PBS finally confirmed speculation that it has picked up a second season of “Call the Midwife,” announcing Wednesday that the eight-episode second season will debut March 31.


“Call the Midwife” (Laurence Cendrowicz/PBS)

The show, based on the best-selling memoirs of the late Jennifer Worth, is set in East London in the 1950s and follows the midwives and the nuns of Nonnatus House, a nursing convent coping with the medical problems in a deprived area of East London in the 1950s.

The first, six-episode season of the series clocked 3 million viewers on PBS — 50 percent above the programming service’s prime-time average for the 2011-12 TV season. (In the UK, the series opened with a crowd of 11.4 million tuned in, making it the highest-rated BBC new-drama launch on record.)