Call the Midwife: Season One

2 discs. color. 360 min. Philippa Lowthorpe & , Neal Street Prods., dist. by BBC Home Entertainment, 2012. DVD UPC 883929269815. $34.98; Blu-ray UPC 883929270446. $39.98. F/TV
OrangeReviewStarEast London in the early 1950s was far from glamorous. When Jenny Lee (Jessica Raine) arrives to take up her midwifery career with the nursing nuns at Nonnatus House, she's definitely not prepared for the conditions under which her patients live, give birth, and raise their often numerous children. But Jenny soon becomes a part of this vibrant, though poverty-stricken, community, as well as the community of nuns, both saintly and worldly, who serve it. Based on the memoirs of Jennifer Worth (1935–2011), this program is imbued with the gritty reality of the East End, which helps Jenny recover from an unhappy love affair with a married man and embrace the priorities of what is surely a calling, not just a job. A wonderful ensemble cast includes veteran actresses Pam Ferris (Rosemary and Thyme), Judy Parfitt, and Miranda Hart.
VERDICT First-rate drama, with an absorbing story line and a real feel for the period and the people. Thankfully, a second season will be available in 2013.

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