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  1. Beldasnoop

    S06.E08: Episode 8

    Yes, but according to Heidi Thomas (the writer), there had to be last-minute re-writes to the show when Miranda Hart, who had originally announced her return to the show, finally decided it wouldn't fit into her schedule. Here's a news article that mentions the re-writes. This is entirely conjecture on my part, but I've wondered if some of the plots that were initially supposed to be given to Chummy were given to Phyllis in the re-writes. This would include the role of leading the Cubs, which would logically have gone back to Chummy when Patsy left if Chummy was indeed returning. But with Chummy not returning, someone else had to be given that role, and that turned out to be Phyllis.
  2. Beldasnoop

    S06.E08: Episode 8

    In terms of stories for Barbara, I think it's worth noting that Charlotte Ritchie is going to be in a West End play that runs for a lot of the filming period. It's not a touring play (which is what made Helen George miss two episodes of season six), so she should have time in the days to film, but I wouldn't be surprised if she gets less screen time for a while. Also, Charlotte Ritchie has been one of the most active cast members in terms of filming other projects while also filming CtM. She was in three regular shows until recently. I think her busy schedule might have something to do with why Barbara hasn't had as prominent a role in season 6. As for the Turners, I personally love them and would watch a spin-off show that was just about them. I didn't think they got too much screen time, but as I just wrote, I'm biased. It is an ensemble show, though, and I have thought that the size of the cast may have made it difficult to feature everyone more equally. Now that four cast members are leaving and only one appears to be joining, maybe there will be more room for more characters' stories (although Ben Caplan has been basically a minor character since Chummy left so I don't know if his absence will make a whole lot of difference). I actually thought Phyllis (who I also love) got the most screen time in season 6 and sometimes I felt like I was watching the Phyllis Crane Show. I think some of that had to do with re-writing because of Miranda Hart's backing out at the last minute. I think some of the stories that were originally planned for Chummy were given to Phyllis instead (noting that Phyllis took over the Cubs, which had been Chummy's role when she was on the show).
  3. Beldasnoop

    S06.E08: Episode 8

    The PBS website has a great article here, by the show's midwifery adviser, Terri Coates, about how they film births on the show, and specifically about Shelagh's labor and delivery in this episode.
  4. Beldasnoop

    S06.E08: Episode 8

    You can't make an actor stay if they don't want to. This show has been running for six seasons, which is a long run for a UK show. There are still 6 original cast members returning for series 7, and two of them (Jenny Agutter and Laura Main) have been in every episode of seasons 1-6. Two others (Judy Parfitt and Stephen McGann) have only missed one episode. Helen George had also not missed any episodes until season six (because she was in a touring play during the first part of filming). There are also three cast members (Victoria Yeates, Charlotte Ritchie, and Linda Bassett) who joined the show later, but haven't missed any episodes since joining. Yes, a few people have left, but I think the show has done a good job of introducing new characters who are interesting. The show films from April or May until late October/early November every year. That's a long time commitment. Some performers have been able to film other things concurrently, but I would imagine it's difficult. There's also Vanessa Redgrave, who does the voiceovers, who has been on the show since the beginning, but I think scheduling is different for her because I would imagine she records the voiceovers in one or two sessions. She doesn't have to be available for the whole filming period.
  5. Beldasnoop

    S06.E06: Episode 6

    The show's writers consulted a leading anti-FGM activist and FGM survivor, Nimco Ali, when writing this episode. Whether you think the show succeeded in its goal or not, the intention was absolutely not to present the practice as acceptable, but to place it in the context of the times. Here are some articles: this one (from the Telegraph in the UK and published just before this episode aired there) is written by Nimco Ali. This one is more recent, published before the PBS airing of the episode, and it mentions Nimco Ali as well.
  6. Beldasnoop

    S06.E04: Episode 4

    She didn't specifically speak of being in a war that I can remember (although she did talk about "men yelling" in episode 2), and the scene in the pub was uncut--I have the UK DVDs. I try not to post too much info on here about that because I don't want to accidentally give away spoilers. As of episode 4, what's known about Valerie as far as I can remember is that a) she was a nurse in the Queen Alexandra's Army Corp (which is a real unit). B) She left the army and was working in her aunt's pub. C) Sister Julienne offered her the job but she had to apply in writing. From this information, I would assume that if she had any midwifery training/certification, she would mention that when she wrote to apply for the job. Also, for the person who asked about Trixie's being out of breath, there was a small subplot about Trixie's being out of shape because she didn't keep up her exercise routine when she was in South Africa. There was another scene at the Keep Fit class and a few scenes at Nonnatus that were cut from the PBS airing. The cuts are frustrating because although they try to keep relevant scenes for the most important episode plots, what they often sacrifice are good character moments that add a lot to the overall tone of the show. For instance, in the thread for episode 1, I noticed a few people mentioning how bleak the episode seemed. Although that episode did have some bleak subject matter, the edits actually made it bleaker because they cut out most of the "comic relief" scenes from the original version. If you want to see the whole show, I highly recommend the DVDs. The US editions will be released in May and they are the complete, unedited show.
  7. Beldasnoop

    S06.E04: Episode 4

    One small clarification-the new nurse's name is Valerie, not Vera. Also, the show hasn't indicated at this point if she's a certified midwife or not. She said "I'm a nurse" when she was introducing herself to Shelagh in episode 2 because that was relevant. She didn't need to say if she was a midwife or not, because a midwife was not needed in that situation. Also, about the black veil--this has been referred to in previous episodes as the "prayer veil". It's what the sisters wear for chapel. They wear the white wimples most of the time, but the black veils are for when they have their prayer services, several times a day.
  8. Beldasnoop

    S06.E04: Episode 4

    I just checked my DVD, and her exact wording is actually "he's years older than her". Avril (the girl in that Christmas special) wouldn't have known how old they were specifically so she's probably just going by sight (he looks a lot older). Doctor Turner's Casebook (a companion book to the show written by Stephen McGann which focuses on the medical aspects about the show) has a foreword by Heidi Thomas (the show's main writer) that gives Patrick's birth year as 1909. So he would be 53 in 1962 (or possibly 52 during this episode depending on what month he was born). If Shelagh is 36 in July 1962 (the chariot race poster says it's July), then depending on what month she was born, her birth year is either 1925 or 1926. That makes a roughly 17 year age gap (give or take a few months) between the characters. Editing to add about this episode--I also did not think that Dot was being portrayed as a villain. It was difficult for everyone, but I did end up having a little more sympathy for Dot at the end of the episode.
  9. Beldasnoop

    S06.E03: Episode 3

    Trixie missed episodes because Helen George was in a touring play last summer during the first few months of filming. I have no idea about Bryony Hannah (Sister Mary Cynthia), but this show is generally extremely accommodating to its cast members when they request leaves of absence for other projects. As for Harriet Walter, I assume she was only hired for those three episodes. She was never listed in the opening credits of the show so that was a clue that she wasn't joining the cast permanently.
  10. I actually love the podcast, but I have to admit I miss the written recaps too. I had been hoping that starting a podcast wouldn't mean the end of the other recaps, because those have a unique charm of their own and I personally enjoy both formats. Any chance of bringing back the written recaps in addition to the podcast?
  11. Beldasnoop

    Call The Midwife In The Media

    News about Ben Caplan (who plays Peter Noakes) here. I don't know if this counts as a spoiler, but I'm tagging it just in case.
  12. Beldasnoop

    Chummy: The Best One

    I'm not sure where to post this and I don't know if it counts as a spoiler or not, but there is new info about Ben Caplan (Peter) and whether he and Miranda Hart will be returning for the next series. I will post it in the "Media" thread. And she was mentioned once by Peter last series. Barbara asked about her and he said she was doing well.
  13. Beldasnoop

    S05.E01: Episode 1

    If you want to see the uncut episodes, I recommend the DVDs. They are unedited. You can buy them, or many public libraries have them to borrow.
  14. Beldasnoop

    S04.E06: Episode 6

    I think the reason they don't talk a lot about Tim's mother on the show is essentially practical. Since this is an ensemble show and not focusing solely (or even primarily) on the Turners, it has to concentrate on the elements of their story that are most relevant to the show. Mrs. Turner #1 exists primarily as exposition, and since Mrs. Turner #2 (Shelagh) is a major character on the show, it's her relationship with Patrick and Timothy (and theirs with her) that is focused on when there is time for a family scene. Dwelling too much on the first wife/mom, or any exposition character would detract too much from the story of the show, which is primarily a medical show and not a family drama, and that story also has to move forward. Still, in terms of what we have been shown (supplemented by other official sources I'll mention), I don't think there's been an indication that they aren't allowed to talk about Tim's mother. They do talk about her at least once--in series 2 when then-Sister Bernadette is in the sanatorium and Patrick is shown sitting in the car looking sad. Tim, who is in the back seat, asks his dad if he's sad, mentioning his maternal grandmother's ("Granny Parker") saying that Patrick had acted something like that after the first Mrs. Turner died. Also, in the first Christmas special, Patrick did mention the time frame to Sister B. He said "it's been almost a year" and "it will be the first Christmas since his mother died", putting the first wife's death somewhere around January 1957 (before the start of season 1). The show also gave Tim and Shelagh a common bond even before her romantic relationship with Patrick began (they both lost their mothers when they were young children---Sister B mentions this in the same scene in the first Christmas special after Patrick talks about how long it's been since his wife died). I think that connection somewhat informed the relationship that grew between Timothy and Shelagh even before she officially became his stepmother. She was also shown to have a good rapport with children and it seemed that Tim was completely on board with her marrying his dad (he even wrote the proposal note). There were indications that she was having difficulties learning how to be a parental figure to him after the marriage, though especially in the first half of the episode where Tim gets his leg braces taken off, although they made great progress in that episode, and by the end of series 3 Tim was calling her "Mum". I'm fairly sure the first time he does that is in the last episode of series 3, and it does seem to be 100% voluntary. The show, and especially with the Turner family, seems to have been emphasizing the idea that family is about more than just biology. I think Tim sees Shelagh as his second mother--not diminishing the first (who he will always remember), but still Shelagh is his primary maternal figure now, and he loves her as such. She's the one who will be there as he grows up, and if and when he eventually has children of his own, the only grandmother they will know on his side will be Shelagh. I think step-families are different depending on the people involved and the circumstances. In the case of a widower with a young child marrying a woman with no children of her own, I think the relationship is inclined to be more traditionally parental than in the case where there was a divorce and the biological mother is still around and involved in the child's life, especially if the stepmother is inclined to love the child as her own, as Shelagh clearly is (and stated this in episode 7 of season 4) and the child fully accepts the step-parent (which has also been indicated on the show). The Turners also have Angela, who is adopted and not biologically related to either parent or Timothy, but they are her family. Patrick and Shelagh are the only parents she knows and Tim is her brother just as much as he would be if they were biologically related. I think the fact that this family is shown to be so happy and well-functioning and clearly loving even though they are not strictly speaking a "traditional" family is a major theme of their story on this show. They demonstrate that families are about love and choice as much as (or maybe even more than) about biological ties. It's not saying biology isn't important, but that it's not the only important thing. In terms of what was the accepted practice at the time for how children addressed step-parents, I'm not sure because I wasn't around, but looking at pop culture references (like the The Brady Bunch from the late 60s/early 70s, and The Sound of Music film from 1965) it did seem that children calling a loved step-parent "mom" or "dad" was not unusual, even when the child is a teenager when the parent remarries (Liesl in The Sound of Music calls Maria "Mother" after the marriage--editing to add I know this film is set in the 1930s even though it was made in the 60s). I personally have known people who called step-parents by their names and those who have called them "Mom" or "Dad". I think it varies depending on the dynamics of the relationship and what the child wants. As for Mrs. Turner #1 there is some backstory about her in the latest Call the Midwife companion book, Doctor Turner's Casebook, which was written by Stephen McGann (who plays Dr. Turner) and with a foreword by show creator (and McGann's real-life wife) Heidi Thomas. It's not a lot, and there's a lot more information about Shelagh (because she's much more relevant to the actual show), but it does say her name, how she died, and does indicate that Patrick and Tim did talk about her after she died. I don't think they talk about her on the show much because there isn't time (and also because like in real life, a family has to move forward. It's important to remember the past, but you can't live in it). She has been mentioned a few times, but only when it's been relevant to the current story--like when Tim found the picture of his mother. While that story wasn't given a lot of time, what I took from it was that Tim was conflicted about showing the picture to his parents because he didn't want to make it look like he didn't appreciate Shelagh, but by the end of the episode he'd been reminded even more that he has a loving second mother in Shelagh (that's the episode where he overheard her saying she loved him as much as she would if she'd given birth to him, which made him smile). He clearly wants to remember his first mother, though, so he gets to keep and cherish his memories of her, but he's also got a life in the present and the future with a family who loves him.
  15. Beldasnoop

    S05.E08: Episode 8

    The DVDs are the only uncut version sold in the US. The Netflix, iTunes, and Amazon streaming versions are all edited, and bizarrely, they are shorter than the PBS edited version. The DVDs are great, though. Great quality, unedited episodes, and most seasons (all but season 4) have "behind the scenes" bonus features.