Call The Midwife is currently airing its second series on BBC1. The 8 episode drama is focused on the birth of babies in a deprived area of East London in the 1950’s. The series follows the development of newly qualified nurse Jenny Lee (Jessica Raine) and other sub stories of love, loss, abortion and adoption. Miranda Hart also stars in the series as Chummy (AKA Camilla Fortescue-Cholmondeley-Browne), as a prim, proper, polite and religious midwife, whose clumsy mistakes make her a loveable character by the audience.
Miranda received Best Actress at the TV Choice Awards and Best Female Drama Performance at The National Television Awards this year. Miranda’s character is a world away from her character in popular comedy TV show ‘Miranda’, but her talents also lie in serious acting.
Aside from Miranda, Call the Midwife also stars the recognisable face of Cliff Parisi as Fred, more famously known for his 8 years as Minty on EastEnders.
The drama highlights how medicine has improved since the 1950’s. The history involved in the programme is phenomenal, the set its filmed on depicts the poverty that was prevalent in the 1950’s, and shows the struggles women faced in society, as well as the problems of back street abortion, because of the stigma of not wanting the traditional dream of being a housewife and mother.
The drama has a real sense of community which seems to be missing in today’s society. Old societal norms of leaving babies outside the front door unsupervised for some air is a common in the show, however such behaviour would be seen as unnatural in today’s society. The law was different then also, abortion was illegal and left women with little choice on having a baby. Back street abortions were common and contraception wasn’t used because Catholicism was a huge part of society and the use of contraception was against the religion. The choices women faced changed towards the end of the 50’s with the introduction of the contraceptive pill.
The show is inundated with history and is educational as well as emotional, sensitive and traditional. It has been confirmed that there will be another Christmas special in 2013 and a third series in 2014. The first series is now available on DVD. It’s well worth a watch, whatever age you are.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★