When Jenny Lee (Jessica Raine) first arrives in London’s East End, she knows nothing about hardship, poverty or indeed, life itself. Raised in the wealthy English countryside, she’s previously spent time in Paris and could have chosen any career. But she chose to become a nurse and now, as a newly qualified midwife, Jenny has come to work in the poorest area of the city. Jenny comes to Nonnatus House to work as a midwife under the watchful guidance of Jenny Agutter along with Pam Ferris, Miranda Hart and Judy Parfitt.
Call the Midwife is a moving, intimate, funny and, above all, true-to-life look at the colorful stories of midwifery and families in East London in the 1950s, based on the best-selling memoirs of the late Jennifer Worth. Worth worked closely with Heidi Thomas (Cranford, Upstairs Downstairs) to develop the series right up until her untimely death in 2011.
Having had the opportunity to screen several of the episodes of series one back in February at the BBC Showcase in Liverpool, at that time, a number of us felt that the series was a brilliant portrayal of birth, life, death and a community on the brink of huge social change. What seems to have immediately attracted both male and female audiences of all ages is how the series provides such an insightful, gripping insight into a world that is so drastically different from how we live today. Now after having seen the entire first series, all I can say is Call the Midwife is appointment television at its finest. Be there or set your DVR!
Looking ahead to episode 2, which will air on Sunday, October 7 on PBS’ Masterpiece, you’ll see either the comedic side of Call the Midwife or the serious side of Miranda Hart (Miranda), depending on how you look at it. The part where Hart’s character, Chummy Browne learns to ride a bike is priceless. Cheers.