Call the Midwife, a BBC production, debuted in the UK last year to critical acclaim and turned into the highest-rated new drama launch in BBC history! Fortunately, PBS signed a deal with BBC to bring the series to this side of the pond. Call the Midwife airs immediately before Masterpiece Classic "Upstairs Downstairs," making Sunday evenings a dream-come-true for Anglophiles!
Call the Midwife, set in London's poverty-stricken East End in the 1950s, features a young nurse, Jenny Lee, and her fellow midwives, and the dramas that unfold as the nurses tend their patients. The series' universal themes include nursing and parenthood. The story of Jenny, a wealthy country girl who has followed her calling to the East End's teaming streets, is not unlike the story of Florence Nightingale. Nightingale, too, came from a wealthy, country home, but following her heart, ended up at the epicenter of the Crimean War, working at a filthy battle-field hospital in Scutari, where she laid down the foundations for modern nursing.
Heidi Thomas, a writer for "Upstairs Downstairs," wrote the Call the Midwife series, and reviewers claim, "Heidi Thomas’ witty and emotional scripts have perfectly captured a unique snapshot of British history...." The series is based on the books written by Jennifer Worth, a British nurse who practiced midwifery in the East End in the 1950s and wrote a trilogy of memoirs about her experiences. Her three books are entitled Call the Midwife, Shadows of the Workhouse, and Farewell to the East End.