CALL THE MIDWIFE, the highest-rated drama debut in BBC history, will premiere on witf beginning on September 30, 2012 at 8:00 p.m.
The six-part series will lead into MASTERPIECE CLASSIC “Upstairs Downstairs,” transforming Sunday nights into a destination for drama on witf.
Based on the best-selling memoirs of Jennifer Worth, CALL THE MIDWIFE is a moving and intimate story of midwifery in London’s East End in the 1950s. The series follows a young Jenny Lee as she and her fellow midwives, attached to an order of nursing nuns, navigate the crowded East End streets teeming with children, workers and a culture remarkably different from the wealthy English countryside where Jenny was raised.
Written by Heidi Thomas (“Cranford,” “Upstairs Downstairs”) and directed by Philippa Lowthorpe (“Five Daughters”) and Jamie Payne (“The Hour”), CALL THE MIDWIFE completed its first season in the UK on BBC ONE in February 2012. Attracting 11.4 million viewers for its peak episode, CALL THE MIDWIFE was the highest-rated BBC new drama debut on record. A second season has been commissioned and will air in the UK in 2013. CALL THE MIDWIFE is a Neal Street production for BBC. Executive Produced by Pippa Harris (Revolutionary Road, “The Hollow Crown”) and Heidi Thomas. The series is produced by Hugh Warren (“Survivors”).
“CALL THE MIDWIFE is a riveting new series that strengthens PBS as a destination for drama on Sunday nights,” said Paula Kerger, PBS President and CEO. “We look forward to working with our BBC partners to introduce the story and the characters that were so beloved in Britain to the American audience.”
CALL THE MIDWIFE stars Jessica Raine as Jenny Lee, along with Jenny Agutter (The Railway Children, “Spooks”) as Sister Julienne, Pam Ferris (“Little Dorrit,” “Darling Buds of May”) as Sister Evangelina, Miranda Hart (“Miranda”) as Chummy, Judy Parfitt (“Little Dorrit,” Girl with a Pearl Earring) as Sister Monica Joan, Helen George (“Hollyoaks,” “Doctors”) as Trixie Franklin, Bryony Hannah (Cemetery Junction) as Cynthia Miller, Laura Main (“Monarch of the Glen”) as Sister Bernadette and Cliff Parisi (“East Enders”) as Fred. Vanessa Redgrave provides the voice of the mature Jennifer.
The drama unfolds as Jenny meets her patients, including one woman who is on her 25th pregnancy and a young, 15 year-old prostitute pregnant for the first time. Initially shocked by the health and living conditions of the East End, Jenny soon learns to admire the families she works with, along with the sisters and fellow midwives who witness the daily drama of life in this vibrant community.
Executive producer Pippa Harris said, “CALL THE MIDWIFE has excited the imagination of viewers in the UK and I am confident it will do the same in the US. Heidi Thomas’ witty and emotional scripts have perfectly captured a unique snapshot of British history, but the universal themes of childbirth, nursing and parenthood ring true throughout the world.”
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