22/05/2017 11:53 BST | Updated 22/05/2017 23:02 BST

'Call The Midwife' Stars Bryony Hannah, Emerald Fennell And Kate Lamb Are All Quitting Before Series 7

It was recently voted the Best TV Drama of the 21st century.

When ‘Call the Midwife’ returns for its seventh series early next year, it will be without three familiar faces.

Bryony Hannah, Emerald Fennell and Kate Lamb will all be leaving the hit drama, the BBC has confirmed.

Bryony has been a cast member since the very first series, playing Sister Mary Cynthia, who became a nun after joining as a nurse.

Three familiar faces will be absent from the show when it returns later in the year

Emerald has been with the show since the third series, after appearing in a guest role in the series before, playing Nurse Patsy Mount. Kate has played Nurse Delia Busby for the last three series. These characters finally kissed one another at the end of the last series, much to viewers’ satisfaction after many episodes of will-they-won’t-they.

Radio Times quoted a show spokesperson at the weekend, explaining:

“We are always sad when actors want to move on to pastures new, as it’s a wrench to let go of such beloved characters, but time and again over the years it has proved hugely exciting to bring new faces and personalities into the mix.

“As a large ensemble family, comings and goings are part of life in Call the Midwife and we wish Emerald, Kate and Bryony all the luck for their next projects. Our core team are still very much at the heart of series seven and viewers have already taken newer cast members like Nurse Crane and Valerie into their hearts.”

While these three actresses will leave a big gap in the show, the BBC has already moved to fill it, with their first West Indian nurse being recruited to the story, reflecting real life when nurses travelled from the Caribbean to help support the NHS.

Leonie Elliott will be joining the other midwives as Nurse Lucille Anderson

 Leonie Elliott was last week announced to be playing Lucille Anderson. The actress was previously a star of ‘Black Mirror’, ‘Danny and the Zoo’ and ‘Wondrous Oblivion’.

Other familiar faces back on duty include Jenny Agutter (Sister Julienne), Linda Bassett (Nurse Crane), Judy Parfitt (Sister Monica Joan), Helen George (Trixie), Laura Main (Shelagh Turner), Charlotte Ritchie (Barbara), Victoria Yeates (Sister Winifred), Jennifer Kirby (Valerie), Stephen McGann (Dr Turner), Jack Ashton (Tom), Cliff Parisi (Fred), Annabelle Apsion (Violet), Max Macmillan (Timothy) and Jack Hawkins (Christopher).

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