A BBC series set in the 1950’s in the suburbs of London, England–I’ve been watching it on Netflix (“Call the Midwife”). As in any series, the key elements are the characters:
- the Head Nun, who’s wisdom and kindness multiplies her beauty;
- a younger nun who is almost as kind and wise, but is (very humanly) tempted to wish for a life outside of being a nun;
- the battle-ax nun, who’s tenderness leaks out from behind an austere, critical, front;
- the octogenarian nun, who is quite senile, but often comes out with the most wonderful pearls of wisdom! It’s quite amazing how Sister Monica Rose talks on in a very proper and pedantic sort of language, but when you try to figure out what she just said… And she’s always going on about aliens and the zodiac, and other very non nun-ish sort of things, providing the comic relief for the show. The others are very forgiving of her, doing all they can to protect her and look after her.
- There are 3-4 trained nurses (young ladies) who stay in residence with the nuns, all of them (nuns and nurses) on call to be midwives in a very prolific community, just before the advent of The Pill.
Besides the characters, there a few other things I love about this show:
- Outward beauty is not portrayed as all-important. It’s the tall, gangly, very plain-looking nurse who ends up with romance. Plus, the doctor is really almost ugly, showing care-worn wrinkles–but he does get involved in a love-interest with one of the midwives (I won’t spoil it and tell you who!)
- Watching the miracle of new birth again and again (and almost coming to tears each time!) And seeing all those beautiful brand-new babies.
- The fact that the show amazingly includes the opposite end of the spectrum: not only in the regular Sister Monica Rose, but the nurses are always having to visit and care for older people as well. In almost every show there is some old geyser who needs his legs rubbed, or his bandages changed, or who is resisting treatment, etc.; and they each play an important part in the story.
OH–I also love the way they always play some 50’s music; a couple of songs in every show: usually one at some point during the story, and one at the end during the credits.