This final What to Watch Wednesday of Women’s History Month, I wanted to share one of my absolute favorite female-forward television shows that happens to have both women and history: “Call the Midwife.”
It’s the story of the midwives, nurses, and nuns of Nonnatus House, a convent, in Poplar, London in the late 1950s (and now into the early 1960s). And it is one of the best shows on television.
Based on the memoir of real-life midwife, Jennifer Worth, the show initially centered on the story of Jenny (played by Jessica Raine and Vanessa Redgrave, who narrates the show). Now heading into its seventh season on PBS (in the U.S., the seventh series has already concluded in the UK), the show has moved well beyond Jenny’s story, which concluded (for now, who knows) in the third season.
If you haven’t watched the show, it may be difficult to imagine a show about women in a role that may seem “traditionally female” as being feminist.
This show about midwives manages to also be about women’s rights, healthcare, reproductive rights, civil rights, mental health, and I would go on, but we could be here a while. And it does it all without preaching. And I mean that metaphorically, there is literal preaching, it does take place in a convent.
The stories of these trailblazing women (sometimes literally) who connected and transformed this community one bicycle ride and birth at a time are truly astonishing and inspiring.
And every time a character has left and a new one has replaced them (and that’s happened a lot at this point)…
…I admit I’ve wondered if it could possibly ever be the same. And it’s not, but it’s just as compelling and will always find some way to make me cry. Seriously just grab the box now. They may be joyful, they may be mournful, but, make no mistake, there will be tears.
There’s also joy, friendship, and love…
But a lot of what sets this show apart happens behind the camera, where the show boasts a female creator, a mostly female writing team, and the longest list of female directors you’ll see just about anywhere.
And if you’ve not yet discovered Poplar, you’ll be delighted to know the first six seasons are waiting for you on Netflix. It’s a call you’ll be glad you made.