I first discovered this lovely show, Call the Midwife back in September and finally had the chance to view the first season. The show is based on Jennifer Worth's bestselling novels; the first being "Call the Midwife: A True Story of the East End in the 1950's". She wrote two others afterwards called, "Shadows of the Workhouse" and "Farewell to the East End."
Unfortunately, Jennifer Worth (aka Jennifer Lee-the main character in the series) passed away a year before the show aired but I'd like to think that she would have loved the way the BBC has told her story through television. Her daughters, Suzannah Hart and Juliette Walton reflected on the show and their mother in this lovely article which you can read here.
Set in the 1950's, the series follows mainly the life and work of Jennifer Lee. But Jennifer has three amazing fellow midwives by her side, Chummy, Trixie, and Cynthia. She also works and lives with four equally amazing nuns, Sister Julienne, Sister Evangelina, Sister Monica Joan, and Sister Bernadette. Each has their own story and their own personal experiences that help make them better midwives and women. I love that the show doesn't just focus on Jennifer Lee, although she is the main character, but gives us a view into the lives of the other cast as well.
My favorite characters by far are Chummy and Sister Monica Joan. Chummy is just the ugly duckling and the one that seems to stick out the most for obvious reasons (she is very tall) but also because of her wealthy upbringing. But I love how Chummy defeats all expectations and rises above the judgements of others. We see in the last episode (not the Christmas special) Chummy finding love and getting married! I just loved it! It made my heart sore!
Sister Monica Joan is just vivacious and although she seems to have failing memory she is constantly surprising everyone around her with the things she says. I love her sense of innocence and her wisdom-what a combination!
Is it worth watching? YES! Very much so! I will be honest, the very first episode was a tad bit shocking but that was coming from the part of me that is a mother. It was hard at first for me to imagine women living in those often dirty conditions and bringing a life into that environment. Once I got past that (as Jennifer's character does as well), I felt inspired, moved, and educated on what life was like in the 1950's in that part of England. It also made me feel appreciative to the kind of care and life that I can give to my own children. I truly commend those midwives who played such a vital role in so many women's and families lives.
The second Season of Call the Midwife will air in the UK early this new year and it will come to the States in March 2012 via the PBS station (one of my favorite stations since I was a child btw hehe). The DVD for Season One is now being sold on Amazon as well as the books by the late Jennifer Worth.
If you are interested in learning more about the midwives from the East End during the 1950's, here is a fabulous and intimate account of one midwife's experience.
Have you seen Season One yet? Did you like it? Who are your favorite characters? Are you looking forward to Season Two?