A BBC television drama series has been credited with seeing applications for a midwifery degree shoot up by 11 per cent.

Anglia Ruskin University says the number of prospective students for its degree in midwifery, partly run at their Chelmsford campus, has gone up by 11.6 per cent since 2012.

Call the Midwife, a TV series set in east London in the Fifties, is based on the memoirs of midwife Jenny Lee, and her colleagues at a nursing convent.

The course’s senior lecturer Frances Galloway said: “People now see midwifery as a career in its own right, rather than simply a branch of nursing.

“Call the Midwife has certainly helped with this and we know a large proportion of our prospective students are huge fans of the programme because they mention it on their application forms. Of course, many things have changed since the Fifties, but the programme perfectly captures the emotions of childbirth.”

Elizabeth Blamire, a student on the second year of the course, said the programme shows the profession in a positive light.

Ms Blamire, who is also president of Anglia Ruskin’s Mindful Midwifery Society, said: “It shows midwives have a broad role, encompassing care of women and newborns, as well as promoting and protecting the public health of women, families and the wider community.

“Birth continues to be life- changing for families and it is a privilege to be part of for midwives, just as much now as in the Fifties.

“The way in which many of the babies are born on Call the Midwife is the way many are born today, using the same midwifery skills.”