I am not sure there is anything much worse for an anglophile than knowing your British friends are basking in the glory of watching “Downton Abbey” season 3 and you are stuck with “Teen Mom 2” and “Toddlers and Tiaras.” Thankfully, PBS decided to capitalize on the anglophile bug and premiered “Call the Midwife” this fall to carry us through to January.
“Call the Midwife” is a classic, British period drama directed by Pippa Harris. Taking place in East London during the 1950’s the six episode premier season marvelously recreates the life of Jenny Lee (Jessica Raine) and the Nonnatus House nuns. These nuns are the heart and soul of the birthing practice in London as they deal with poverty, disease, premature birth and multiples all while riding about from house to house on a bike with their birthing kits.
While the medical aspect of the show is perfectly accurate, what makes one fall in love with this series are the personal stories of the mothers and the midwives. Jenny, the main character and new midwife, is caught between a handsome young lad whose heart she has stolen and a man that is unobtainable. Her dear friend and fellow midwife, Chummy Browne (Miranda Hart), is a quite star of the show. She is what the British consider a product of upper-crust breeding and much to her mother’s dismay she has chosen the path of a midwife. Her tall, awkward self has a tough first few months but her drive and talent land her the very best cases and she may or may not find the man of her dreams in the mix. These women become more than just another TV character by the sixth episode, you feel like you know them – your heartaches during their trails and rejoices during their triumphs.
“Call the Midwife” is one of the very best shows of 2012. It is captivating for those of all ages and a must-watch for any anglophile.
The Verdict: “Call the Midwife” is just what the doctor ordered to keep the “Downtown Abbey” lover occupied while Mary and Matthew find their way in the world during filming. This historical drama is not only incredibly accurate in every aspect of 1950’s East London life, but the characters make it a true delight! Be sure to find time to catch up before the Christmas special airs in December.
PBS Premier: September 30th, 2012
Director: Pippa Harris
Cast: Jenny Agutter, Pam Ferris, Miranda Hart, Judy Parfitt, Jessica Raine