Call the Midwife meets Downton Abbey?
Ok, so Breathless IS a period drama set in a hospital but that’s probably where the similarities end. I guess it partly makes sense given there are a couple of Kevin Bacon connections between the newest addition to the PBS 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 Lady 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. 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.
Like all good telly dramas, Breathless is full of lies, deception and guilty secrets, all conveniently driven by love, ambition and sex. Breathless premieres on a number of PBS stations this coming Sunday as part of PBS’ Masterpiece Mystery! series. With the August fundraising campaign winding down, a number of stations will be premiering on Sunday, August 31. As they say, check local listings for the station in your area.