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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Friday, August 24th, 2012

 

CALL THE MIDWIFE

 

Call the Midwife will premiere September 30th at 7:00 p.m. on WTVP-HD.

Bryony Hannah as Cynthia, Jessica Raine as Jenny and Helen George as Trixie

– Highest-Rated New Drama Debut in BBC History Strengthens PBS as a Destination for Drama on Sunday Nights Leading Into MASTERPIECE CLASSIC “Upstairs Downstairs” –

 

CALL THE MIDWIFE, the highest-rated drama debut in BBC history, will premiere on WTVP beginning on September 30th at 7:00 p.m.

The six-part series will lead into MASTERPIECE CLASSICUpstairs Downstairs,” transforming Sunday nights into a destination for drama on PBS.

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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CALL THE MIDWIFE contains mature content that may not be suitable for all audiences. Viewer discretion is advised. Rated TV-14.

About PBS
PBS, with its nearly 360 member stations, offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and online content. Each month, PBS reaches nearly 123 million people through television and more than 21 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; to hear diverse viewpoints; and to take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS’ broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. PBS’ premier children’s TV programming and its website, pbskids.org, are parents’ and teachers’ most trusted partners in inspiring and nurturing curiosity and love of learning in children. More information about PBS is available at www.pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org websites on the Internet, or by following PBS on Twitter, Facebook or through our apps for mobile devices.

About Neal Street Productions
New Street Productions was formed in 2003 by Sam Mendes, Pippa Harris and Caro Newling. The company has been successful in film, theatre and television with hit movies including “Revolutionary Road” and “Starter for Ten”; television productions as diverse as the award-winning BBC/HBO co-production “Stuart A Life Backwards”, the hugely successful CALL THE MIDWIFE, and the upcoming BBC/NBC Universal/WNET Shakespeare mini-series “The Hollow Crown”; and in theatre the hits “Red” and “Shrek the Musical” as well as the forthcoming production of “Charlie the Chocolate Factory.”

About BBC Worldwide Sales & Distribution
BBC Worldwide Sales & Distribution is one of seven core businesses under BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm and wholly-owned subsidiary of the UK public service broadcaster, BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation). BBC Worldwide exists to maximize the value of the BBC's assets for the benefit of the BBC, and invests in programming in return for rights. The Sales & Distribution business negotiates, sells and distributes television programs to networks and secures co-production partners, in the Americas region.

 

 

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For further information contact Linda Miller, WTVP Vice President of Programming, at (309) 495-0591 or linda.miller@wtvp.org

 


 

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