I don’t know about all of you, but I can be a sucker for a good period drama. Usually, my preference is for the eighteenth century, but in general, I love seeing narratives set in the past that revel in emotions, drama, and beautiful costumes. I have binged watched many, but here are five reasons why you should watch Call the Midwife right now:
1. The premise
There are a lot of things to love about Call the Midwife. For starters, the premise: a BBC show about midwives and Anglican nuns in the East End of London in the late 1950s, based on the memoirs of Jennifer Worth. I was very skeptical of this show, mostly because there have been times that I’ve been burned by 20th century period dramas (I am still not over Matthew’s death on Downton Abbey), but I quickly fell in love with Call the Midwife, mostly for:
2. Female centered narratives
Female centered storylines are essential to how Call the Midwife functions. Luckily for us all, it is difficult to tell stories about midwives that are driven by women, and in particular stories that are not always concerned with romance, but female friendship and motherhood. Vanessa Redgrave narrates each episode, and her dignified voice never lets the viewer forget that we are a. watching a British period drama and b. that we are in safe hands.
3. Emotional, topical stories
I think that it is the emotional honesty that grounds Call the Midwife that makes me want to rewatch the show even as I just finished binging it on Netflix. The sheer lack of historical dramas that engage with risky topics like abortion, homophobia, ableism, and class makes the considerate ways that Call the Midwife handles them even more striking. I honestly did not think I would enjoy a television show that features so many births and my consistent crying every episode, and yet, here we are.
4. The humor
I did not know Anglican nuns were funny, or anything about childbirth could have jokes, but Call the Midwife has had me in full out giggles from the beginning, in part due to its stellar cast that included Miranda Hart for a few seasons. Her reaction shots alone are worth the binge, and the one liners that come from almost every character make you want to inhabit their world.
5. The length
Okay, this one might be a cop out, but it’s a fair point. The show has five series and counting (the sixth is premiering on PBS right now stateside) and has three more guaranteed by the BBC. It’s not often that we can watch a show and know that it will be continuing until 2020, but Call the Midwife has that luxury.
In our Peak TV filled world, there are so many shows to watch. If you’re looking fill a day with fun British TV, watch Call the Midwife if you’re looking for emotionally resonant drama with many references to cake. Or The Great British Bake Off.
Featured image credit: © BBC Worldwide Ltd | Neal Street Productions 2011 via PBS