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4.9 out of 5 stars
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4.9 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 8 February 2012
...I wasn't sure I would like this series. And I nearly didn't get past the first episode; all that blood and guts, not expected for a programme broadcast before the nine o'clock watershed. But it is a sign of the maturity of the very best TV drama (and that almost always means the BBC) that reality doesn't get left behind in the desire to 'entertain'. Luckily, a friend encouraged me to keep with the series, and it has been rewarding in a number of ways.

The key to good drama is story, cast and direction. This has the lot. The (real) tale of NHS midwives in late '50s East End London. A step into the past. The positives - that sense of community, of progress and hope, of friendships; the negatives - the overcrowding, the poverty, the filth. And I like the way we are constantly reminded of how far things had progressed with the advent of the National Health Service some years earlier (whilst some of us look on aghast as it is now being taken apart).

The casting is a dream. Jenny Agutter, surely one of the most versatile (and under-rated?) of actresses. Jessica Raine, almost child -like. And it was a stroke of genius to have Miranda Hart playing the lovely Chummy, bringing some light to balance the darker moments.

This may sound ridiculous, but there is a comparison here with Dad's Army: a collection of interesting and likeable people doing good.

But it is also quite moving, a rare thing indeed.

No wonder this has been such a surprise hit.
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on 30 January 2012
This must be one of the best researched and actuated TV dramas for the last decade. Apart from the perhaps unavoidable cleanliness of the sets and clothing (cleanest washing - ready ironed it seems hanging on those street-strung washing lines) it shouts mid 20th century: the accents and real portrayals of social mores haven't been 'bought up to date' at the expense of truth (as has the rather delightful if predictable Downtown Abbey). Can't fault 'Midwives' otherwise and I'm one of those nitpickers that goes 'hamsters being known about in the Downtown Abbey's 1910s servant's hall??? - pah!'

Call the Midwife is an excellent, excellent series, that reminds us old-timers just what dire health issues the NHS set out correcting, and hopefully, what a jewel it still is, before it gets dismantled piecemeal as a step towards the majority of us reverting to those living conditions.

Pleased to read a second series is commissioned. This is not a watch-once programme, but a treasure! Well written, well produced, well directed and well acted, with ultimate 50s girl Miranda Hart a touch of casting genius. To see Roy Hudd tonight gives it the last touch of wonderful.
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on 16 January 2012
I will update this review as the series continues but felt I needed to say something after the first episode last night.
I haven't read the books so can't compare them but I have just ordered them so we will see, the programme itself though was fantastic, just my kind of thing, I love period drama's and though this is set much later than what I usually go for, I loved it.
I found the subject of midwifery and family life in the east end in the 1950's very interesting and along with a great cast, the detail of knowledge made this riveting viewing .
After just one of the six episodes I have pre-ordered the Dvd , something I would never normally do , hopefully the first class drama continues.
*UPDATE* Episode 2 had a slightly different feel to the first but new character Chummy Browne (Miranda Hart) was a great addition and there were some good storylines, particularly the prostitution/adoption one which was heartbreaking.
Episode 3 wasn't as good as the first two but there was alot more development of individual characters and the two main storylines were quite emotional.
I can't wait until next sunday, I just wish there were more than six episodes.
Episode 4 and 5 were the best yet as the series hits it's stride and all the characters have had their introductions, it's a shame there's only one more to go, the good news is, there is to be a second series.
The series finished with a great episode which tied up some loose ends but left room for the next series. This really was a fantastic programme, just up my street .
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on 29 May 2012
I sat down to watch this with my wife with the usual look of petulance I'd employ for say 27 dresses or some other such drivel. I'm absolutely sick to death of dumbed down chick lit/chickflick, vampire/werewolf/supernatural, crime thriller, find yourself nonsense.

This kind of rubbish doesn't even try to present us with well-rounded, strong female characters in lead roles, just generic cutesy, man-dependant shallow airheads, frequently more concerned with their handbags than showing any independance or even an opinion. Either that or strong women in the workplace being portrayed as ball-busters or lesbians (or ball bursting lesbians).

Fortunately and surprisingly, Call the midwife in it's 50s pre-feminist movement, manages to give us some women of substance, grit, humour, spirit and character to admire who put their 21st Century movie and chick-lit counterparts to shame.

In this wonderful show we have proper character growth, heart-warming and heart-wrenching real-life stories. Use of symmetry, contrast and drama is expertly executed. We have beautifully self-contained stories linked to a larger theme. We have characters with many facets to them so we can dislike, love and feel for each and every one (chummy is by far my favourite).

The Writer(s)have done an amazing job of bringing these stories to the screen and exhibiting the courage, skill, determination and basic great humanity of the people whose stories they tell.

More please.
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on 7 August 2015
I originally purchased the box set a few years ago and thoroughly enjoyed the series...now just finished watching again on amazons prime....Call the Midwife is set in the 1950s in the east end of London....based on the true stories of Jennifer Worth, which are based on the Ms Worth's books. The reasons why I love this series is the social standards of the fifties and how everyday people coped with pregnancy and child birth...penicillin was just been introduced at the time and child birth was still classed as been a high risk for death and infections...babies were born at home and preeclampsia was a disease that could kill...midwives were not just there for the mothers but we're also the district nurses for the elderly and sick.
Overall, this is a true to life series, the acting is brilliant especially with Miranda Hart. I would recommend this series to anyone involved in any type of nursing or interested in the social standards of the East End of London.....I am really pleased that they decided to make a series from Ms Worth's books.
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on 16 February 2012
I'm 14 and loved the series! The characters are excellent, (particularly Chummy :-)), as are the books! Some have critisced the novels, but I'm on book 2! Very well done, can't wait for more!
Bravo!!
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on 8 April 2014
I missed the first series on TV so bought this to get up to speed and what a delight it is. Not only is it full of wonderful music from the era, but I found I became attached to all the characters in a very short space of time. It is uplifting, loyalty, hard work and friendship prevail, even in an impoverished community.

Quite simply brilliant.
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on 3 June 2012
An amazing series with a cast that you really can enjoy. All the vivid life of the 1950 London slums are brought to life - squalid yes, but also tender and loving, witty and humorous, above all a vibrant community. The midwifery scenes are skillfully depicted without being too sensationalized or graphic. Very enjoyable viewing for anyone with an interest in these areas. Cannot wait for the next series !! Very true to book which I read after viewing the series. There are four books in the series by Jennifer Worth, most readable and well written.Shadows Of The Workhouse: The Drama Of Life In Postwar LondonCall The Midwife: A True Story Of The East End In The 1950S, ASIN:0753823063 Farewell To The East End: The Last Days of the East End Midwives]]
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'Call The Midwife' is a series shown on PBS that gives us the good in the world. Set in the 1950's in London's East End, all the help that is available is needed. We see the sorid, the poor, the love and the caringg from all concerned. We get to know all of the women and few men involved in this series.

The episodes revolve around Jenny Lee , played by Jessica Raine who becomes a midwife to do good but also to escape a romance. She joins two other women, and nuns including Sister Monica-Joan, played by Judy Parfitt, and Sister Evangelina, played by Pam Ferris.nSister Julienne played by Jenny Agutter runs the place. Miranda Hart is the Camilla or "Chummy" Fortescue-Cholmondeley-Browne, as the clumsy, clueless midwife who brings reality and some humor to the series.

This is a series of women helping other women, mostly delivering babies. N the process we see the real deal,sometimes shocking, but most often the lovely process of bringing life into this world. Ths is a very popular series and Seres two is not far behind.

Recommended. prisrob 04-26-13
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on 29 January 2012
A lot of drama's dont make it past the first hurdle now day's but this one did... and completing the annerlagy finished the race first. Eithen though only a couple of episodes have currently been shown I can already so with no doubt that this is one of those drama's that will last for a very long time... for the simple reason that it is very good.

Each story, unlike so many drama's now days, is believable and realistic which therefore allows you to apply yourself to it more, and be intrigued by it more. The programme really allows you to feel connected with all the charecters and the experiences they are going through. An exceptional congratulations also to Jessica Raine who plays the lead, she does an absolutly spiffing job and I wouldn't be surprised if there were awards coming her way in the future for this performance.

The writers and producers have done an excellent job with this programme - well written and well crafted it represents everything positive with British drama. I would just also like to mention what a pleasure it is to see Miranda Hart in a dramatic role in this programme - it really allows us to see a different side to her person. A real reccomendation this programme, and I cant wait for the DVD and hopefully future series.
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