In The Style of “Call The Midwife”, Women on The Verge of Change

by Margaret Gardiner April 1, 2016

Inspired by the memoirs of a former nurse, Jennifer Worth, Call the Midwife reflects her life as a midwife at a nursing convent in a deprived part of London during the late 1950s and early 1960s. But really it’s personal stories told against the backdrop of social change, a time when men and women are starting to listen to themselves and question the status quo. Challenges like being gay when it was illegal, dealing with addictions and pregnancies out of wedlock at a time when it was the ultimate shame. The issues are current, showing how far we’ve come and how we are regressing. There’s plenty of humor to balance the tears. A critical and commercial darling, Call the Midwife (PBS), is also ground breaking, having an entire Season – number 3 – directed by women. (See the interview by Dame Pippa Harris of Neal Street Productions who is featured in our series The Other Half.) Season 5 continues to capture the issues and clothing of the time. A visual delight that blends color, shapes and the slow evolution toward the raucous 60s: tights emerge, mini-skirts are a long way off, but the hemlines are rising, and the release of the bouffant hair is happening. Dylan, The Beatles, The Stones are ahead, but an indication that the super tight 50s are unraveling is visible in Season 5.