The BBC series’ latest instalment introduced Jewish couple Arnold (played by Allan Corduner) and Ruth Gelin (Julie Legrand), who had escaped from the Nazis at the end of the war.
The devoted elderly couple were forced to face the most difficult challenge of their lives when Ruth’s bowel cancer finally won however, after being looked after by Nurse Phyllis Crane (Linda Bassett) and Dr. Patrick Turner (Stephen McGann) in her home.
As Patrick soothed: “There’s nothing to be afraid of Arnold,” the struggling husband couldn’t hide his terror at his wife’s condition.
“Is she in pain?” he asked, as Dr. Turner continued to convince the religious man that his wife still needed him.
But it was Arnold’s painful final words to his struggling wife that had viewers completely destroyed.
“If I never said that I was grateful to you, I say it now,” the character said with a crack in his voice. “If I never said that I was proud of the home that you kept, I say it now.
“If I didn’t tell you that you were beautiful when your face was all lined, when you didn’t have a new blouse from one summer to the next, I say it now.
“And if I didn’t tell you that I loved you, I say it now.”
Unable to contain their emotion on social media, hordes of fans shared their woe at the scene, as one p[erson wrote: “What beautiful words. Sobbing like a child #callthemidwife.”
Another fan confessed: “Absolutely howling at the deathbed scene in #callthemidwife. What a fabulous husband.”
“#callthemidwife so moving, weeping,” a third agreed, followed by: “I am WRECKED #CallTheMidwife.”
Some fans shared how unprepared they were for the heart-wrenching scene, as one person said: “Too much sadness in two minutes #CalltheMidwife.”
“Ah @CallTheMidwife1 you never fail to rise to your most wonderful standard, the storyline of Ruth is so beautiful, subtle & heart-wrenching. Fabulous start to the series, thank you #yesIcried #callthemidwife,” another emotional viewer praised.
The episode also saw Nurse Lucille Anderson’s (Leonie Elliot) debut, after travelling over from the West Indies to take up residence at Nonnatus house.
Heidi Thomas, who created the period drama, recently admitted that Leonie and her grandmother were often required to correct some historical inaccuracies in the scripts.
Giving one example, she explained: “There was a spell of hot weather and all the nurses are trying to cool down, and I’d put something in [the script] like drinking tea.
“We went and checked with Leonie’s grandmother and actually what they used to drink in Jamaica was black coffee when it was hot. They also added a pinch of salt, and that was what they drink in Jamaica in hot weather. We would never have had that information [without Leonie].”
Call The Midwife continues Sundays at 8pm on BBC One.