Call the Midwife meets Downton Abbey?
Ok, so Breathless, admittedly, is a period drama set in a hospital but that’s like describing Red Green as Monty Python meets This Old House. I guess it partly makes sense given there are a couple of Kevin Bacon connections between the newest addition to the ITV drama line-up and Downton Abbey. Breathless will have two former Downton Abbey alumni walking the hospital halls in Zoe Boyle, who played Lavinia, Matthew Crawley’s sickly fiance, in the second series of Downton Abbey and Iain Glen (Game of Thrones), who played Mary’s one-time fiance, newspaper mogul Sir Richard Carlisle.
Breathless, which stars Jack Davenport (Coupling, Pirates of the Caribbean), follows the lives of a group of doctors and nurses working in a London hospital, a world in which everything and everyone has their place. Like all good telly dramas, Breathless is full of lies, deception and guilty secrets, all conveniently driven by love, ambition and sex.
The series opens in 1961, a time when Britain was on the brink of the Sixties revolution. Abortion is illegal and the pill is only just becoming available to married women. Set in and around a busy gynaecology unit, medicine becomes the perfect backdrop to play out the shifting and complex moral codes of early 1960s society.
A co-production between ITV Studios and PBS’ Masterpiece in the U.S., Breathless premieres Thursday, 10 October on ITV and tentatively set for a Fall 2014 premiere in the States on PBS.