Posted tagged ‘PBS’

Call the Midwife

July 21, 2019

Call the MidwifeI just finished “Call the Midwife” by Jennifer Worth. “Call the Midwife” was the basis for a PBS series of the same name. This book is actually book one of a three book series, but stands alone pretty well on its own.

The books tells the stories of midwifes, nursing and medicine in the East End of London during the 1950’s.

Paula and I had watched the PBS TV series a few years ago and our friend Roberta recommended that we read the books that were the basis for the TV series.

Indeed, the TV show is still going strong with season 8 just released. I just checked the PBS web site and found that Call the Midwife is on season 9. Still going strong. Click here to see the PBS site for Call the Midwife.

I really enjoyed reading book one and I will probably go back and read books two and three when I get around to it.

One of the comments in the book is about family size. It says that women in the East End typically had about 10 children over their child bearing years. Indeed, I learned later in life that my father had about 10 siblings. I only knew three of his brothers who we saw often when we were growing up. Many of his siblings had never reached adulthood, having died of a variety of diseases that are preventable in this day and age.

The book probably goes deeper into the lives of her patients in the East End. It seems to me that there are stories in the book are a bit too much for television.

Downton Abbey

March 10, 2016

 Last night we wrapped up watching the last episode of season six of Downton Abbey. It was a two hour affair. We typically haven’t been able to watch episodes on Sundays when it is broadcast. We depend on our DVR to catch up on our schedule. So we watched the first hour on Tuesday night after the family went home from our Tuesday night dinner.

We turned on the TV after the family left around 8pm. Mary likes to watch the news, so we started with the local and national news. I switched to Downton as soon as the news was done. Mary was sitting on the couch in her usual spot. After about 15 minutes, Mary says “Hey, this isn’t the news?”. With Mary, we could watch the news over and over again and it  would still be new to her. So we gently explained, that this was Downton Abbey. She watched about another 5 minutes and then went to bed.

So last night was spent closing up loose ends. Mr. Carson is allowed to retire and live out his life in comfort of a cottage on the estate. Edith got married off. Mr Barrow takes over as butler. Everyone lives happily ever after. We had none of the season ending downers like the end of season three when heart-throb Matthew dies in a car crash. Or the season three downer when daughter Sybil dies. So as ending episodes go, it was pretty satisfying. There was none of the trying to understand the episode.

So the story starts in the early part of the 20th century with the news of the death of one of the male heirs had died on the Titanic. So what are the Crawleys to do? They are concerned about the lack of a male heir. In season one, we are introduced to the concept called “entail” that relates to how property is transferred after a person’s death.

The story continues through WWI and then on to the post war 1920’s. Times they are a changing.

One of the things that I found very enjoyable was watching Maggie Smith play Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham. Also, excellent performance by Hugh Bonneville (Lord Grantham)

Downton Abbey is often compared to the PBS series “Upstairs/Downstairs”. Although, when that series was airing I had other things to do. I only caught a couple of episodes and we certainly didn’t have the luxury of a DVR. So you haven’t watched Downton Abbey? Well it’s not too late. All 52 episodes are available to stream on Amazon Prime Instant Video or DVD from Amazon. Seems like it’s a good opportunity for some binge watching. You can also get the DVD’s from Netflix.

There is also a documentary film on Highclere Castle where Downton Abbey was filmed.