Call The Midwife: A BBC1 Triumph For Real People

The second hour of the BBC1 Call The Midwife drama series has now (on Sunday evening, 22 Jan 2012) been broadcast; and already we learn that there will be another series before long.  Rarely do I get enthused about television, but the original books offered the potential for something special; and so it turns out to be.  My piece elsewhere (and below) about aspects of public service which the TV drama illustrates has resulted in some really human engagement with this excellent viewing.  Please keep the Comments coming….

Call the Midwife is a drama devised almost entirely around the everyday (for some!) activities of ‘ordinary women’; and perhaps against mainstream expectations, it’s received a storm of accolade.  One almost senses that people who are agin it are also those who are a bit afraid of real human life.  The rest of us are delighted to see drama focused on the fundamentals of normal people’s experience.

Comments  so far received on my other website (you can see by whom here ) have included:

> Lovin this Bbc keep it up!…. Makes Sunday eve fab!!!!.. ;-) )))

> Thought Miranda Hart’s performance last night was excellent – had pathos, humour, empathy – everything. Bet you it gets an award!

> Thanks BBC for a brilliant Sunday night programme – at last!  I love it!!!

> Brilliant Sunday night viewing..

> Hi just to inform you that I trained  and worked as a Midwife in the seventies with the Nuns in Poplar,Bow and Isle of Dogs. I also cycled for 3 yrs on the job. I worked with them as a Community Midwife from 1972-1979.

> As a teenager growing up in London and Kent in the 50/60s, I can relate to the atmosphere created in this absolutely wonderful drama. The acting is second to none;  I look forward with enthusiasm to the coming weeks’ broadcasts. Well done to the writer for her foresight in seeing that the book would make such a superb production.

> This is such a lovely programme and one of the type that the BBC really excel at.  One that can be watched by the whole family (even the birth scenes!).  It makes such a change to some of the rubbish that is on at the moment.  Keep up the good work – and the quality.

> I have very enjoyed the first two episodes and look forward to the next Sunday evenings. I have even bought the book! The acting is superb and the stories are excellent! Well done BBC!

> I just wanted to say how much I am enjoying Call the Midwives. I was mortified when Larkrise to Candleford came to an end and wondered what could replace such a great series and what could I watch to fill the gap in my Sunday evenings. Well, Call the Midwife certainly does and I just wanted to add how brilliant Miranda Hart was last week. Really looking forward to the rest of the series and am so glad to hear that another series has been commissioned. Well done BBC.

… and then there are also the questions about the family origins of the character Father Joe Smith, and about the name and performers of the music.

Here then is engagement indeed, well deserved and contrary perhaps to the expectation by some that all television ‘drama’ has to be improbable, romanticised or brutalised.

Jennifer Worth, who wrote the original books and who, sadly, died just before this first series of televised dramas came into being, shared accounts of human need and human response which require little other than simple re-telling.

Sometimes – and perhaps never more so than when at its start and ending – human life is drama enough as it is.

Posted on January 28, 2012, in Arts, Culture And Heritage, Education, Health And Welfare, People And Places, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 32 Comments.

  1. Vivienne Bishop

    Couldn’t watch the series as my mother told me her midwives were all horrible women , hard and unsympathetic, like most of the teachers I had at primary school. My mother was a very intelligent , hard-working young woman from North England , married to a lowly-paid policeman in South London just after WW2. I believe most women at that time were treated harshly by both midwives and doctors.

  2. Just seen the BBC trailer for Call The Midwife….. What’s the song advertising it???? Love it 🙂

  3. Does anyone know who sang the last song of the last series? I think it might be called ‘wonderful’.

    • The song is We’re Not Alone by Frankie Vaughan (it’s available on ITunes). It took me quite a bit of searching to find it, and for some reason this song was not included on the soundtrack CD, which it really should have been. Hope this helps.

      • I should have been more specific: The song I’m referring to is the one played during the end credits of the last episode of Season 2. As stated, it’s We’re not Alone by Frankie Vaughan

  4. I too love this show very much. It is sweet to read everyone’s enthusiasm for it, (especially the woman whose mom is ill but watches with the daughter and grand daughter :D).

    Does anyone know the piano ditty in ep. 6? I think it’s beautiful.


  5. Can any 1 give me the link to the title theme music?

  6. I missed the series when it was first on. I have been watching it on its repeats but it has only gone to number 3 and stopped. Any idea when 4, 5 and 6 is on?

  7. Have just used David Roberts list to download tracks from itunes and make my mum her own soundtrack in readiness for Mother’s Day – fab! Many thanks.

  8. What a brilliant triumph for the BBC. Apparently it is discouraging young people from pregnancy altogether. A minor miracle by todays’ standards of morality!
    Please keep up the great production work. Perhaps a permanent “soap opera” type series or the like? A further series is now in production I believe and many more to come please God.

  9. Thanks so much to David Roberts. I found your list v. helpful.

  10. I have published a list of the songs on my blog: Hope this is of some use.

  11. Trixie is based on my grandmother. I love how the character is so well depicted. Send me any questions you may want to ask her about her experience with Jenny.

    • Alison Butts

      Could you please ask your grandmother how much of the books are true? For example I have read that Sister Monica Joan and Chummy are fictional characters? Were the bugs which infested the tenements and which Jenny saw thousands of one night, bedbugs or cockroaches? I have so enjoyed the books and TV series and your grandmother is a very special person to have been able to do that job,


  12. Some more interesting Comments from (with thanks):

    > The car used tonight part 3 was well advance of its time. Car 5778NK is a green Rover 100 saloon and its year of manufacture was 04/01/1961. So he had a car from the future and not from the 50′s. But I love the show.

    > Does anyone know the name of the piece of music played on the violin in tonights show? Thanks.

    >I think the piece is more often played on the cello:
    This cello version is performed by Yo-Yo Ma. It’s The Swan by Saint-Saens.
    Maybe others know of a violin solo version?

    > Just watched this on you tube, it was amazing. Thanks so much.Kind regards.

    > That was no violin, it was a ‘cello we heard playing in the programme. I expect The Swan can be transcribed and played on the violin, but I have never heard it. I have just searched though Jennifer Worth’s book and there is no mention of any piece of music played by the beautiful woman who died of eclampsia.

    > I just checked, and in fact it was The Swan which we saw played on the violin (about 7 or 8 mins into the programme:, but obviously in a different key to that used in the Yo Yo Ma normal cello version.
    I’ve also now found out that there is an arrangement for violin and piano by none other than Jascha Heifitz. Here’s a clip of Rudolf Koelman and Ferenc Bognar playing it:
    I don’t recall any mention of this piece of music in the book, either, but Jennifer Worth did of course move from midwifery to become a professional classical musician, so perhaps she told someone about it when they were planning the programme? Or maybe someone just thought it was nice…?

    > can you tell me please the name of the intro song?

    > Hi there was a female vocalist singing softly in the back ground. Someone to watch over me? Into nights episode of call the midwife. Any ideas who this was?

    • We watched a episode here in NZ a couple of weeks ago with “Someone to watch over me” sung by a female. I would like to know who sang it too. The question wasn’t answered. Do you know?

  13. I absolutely love this programme.
    The characters are brilliant, the storylines make me laugh and cry. Miranda Hart who I have always liked is outstanding.
    My mum has Alzheimers and doesn’t sit for long periods.. But this programme keeps her on her seat! Then afterwards we talk for ages about it, which is amazing in itself, usually she gets up several times during programmes! She talks about her experiences giving birth, her midwives, her mum and of all the neighbour hood rallying round.
    So you can see why this programme is so special to me for lots of reasons 🙂
    I get to watch a brilliant programme and get some of my mum back as well….
    My 12 yr old daughter loves it as well and sits and listens to nanna’s stories afterwards.
    Many thanks, keep them coming
    Kind regards

  14. song is called Love me Forever,Jodie Sands and Edie Gorme both recorded it…..not too sure if that’s who was singing on the programme.

  15. Suzy The song was “Love me Forever” sung by Eydie Gorme

    • Many thanks to Rita and Kirsten for your help with who sang the song, we’ve all been racking our brains without success. Looking forward to another brilliant episode on Sunday!

  16. This is the best drama the BBC have done in a long while! Love the songs as well. Can anyone tell me the name of the song at the very end of tonight’s (5th Feb) episode. It had the lyrics, “love me, love me completely” and was by a female singer.

  17. Thanks Helen and Sophie. Couldn’t agree more!

    I did a bit of searching and apparently the BBC is going to release the whole series as DVD/s (details here ).

    Some info about the music is discussed on my other website ( here ). This includes:

    > We are enjoying the series too and madly looked to find out who sang ‘You Belong To Me’ and pretty sure it was a group from the 50s called ‘The Duprees’. You can hear it on You Tube. The other song ‘Embraceable You’ was sang by the Solitaires.

    > My father sang in a group in the 50′s called the Hough brothers and the theme could be mistaken for them. It brings back memories. Thanks BBC.

    Hopefully other readers of this blog can advise us about the music some more?

    Thank you again, and please keep the Comments coming!

  18. Really love this programme. I’ve been searching for a list of the songs featured in the programmes but cannot find one, would really love it if there was a list available somewhere or perhaps the BBC could produce a soundtrack CD? Thank you

    • I too would like a cd of the music,as at the very end when the credits roll it is spoken over the beautiful record,that has happened twice now.

  19. Absolutely wonderful, call the midwife, about time there was something decent to watch on the tv, please can we have more.
    Who cares if there were some mistakes, the acting is brilliant!! Should win an award.

  1. Pingback: Call The Midwife… Then, Now And In The Future « Hilary Burrage

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