Thursday, 31 May 2012

British Drama in The States

I have a confession.

Come closer.

*gulp*  I've never seen Downton Abbey. [cue gasp]

With the Downton Abbey craze sweeping the US, I'm embarrassed to admit that I've never watched it.  Tons of my US friends are raving about it on Facebook and it feels wrong that I live in the UK and haven't seen it.  Don't get me wrong.  It sounds really good.  It's right up my alley and people I like and who's taste I respect have said it's awesome.  I just sort of missed it when it started.  I have a hard time figuring out scheduling of British television and just never got on board when it started.  And I refuse to start a series in the middle.  I mean, a sitcom is one thing, but a series drama requires investment and background.  If you miss the beginning, you miss out on all the little nuances and story threads that are hinted at and woven together over time.  So I refuse to watch until I can start from the beginning.  I'll get around to it.

Though, I have missed Downton, I can give you a heads up on another British Drama that is headed to the US via PBS this fall.

Call the Midwife aired while I was pregnant, so I was really interested to watch it.  It follows a group of midwives and nuns who are charged with caring for the women in the east end of London during the 1950s. The main character was actually the least compelling figure, in my opinion, but the show is based on her memoirs.  The supporting cast and the look at the public health conditions of the time are really fascinating.  Especially good is comedian Miranda Hart as an awkward midwife named Chummy.  She was nominated for a TV BAFTA (the equivalent of an Emmy) for Supporting Actress and I found her performance really compelling.

This show really gives a great look at how far the practice of childbirth has come and could spark some great discussions.  Issues of abuse, miscarriage, forced adoption, and post-partum depression are all covered in thoughtful and interesting manner.  The relationships between the midwives and their charges makes for a good watch.  If you're into British stuff, baby/childbirth stuff, public health stuff, 1950's stuff, and human drama I say it's certainly worth a watch!

CALL THE MIDWIFESundays, September 30 to November 4, 2012, 8:00-9:00 p.m. ET– Based on the best-selling trilogy by the late Jennifer Worth, CALL THE MIDWIFE is a fascinating portrayal of birth, life and death in a world drastically different from ours. This six-part series offers an unconventional twist to Sunday-night British dramas and brings mid-20th-century London to life, focusing on the joys and hardships of a group of midwives working in London’s East End. 


  1. I've never watched Downton either, and most of my friends are obsessed with it! I need to catch up before it comes back, but the longer I wait, the more daunting the task seems.

    1. Exactly! Once you leave it too long it becomes, like, a THING. Glad I'm not the only one :)