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The show that has become a national institution returned last night, with what might be its most emotionally challenging episode yet. Rest assured, this is the Sixties as we rarely see it depicted on TV…
In a nutshell
There’s a common misconception that Call the Midwife is comfort telly. The televisual equivalent of tea and biccies. A drama to watch while in a onesie. And yes, it does have that side to it. But it also has another side, which is as gritty and gruelling as anything in Ken Loach. And things stepped up a gear in the new series opener, which took us into Easter (somewhat jarringly for viewers in 2016) and saw the birth of a child with severe and inexplicable deformities.
Which was a shock for the parents and for Patsy, who helped deliver the baby. Yes, Call the Midwife is fully tackling the terrible, true life tragedy of thalidomide, the supposed wonder drug for morning sickness which was distributed to mothers and was later found to cause infant deformities. Stories don’t come much more sensitive and traumatic than this, but Call the Midwife handled this opening chapter perfectly, with some heartwrenching acting (particularly from the infant’s mum) and a sense of foreboding about the future. Cosy viewing? Not quite.
What's the verdict?
Something doing the opposite of running out of steam, Call the Midwife is better than ever. At this rate, it’ll run and run until we see the characters all geriatric in the Noughties. Now there’s a thought…