Best British TV Shows - Call The Midwife
Great British TV Shows- The BBC Get It Right Again
Downton Abbey has been a big hit for ITV in 2012 but it has not been alone in being the only really good British TV show. Call the Midwife has done for the BBC exactly what Downton Abbey has done for ITV.
It was the surprise winner at the TV Awards in September 2012, beating off competitors like Homeland to the top drama prize. Now in its second series in early 2013, it is proving itself to be one of the best British TV shows of the last decade.
Every week, it offers new and original TV drama and leaves its audience's hearts a lot warmer - it has a real feel good factor and is wonderfully nostalgic; just what recession-hit, gloomy Britain needs right now.
Call the Midwife's Miranda Hart also picked up the Best Actress Award for her turn as midwife Chummie. More often well known for her perfect comedy timing, Hart has proved her acting talents and will no doubt get more opportunities at British drama after this.
Call The Midwife has been the surprise hit of 2012 on British TV screens. The British it seems, can't get enough of nostalgia.
We're no sooner shouldering off Downton Abbey in the 20s, than we are settling back down in our armchairs for the rough and ready east end of London in 1958.
Call The Midwife - Introducing The Midwives
The Midwives are from all areas of the country and have come to London to work with the community in the East End.
Jenny Lee (Jessica Raine) is a young, newly qualified midwife who has just moved to London and lives 'in house' at Nonnatus House, an early medical centre run by nuns.
Jenny Lee is not really prepared for the East End and the sort of people who live there.
Jessica Raine plays Jenny Lee so sensitively that you seem to feel what she is going through.
Trixie Franklin is the vivacious blonde midwife played by Helen George.
Trixie certainly seems more in touch with the social possibilities of being a midwife and seems to enjoy dancing and meeting suitors as much as her job.
Camilla Forescue-Cholmeley Browne or 'Chummy' as she is known is the rather posh girl newly qualified and raring to go. She is played by Miranda Hart.
Chummy is about six feet tall and rather clumsy but she's a good sort. There is much amusement as she learns to ride a bicycle and manages to crash into a policeman. Hart is now proving herself as good an actress in serious drama as she is in her top comedy show 'Miranda'.
The final member of the Call the Midwife team is small, quiet Cynthia Miller, played by Bryony Hannah. Already an established part of the team, she is the one the others seem to naturally defer to for advice.
By and large, Call The Midwife is mainly about Jenny Lee's experiences in the East End but of course, it is inevitable that you will get to know her co-workers as well as the nuns.
Call The Midwife Story Lines - Drama and Realism
As you might imagine in a show called Call The Midwife, all of the main story lines are about either pregnancy or childbirth.
Jenny Lee's first delivery in the East End comes only hours after her arrival as she is called to deal with a Spanish wife to an English husband ("he brought her home after the civil war") who is ready to deliver baby number 25!
The woman ends up having pre-eclampsia and falls in her yard while hanging out laundry.
Jenny's case it a difficult one to deal with but she does well
Chummy has the tricky task of delivering a baby in the breach position at a wedding party!
Jenny also has to see a pregnany woman who is suffering from sifilis. She lives in utter squalor and Jenny thrn has to treat her, not at the centre but at home.
There is never a dull moment for these 4 midwives and it all makes for edge of the seat viewing.
The BBC had midwifery expert and tutor Terri Coates on hand for all of the close up childbirth scenes and you will be amazed at the realism of the tiny babies born in the series. I was almost convinced they were using real babies - it really is astonishing.
Call The Midwife on US TV
Call the Midwife was shown on PBS in Autumn 2012 and got excellent ratings.
The Wall Street Journal described it as 'immensely absorbing drama' and viewing figures were excellent.
I hope a US prime time channel pick up this wonderful British TV show and it gets shown all over the USA.
Perhaps the USA may remake it with similar stories from their own history of midwifery. I have no idea whether the experience would transfer across but the story lines are by their nature very watchable - there is nothing quite like childbirth as a subject which people seem to love.
We have only to think about the many 'reality' style pregnancy TV shows to know that audience figures are ever-growing.
Call The Midwife is set in the East End of London and the scenes still show signs of the blitz in London.
A rebuilding programme began immediately after the war but Call the Midwife shows streets still in ill repair, it is very realistic.
I hope you get the chance to see Call The Midwife in your part of the world soon. Once again, it shows British TV at its absolute best with great storytelling, amazingly authentic sets and fantastic acting - it is very addictive viewing too!
Many thanks for reading.
More by this Author
A review of the Best British Television Shows and Series of the 1990s, Includes some photos and videos.
A look at some of the best British TV Shows and series from the 1960s. Features British drama, comedy and soap opera shows.
A look at some of the best British TV Shows & Series 1970s and 1980s. British TV in the 70s picked up where the 60s left off especially with great British comedy and some iconic TV drama shows.