Well it shows how much I know because, despite completely slating it last week, Call the Midwife drew in over 8.5 million viewers for last week’s series debut. Success for the show continued throughout last week as Miranda Hart won Best Actress at the National Television Awards which is a shame seeing as it appears as if she’s leaving the show at least for the rest of the show but more on that later.
As I noted last week the second series of Call the Midwife is giving other characters a chance to shine and this week is a case in point as the often neglected Cynthia Miller, played by Bryonny Hannah, takes centre stage in a fairly traumatic storyline. The opening scene sees an incredibly knackered Cynthia forced to get up to cycle off to the tenements in order to deliver the baby of Irene Kelly who is screaming in agony when she gets there. Though the birth is a little more painful than normal the baby is delivered and the family is overjoyed as the Kelly’s new son is put in his mother’s arms. We get the impression straight away that things aren’t going to end well though as much is made of Cynthia’s decision whether or not to have a drink to wet the baby’s head. Those suspicions are warranted when Cynthia travels back to visit Irene only to discover that the baby has died and obviously an inquest is called for where Cynthia soon finds herself being questioned by the police. Inevitably the issues of her fatigue and her drinking are both bought up during her interview with the police an incident that shakes her confidence somewhat as she begins to doubt her abilities as a midwife. Her confidence is shattered further during surgery when one expectant mother refuses to see Cynthia as she sees her as complicit in the death of Irene Kelly’s baby. Things come to a head for Cynthia when she goes to deliver a baby and finds herself unable to do so and runs away from the mother essentially tarnishing her name once again. Despite this storyline featuring a baby’s funeral it is still fairly predictable how things will end and so there was no real surprise when the inquest result came in.
With Cynthia taking a priority, Jenny Lee really takes a backseat this week though we still see the beginnings of a new romantic plot for her when the handsome Jimmy returns all grown up. Though we learnt Jenny’s heart lies elsewhere, though we haven’t heard anything about her married man since last series, she still finds herself drawn to Jimmy which is a shame as it appears as if he’s moved on or maybe not. Then there’s Chummy who has made up her mind to go off to Africa for six months, presumably giving Miranda Hart time to film her sitcom, however her husband Peter learns that he can’t join the police in Sierra Leone without undertaking a full physical first. Obviously the fairly portly Peter, who in his own words is no stranger to a treacle tart, needs to partake in some physical exercise however he asks the only character with a bigger belly than him in Fred the handyman to assist him. This obviously results in some fairly comic exercise montages with Fred riding a bike alongside Peter trying to encourage him to run faster while later they confide in Sister Evangelina who engages Peter in some strenuous gardening. As ridiculous as these scenes are they definitely interjected some much needed joy into an otherwise fairly dark episode and they were obviously also leading up to Miranda’s departure for presumably the rest of the series. Just in case you thought she was leaving for good we got Vanessa Redgrave’s reassuring voice-over informing us that Chummy would be back in six months’ time. This episode also saw the continuation of the possible romance between Dr Turner and Sister Bernadette as the two considered taking tea together while we also had a silly little story with Sister Monica Joan spending a lot of the convent’s money on taxis.
To me this was another average episode of Sunday night tea time fodder only I found the majority of it fairly depressing and didn’t really find the central storyline that compelling. What I did like was that Bryony Hannah was finally given something to do as I find her a very accomplished actress even though her character in Call the Midwife is a little wet. I feel that she was the ideal actress to be part of these scenes as she has the most innocent face and I did actually sympathise with her when she was being questioned by the police for a death that obviously wasn’t her fault. Personally though I felt this story was dragged out too far, and the conclusion didn’t even end the episode, however at least it gave one of the other cast members a chance to shine. Elsewhere we had the temporary departure of Miranda Hart, who I’m assuming will be back before the end of the series, which was a little ill-timed seeing as she apparently the programme’s best actress. What this episode did do was set up a continuing storyline involving our heroine Jenny and the conflicted Jimmy who has found himself in a bit of a personal mess that I’m sure she’ll interfere with in her own unique way.
My overall feeling was that there was too much going on in this second episode of Call the Midwife as I counted at least four different stories none of which ever really took priority. Once again I thought everything is well-styled from the cramped flats of Poplar to the streets where Fred and Peter conduct their training regime however once again I feel there is little of substance. The only shining light in this episode was Bryonny Hannah who I feel should be given a little bit more to do and maybe next time have something a little happier to react to. But despite my feelings on the series it’s evident that most of the nation will watch regardless as there’s something about depressing domestic situations of the 1950s that really draws people in.
Did you enjoy this episode of Call the Midwife? What did you think to Miranda’s departure? Leave Your Comments Below.