W commissions brand-new docu-reality series The Real Midwives of Essex

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4th March 2024

UKTV has commissioned The Real Midwives of Essex (8x60') from Firecracker Films (Stacey Dooley Sleeps Over, Emma Willis: Delivering Babies). This brand-new docu-reality series will delve into the working and social lives of Basildon University Hospital's midwives.

Following every aspect of their day-to-day, this UKTV Original series will really shine a light on who they are, and what it takes to be a hardworking, midwife in today's modern age.

With exclusive access to Basildon University Hospital, part of Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, The Real Midwives of Essex will offer a unique insight into the life of the junior midwives in a way that you've never seen before. The series will blend documentary and reality techniques to bring a fresh approach to the genre, while also using social media to help frame the narratives.

The dynamic cast - a tightknit group - will be made up of a mixture of student midwives, their teachers, and newly qualified midwives, following their early-starts and 12-hour shifts, through to their home lives and evenings out together. Midwives are able to qualify after just three years, making them some of the youngest medical professionals in Britain.

The Real Midwives of Essex has been commissioned by Helen Nightingale, head of factual and factual entertainment and ordered by Adam Collings, channel director for W and Hilary Rosen, director of commissioning. Produced by Firecracker Films, with Jes Wilkins and Sam Emmery serving as Executive Producers, Coco MacLehose as Series Producer and Julie Scott as Head of Production. The series will be distributed by Passion Distribution.

Helen Nightingale said,

Following our successful collaboration with Firecracker on Emma Willis: Delivering Babies, we are extremely excited about this opportunity to shed light on even more of Britain's most unsung heroes. The Real Midwives of Essex will also take the audience behind the scenes to see what these young midwives get up to beyond their professional roles.

Adam Collings said,

It's such a pleasure to have The Real Midwives of Essex coming to W, this show brings the perfect blend of these midwives' front line heroics and the reality of their everyday lives. I know W viewers are going to love seeing both sides of these amazing midwives' lives!

Sam Emmery, Executive Producer from Firecracker Films added:

We are delighted to be working with the team at UKTV on this exciting new series. We are also incredibly grateful to Basildon University Hospital for granting us privileged access to their maternity ward and are looking forward to introducing viewers to an amazing group of midwives.

Nicki Abbott, Managing Director of Women's and Children's Services at Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, said,

We are excited to be working with UKTV and Firecracker Films to celebrate our student midwives and help people to see what an important and rewarding career midwifery is.

The Real Midwives of Essex will air on W and UKTV Play later this year.

UKTV recently announced its intention to launch 'U' - a new Masterbrand that will unite its family of free-to-air channels and its free streaming service. Launching in Summer 2024, the move will see its current streaming service UKTV Play transition to U and UKTV's family of free-to-air channels will become U&DAVE, U&DRAMA, U&YESTERDAY and U&W.


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For more information, please contact:

Jasmine Brewer, Publicist, UKTV

Ben Duncan, Consumer Publicity Manager, UKTV

About W

W is a TV channel passionate about people and finding the joy in everyday moments. Its quality mix of UKTV Originals featuring heart-warming shows led by some of the UK's most-loved talent, and uplifting series shining a light on heroic emergency services, are complemented by high quality acquisitions.

W shows tap into the raw and genuine heart swell moments, from the struggles of conception in Alex Jones: Making Babies, emotions running high at the sound of a baby's first cry in the award-winning Emma Willis: Delivering Babies, to heart-stopping drama for the incredible frontline workers in Inside the Ambulance and Nurses on the Ward. Elsewhere, comedian Katherine Ryan throws open the doors of her family home to explore alternative parenting techniques in Katherine Ryan: Parental Guidance, and award-winning documentary maker Stacey Dooley offers an unfiltered insight into unseen areas of modern relationships and family life in the hit series Stacey Dooley Sleeps Over, with an additional series that explores family dynamics in the USA.

Plus, broadcaster, author and philanthropist Katie Piper immerses herself in the US judicial system to follow the often-complicated process of babies and children in some of the most talked about prisons in Katie Piper's Jailhouse Mums. W also delves into the unfiltered lives of celebrity couple Gemma Atkinson and Gorka Márquez as they welcome their second child, in Gemma and Gorka: Life Behind the Lens, and the channel is the exclusive home to the joyfully competitive MasterChef franchise, including MasterChef Australia, MasterChef USA and MasterChef Juniors.

About UKTV

UKTV has been at the forefront of branded television for over 25 years, entertaining the nation with programmes they love. Its leading brands - Dave, Gold, W, Drama, Alibi, Eden and Yesterday - span comedy, entertainment, natural history, factual and scripted drama, and are delivered to audiences through UKTV Play, Freeview, Sky, Virgin Media, BT, TalkTalk, YouView, Freesat and Amazon Fire. The broadcaster is a significant investor in British creativity and is committed to working with new and established writers, directors and programme-makers.

UKTV is part of BBC Studios, the UK's most-awarded production company, a world-class distributor with international branded services, and a commercial subsidiary of the world's leading public service broadcaster, the BBC.

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About Firecracker Films

  • Firecracker have produced some of the highest rating and most talked about factual television programmes of the past decade.
  • Firecracker specialise in telling authentic human stories and offering never-before-seen perspectives on contemporary issues.
  • Equally at home in premium documentary and Factual Entertainment formats
  • Winners of Indie of the Year at the Broadcast Digital Awards 2020
  • Winners of the highly competitive Channel 4 Global Format Fund commissioning tender in 2021.
  • Selected in Realscreen's Global 100 list of the world's best producers in 2021.
  • Emma Willis: Delivering Babies picked up the win three years running in the Best Factual Show category at the Broadcast Digital Awards.
  • Emma Willis: Delivering Babies and Stacey Dooley Sleeps Over are the two highest rating series on UKTV's W channel.
  • The Murder of Grace Millane was the highest rating programme on ITV2 in 2021 after Love Island.
  • Producers of the multi award winning, global breakout hit series Big Fat Gypsy Weddings on Channel 4 in the UK and TLC in the USA.
  • Firecracker's BBC Three documentary Jamie: Drag Queen at 16, inspired the hit musical and movie 'Everybody's Talking about Jamie' which has just been nominated for a BAFTA for Best British Film.
  • This year promises to be as successful as ever, with projects lined up at BBC1, Channel 4, Discovery +, UKTV and Paramount+.
  • Offices in London and Glasgow
  • International Distribution by Passion Distribution