Friday, 27 January 2012

Call The Midwife!

I'm sure you've all been watching' Call The Midwife', the Sunday evening BBC1 adaptation of the novel by Jenny Worth. I've loved the first 2 episodes and it is quite close to the book. The flavour of the era is definitely brought out (although a little overdone at times), it's quite amazing to think how times have changed.
I was amazed by some of the stats Jenny shares in the book, in the 1950s the group of Nuns and midwives had 80-100 deliveries a month on their books and by 1963 that number had dropped to 4 or 5, to quote the book itself,  "now that is some social change"! Can you imagine the level of overcrowding that many new births per month would create? There's even the story of one women who has had 24 children! I can find 3 a bit overwhelming let alone 24!!!)

The story is quite amazing, all the more so because it's a true account of life in London's East End in the 1950s. That's my parents generation; post war baby boom children who grew up in a very different social and cultural environment. Many of the homes these babies are delivered into have no hot running water, no central heating and often no inside toilet, I'm certainly not nostalgic about that side of 'vintage' life!

If you haven't been watching, catch up on iplayer and watch this Sunday. If you haven't read the book, do- it's a real eye opener as to why we should appreciate what we have today and the fact that our days aren't such an uphill struggle of manual labour, multiple childbirth and darn hard work. It's also an excellent social commentary on attitudes towards childbirth itself and the swing away from home births to hospital deliveries and the beginnings of a swing back again. Another testimony to the power of womanhood, both that of the women who lived in that place in that time whom Worth refers to as "Heroines", and that of the Nuns and Midwives who used their very lives in support and encouragement of others.
It's also full of some great acting by the likes of Pam Ferris, Miranda Hart and Jenny Agutter.
Have you been watching? What do you think?


Louise said...

I've recorded these but not got around to watching them yet. My great grandma was one of 16 children, and yet I'm an only child. How times have changed. X

Ange said...

I found it quite unbelievable that times have changed soooo much! You will love watching it. x