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Monday, November 18, 2013

Call the Midwife (2011-13)

My nuclear family is made up of five men, and not one of them would either watch or enjoy this series.  So let me be very clear, while I adore this series, it is defintiely not for everyone, including almost all men, and quite a few women.  I was at a large dinner table discussing m love of this series recently and only one person (which was less than 10%) said that it sounded vaguely interesting.

So  here is the story--it really does cover the waterfront on childbirth.  There are at least a couple of babies born every episode, and while it does not go into the protracted 20 hour labors in detail, they are not sugar coating it either.  There is a lot of screaming in pain, and there is a fair amount of childbirth appropriate blood.  Bringing babies into this world is a bloody and painful business, and that is largely what the women in this show do for a living.

But that is not what I love about it.  The setting is the late 1950's (and entering the 1960's as the show progresses) in a dirt poor working class neighborhood in London's East End.  The nurses work out of a convent and they provide the only real medical care that is available to the residents there.  The living conditions are appalling, as is the treatment of the elderly.  The show covers all the things that you would expect in a show about women--besides childbirth and all it's complications, there is domestic violence, child abuse, abortion, the need for birth control, and the inequality of women at that time and place.  These serious social problems are interlaced with the romantic lives of the nurses, and the running of a monestary.  It is really quite wonderful, and I can't wait for Season 3!


  1. My SIL, Hallie, told me about your blog months ago and I have checked in every 2 weeks or so since. I am amazed how often you review a book or movie that I too have recently enjoyed, Weekend or The Sapphires for example, but I have never commented before. Call the Midwife is worth coming out for. I love it! I can't wait for Season 3 either. And among my friends who love Downton Abbey or Foyle's War, none have enjoyed the midwives. Maybe it's my medical school background. And I love the music, the soundtrack of my childhood.

    So anyway, I enjoy your blog. I hope I don't creep you out by commenting.

    Ruth in NC

    1. Not at all! In fact, I am impressed,because I know how hard it is to log in and comment--my family is constantly annoyed by that and just email me :-) Hallie is a friend of a friend who I 'met' on Facebook, but I am certain she and I would get along fantastically. Pleasure to meet you, and give my best to Hallie. I think that Call the Midwives is a wonderful period piece, and I just love it (tho' I think not being too wigged out by the childbirth thing is helpful). I am a BBC Drama addict, of course,so everything I say should be taken with that grain of salt in mind.