This special holiday season episode of Call the Midwife will be broadcast in America on PBS on the evening of December 3oth. The episode has already been shown on the BBC in Britain, but if you missed it, there will be re-broadcasts. The excerpt below does not contain spoilers, but the full article does, so don't click 'read the article' if you don't want to be tempted to read through to the end.
The nuns and midwives of Nonnatus House have enough experience to know that life in Poplar does not run to schedule and thanks to those pesky poshos of Downton on the other side they had to induce the delivery date of their first Christmas special.
Heidi Thomas’s Fifties period drama was a runaway hit for the beeb this year and it comes as no surprise to see it playing a starring role in their festive line-up. The set designer may have been a tad liberal with the faux frosting machine but the period details are excellent, an evocative backdrop to the action not a glaring pastiche that could so easily overtake the plot.
The dulcet tones of Dame Vanessa Redgrave’s introductory narrative lulled the men of the household into an apathetic fug of gentle televisual tolerance only to be wrenched, toes curling, into the guttural gynaecological fumings of a new mother screaming for an enema to an impatient queue waiting to use the communal tenement loo.
For this is the format that has served Call the Midwife so well – nostalgic whimsy and a dash of sentimentality that segues seamlessly into chronicling the sheer brutal struggle faced by many in poverty, in post-war Britain.
Tonight’s two main story strands centered on the life that led to an old woman’s physical and mental destitution and a secret teenage pregnancy...