January 2012 – Present
Stars: Miranda Hart, Jenny Agutter,Pam Ferris, Judy Parfitt,
Helen George, Bryony Hannah, Laura Main
Once again, British television triumphs. Why the executives and producers of Hollywood television don’t take points on story-telling, is beyond me. There is a reason we flock to Downton Abbey and Call the Midwife, plus many other wonderful shows on PBS. It’s drama at its best, stories with heart, and actors who take us into the reality of other worlds.
Okay, I’ll confess. I didn’t watch the first season until this past week when I discovered it on Netflix. There was only one episode I picked up on my local PBS station. Why, I didn’t sit down and watch each one is beyond me, but I’m glad to know Season 2 starts late March. Thank goodness.
Call the Midwife is a moving series set in post-war early 1950’s about a group of nurses and nuns who deliver babies on the impoverished east side of London. (I was born in 1950, so I fit right in.) The series instantly reminds you of the scriptures that declare the poor will always live among us. It is what we do for the poor that matters the most.
The series is, of course, geared toward women. After all, babies are delivered every episode. The old ways of enema, shaving, and odd delivery positions is quite amusing, but so are the variety of women who bear the children and their midwives. If you are prone to PMS, bursts of crying, or are pregnant make sure you bring a box of tissues with you as you watch. The stories will move you to tears as you are faced with the stark reality of birth, life, death, suffering, love, and survival.
Each episode focuses upon a main pregnancy ranging from the woman who is married and on her 24th pregnancy (yes, they birthed that many children), to the young 15 year old prostitute who sells her body to survive and becomes pregnant. One breach birth will keep you on the edge of your seat, as you watch the new awkward nurse deliver the child successfully. You see the devastation of women losing their babies, and women who lose their lives giving birth. You’ll cry over the poor and the squalor in which they live. At the end of each episode, you’ll be a better human being for watching the miracle of birth and no doubt be thankful for what you have.
Call the Midwife is once again why I love the Brits. It’s drama, humor, life, and love all rolled into one. It’s reality, not fantasy. Frankly, I think watching this series births within you a new appreciation of life and love through all of its struggles. You’ll find empathy for the poor among us, and be thankful for what you have. We shouldn’t abort the difficulties of life in television shows just because we don’t want to deal with the unpleasantness. Frankly, I think viewers continually need excellent television such as Call the Midwife to deliver us out of our complacency.
UPDATE: Bicycling into its 5th Season, it continues in excellence.