"Call the Midwife" is in the middle of its third season here in the United States, and there are major changes ahead for the staff at Nonnatus House. Lead actress Jessica Raine, who portrays Nurse Jenny Lee, leaves at the end of the season to pursue a new job and relationship.
"It's been a real privilege to help bring Jenny Lee's story alive and amazingly satisfying to see how the public have embraced the series, but as is in keeping with Jenny's story, it's time for me to explore pastures new," Raine told The Independent.
Nurse Lee will end her time at Nonnatus House and pursue a nursing job at a Marie Curie cancer hospice after helping a friend take care of her dying mother. She will also seek to enjoy a relationship and new life with boyfriend Phillip Worth, played by Stephen Ashfield.
"It was sad to see her go, but she wanted to move over to pastures new," Ben Caplan, who plays Peter Noakes, told Digital Spy. "I also respected her decision that she'd done the show and got what she needed to get out of it, so it was time to move on. It'll be interesting to see how we progress, but it will progress! The show is obviously bigger than one element of it. It will be different not having her around, but I'm excited to see how it changes – particularly as we're moving into a new era – we're moving into the '60s."
As for Raines, she wants to move on to new things, possibly acting in Hollywood. She spent a month in Los Angeles getting the handle of things and said she would enjoy "playing someone a million miles from Jenny, much as I love her."
"I would like to explore comedy, I want to do more theater, and I definitely want a future in film. I love science-fiction," Raines told the Mirror.
"Call the Midwife" will continue on without Raines, though it remains to be seen how crowds will react without lead character Nurse Lee.
The series airs on PBS on Sunday nights.