When Barbara (played by Charlotte Ritchie) contracted an aggressive bout of septicaemia in episode six of the BBC period drama, the idea that the beloved nurse wouldn’t pull through was inconceivable.
Yet as this week’s episode proved – despite Barbara being a staple on Heidi Thomas’ show for the last four years – no one is safe.
Barbara and Tom (Jack) had only just returned to Nonnatus House after moving to Birmingham for the latter to take a work opportunity in the Christmas special when tragedy struck.
Given Nurse Trixie Franklin (Helen George) had left to recover from her alcohol problems the week before, fans were convinced that Barbara especially would helm the show for the foreseeable future while 33-year-old actress Helen had maternity leave.
Yet it wasn’t to be, and Jack has hinted that the sheer force of the devastation of losing his new wife could drive Tom onto new pastures.
Speaking to Radio Times, the star gave a cryptic answer about the show’s season seven finale.
Letting slip about the Reverend’s upcoming “ending”, Jack said: “Tom is grieving and will be grieving for some time. Men at that time were quite buttoned-up, but I thought, ‘He’s just got married. He’s in love. He’s got the whole world ahead of him, and then this fells him.’
“It’s a really, really sad end.”
When asked if his final scenes next week will be Tom’s last ever though, Jack struggled to clarify.
“We shall see,” he said “Maybe he’s in series eight and maybe he isn’t.”
The Bristol-born actor also shared that his state of mind wasn’t that far off his counterpart’s during Barbara’s emotional goodbye scenes.
He explained: “We did it in hospital two days after Wren was born and I hadn’t slept, so finding the delirium and the madness was quite easy.
“Filming those scenes was emotional because we all love Charlotte. We knew we were acting – but we also knew we were saying goodbye… It’s emotional thinking about it now… I was lamenting the loss of someone I care about and I’d just had a baby, so I started sobbing… with snot and tears everywhere.
“The director asked if I could stop and cry for the next take,” he went on. “But I didn’t think I could stop crying at all – I definitely couldn’t stop and start again.”
Confessing that while the cast did know the actress was moving on from the show, it was still a shock when the scripts came through.
Assuring that this week’s finale won’t leave fans depressed however, Jack added: “We do end the series this week on a lighter note – poignant, still emotional, but a lighter note.”
Read the full interview in the latest issue of Radio Times, out now.
Call the Midwife season 7 concludes Sunday at 8pm on BBC One.