Since we love costume dramas at FYA, I decided it was high time for me to dish on Call The Midwife, the hit British show that will be premiering in the US this Sunday. Everyone says it’s the new Downton Abbey, except that instead of being about rich British people in the 1910s, it’s about poor British people in the 1950s. Which is to say that it’s nothing like Downton Abbey, other than it’s a BBC show that has become wildly popular.
Call The Midwife is based on the bestselling memoir of the same name and follows the life of the midwives and nuns of Nonnatus House, a nursing convent that serviced the poor and war devastated East End of London during the 1950s.
Let’s take a brief look at our cast of characters:
- The story centers around Nurse Jenny Lee (Jessica Raine), a slightly sheltered young midwife who has just arrived at Nonnatus House. Unlike your typical ingenue, Jenny is spirited and kind and does a lot of growing up and maturing in a short time. And she’s just so adorable that you can’t help but root for her.
- There are three other midwives living with Jenny at Nonnatus – Trixie, Cynthia and Chummy, the latter of whom is played by Miranda Hart who absolutely steals every scene. Chummy comes from an extremely wealthy and privileged background and is “larger” than most other woman, both of which set her apart. And yet her character is so resilient and funny that none of that seems to phase her. It’s almost worth watching this show just for the scene where Chummy gives a birth control demonstration, wooden phallus and all.
- As Sister Act has shown us twice, everything is improved by a set of kooky and/or kind hearted nuns.
I think what draws me to this show most is that it is really and truly about women and their stories, and not just their relationships with men. The realistic medical stories, while slightly terrifying, are a breathe of fresh air in a world of Grey’s Anatomy type medicine. But don’t let the babies and birth scenes scare you off! I am not a baby person and childbirth freaks me Right Out, so if I can manage to appreciate this show, most people should as well. The first season is only six episodes long, so it’s hardly a commitment. Just give it a try!
For those of you in the UK or elsewhere who have already seen the show, what do you think of the show? Sell us on it in the comments!