 Commissioned, After Show Breaks Ratings Record

Nursing nuns show Call The Midwife has become BBC One's highest rating launch episode of a new drama on record, and has been rewarded with a commission for a second series.

The series about midwifery and family life in 1950s East End London, based on the best-selling memoirs of the late Jennifer Worth, pulled in a massive 9.8m viewers for its opening episode, and last night's episode saw another 8.6m tune in as comedienne Miranda Hart joined the cast.

BBC One controller, Danny Cohen, announced the news today saying: "Call The Midwife has had a huge impact with audiences. It's a very high-quality drama series from a brilliant team. It manages to be both hard-hitting and emotional, gritty and warm. I am already looking forward to the second series."

Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama Commissioning, adds: "Call The Midwife is a totally original mix of comedy, tears, babies and nuns and it is fantastic to see this distinctive piece of British drama win such high praise and ratings."

The story follows Jenny, played by newcomer Jessica Raine, who joins an eccentric and loveable community of nursing nuns, with Jenny Agutter as Sister Julienne, Pam Ferris as Sister Evangelina, Miranda Hart as Chummy and Judy Parfitt as Sister Monica Joan.