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S10.00: Christmas Special 2020

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7 hours ago, AZChristian said:

Jennifer Kirby ("Valerie") did choose to leave, but apparently hasn't given a reason why.  

"Sister Mary Cynthia" did come back for a couple of episodes after she left the show, but Bryony Hannah has been keeping busy with other projects.  Either of them were written out in such a way that they could return if they find the grass isn't any greener elsewhere.

Sometimes these shows are like life . . . people come into and out of workplaces, etc.  

Did she? Then I erased it from my memory completely. I just remember her going off somewhere all traumatized and that was it, we never heard about her again and I'm still waiting to hear that she got better or something.

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On 12/26/2020 at 7:09 PM, bunnyblue said:

 

I find it hard to believe Trixie can't find a man on her own and that she needs help from a "marriage bureau". She's always had boyfriends, I don't quite understand why the show is making it seem like suddenly its hard for her to find a one. I guess it's because she's in her 30's now? 

How exactly old is Trixie supposed to be?  Helen George is about 36, but I always pegged Trixie as older.  (I have nothing to back that up, it's just she was already experienced midwife when the show began, so I just thought she was already in her late 20s/early 30s when the show started.)  

Loved the episode, and as per usual, there may have been some tears when Shelagh was discussing each and everyone of the mom's miscarriages with her.  It was all very lovely.

I did want Dr. Turner to ask the circus guy who was trying to hide his illness from his daughter how he thinks his daughter might feel when she finds his body, never having known he was sick.  I just don't have patience for that kind of thing. 

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On 12/26/2020 at 6:12 PM, Dehumidifier said:

We need poster Doodlebug's input on this topic.

Hey!  I wasn't practicing OB in the 60's. but, although cervical cerclage for incompetent cervix has been around since the late 1940's, I would imagine it was not a common procedure nor were there specific criteria for placing it back in the mid 60's.  I doubt it was an expense issue with the NHS, it is not an expensive procedure at all.  Takes 10 minutes and a piece of suture.  Pretty ingeniously simple, really.  Back in the early 80's when I was a resident, as a general rule, a woman had to suffer at least 2 pregnancy losses in the second trimester consistent with incompetent cervix to be qualified for a cerclage.  Nowadays, with our ability to assess the cervix with ultrasounds and the like, we will place them in women pregnant for the first time if their cervix shows signs of incompetence.  Remember, in Britain at the time of the show, most women were receiving prenatal care with nurse midwives who were often backed up by general practitioners and who usually gave birth at home.  Those circumstances don't lend themselves to making a quick diagnosis of incompetent cervix nor access to a practitioner who can place a cerclage.

As the poster above noted, when we first met the character, she had lost her third pregnancy and was told she'd need a cerclage in the future.  This is failry consistent with the training I received in the 80's. Then she lost several more pregnancies.  It is possible that she didn't get the cerclage placed, that it was placed but her water broke and it had to be removed, that it just didn't work.  If the cervix has already started to dilate, a cerclage is less likely to work. Overall, cerclages are 80% effective or better in maintaining a pregnancy; but, back in the 60's. in those circumstances, the rate of loss could well have been higher.

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15 hours ago, debraran said:

 

No well described technique for the management of this problem was documented until 1955, when V.N. Shi- rodkar, from Bombay, India, introduced the Shirodkar cerclage, in which the bladder was mobilised and a transvaginal purse-string suture was placed in women with recurrent second-trimester loss (Shirodkar VN.

Not to be too nerdy, but for those interested in the medical issues on the show, a Shirodkar cerclage is placed before the woman gets pregnant and stays until she is done having kids.  It cannot be removed easily and, therefore, the woman must have a cesarean delivery with a Shirodkar as her cervix cannot dilate and will get torn apart in labor.

Since Gloria didn't need a cesarean, she would have had a McDonald cerclage which was developed about 10 years after the Shirodkar and was therefore around for just a few years prior to this episode.  The McDonald cerclage is ideally placed when the woman is about 12 weeks pregnant and then removed a couple weeks before the due date.  It is placed in the OR but the doctor can remove it in the office during an exam.

I agree with everyone else that this was a particularly outstanding episode of this show.  I was near tears when Sheila named Gloria's babies.  Lucille and Cyril are such a lovely couple and, although I am tired of Sister Monica Joan; it was heartening to see Lucille step in and help her.  It was sweet that she gave Cyril gloves for Christmas, I was hoping he might give her something for her hand, too.  I'd love to see a big wedding episode for them.

Edited by doodlebug
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I look forward to TCM Christmas episode all year. The circus people story was so heart warming and I loved Phyllis on the flying trapeze. Loved Gloria’s story as well, she finally got her baby. Wasn’t a cervical cerclage also called a McDonald Stitch in later years? 
I look forward to the next season and hope it isn’t too delayed because of Covid. I hope Trixie finds her love and Lucille and Cyril get married. 
edit to add: I’ve often wondered about sister Mary Cynthia too. I only remember last seeing her at the mental (?) institute she was at. 

Edited by Straycat80
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23 minutes ago, Straycat80 said:

edit to add: I’ve often wondered about sister Mary Cynthia too. I only remember last seeing her at the mental (?) institute she was at. 

My recollection was that Sister Monica Joan helped to get her out of the rather awful asylum she was in, and they (Dr. Turner?) got her a place somewhere nicer? But yeah, we haven't heard anything since then (series 6).

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Millicent definitely has memory issues if she thinks that she had a Harvey Wallbanger in 1928. They were probably invented in the '50s but didn't become a "thing" until the '60s, so they probably would have been new and trendy at the time CTM takes place. 

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5 hours ago, dargosmydaddy said:

My recollection was that Sister Monica Joan helped to get her out of the rather awful asylum she was in, and they (Dr. Turner?) got her a place somewhere nicer? But yeah, we haven't heard anything since then (series 6).

Yes, it would be nice to get a letter or have Dr Turner say he heard she was doing better. Last thing was what this synopsis said:

Due to the efforts of Sister Julienne and Dr. Patrick Turner, Sister Mary Cynthia is released after receiving electro-convulsive therapy (ECT). However, she continues to suffer very badly from depression, and it is believed her feelings of extreme guilt through not being a "good nun" are contributing to her illness. She is therefore willingly sent to the mental hospital that Patrick himself recuperated at after the war, which seems a much more therapeutic environment. Upon arrival, she asks to be called simply Cynthia by the treatment team.

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10 hours ago, J-Man said:

Millicent definitely has memory issues if she thinks that she had a Harvey Wallbanger in 1928. They were probably invented in the '50s but didn't become a "thing" until the '60s, so they probably would have been new and trendy at the time CTM takes place. 

Yeah, when I heard her say that I was like “Huh?” I thought Harvey Wallbanger was a trendy sixties cocktail. The writers dropped the ball there.

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21 minutes ago, LittleIggy said:

Yeah, when I heard her say that I was like “Huh?” I thought Harvey Wallbanger was a trendy sixties cocktail. The writers dropped the ball there.

The drink itself was invented in the early 50s.  This episode is set in the 1960s.  But Millicent definitely said she'd had one in 1926.  Oops, writers!!!

We used to live in Baltimore.  When ATMs were first invented, one of the banks there named their ATM machines "Harvey Wallbankers."  I loved that!!!

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On 12/26/2020 at 9:56 PM, Kohola3 said:

Was the marriage bureau a real thing in England in the 60's?  Like internet match sites now?

It is more like a matchmaker than internet dating.

On 12/27/2020 at 12:55 AM, LittleIggy said:

Somebody remind me why Trixie broke up with the hot divorced guy with the daughter. 

Why on earth would anyone gift wrap bicycles?

 

Trixie broke up with the hot divorced dentist because she was worried about how the relationship would impact his daughter. People would gift wrap bicycles so the children would have one more thing to open Christmas morning. 

Edited by Sarah 103
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Maybe Millicent recently described her 1926 drink to someone, who thought it sounded like a Harvey Wallbanger.

I enjoyed seeing Phyllis Crane have such a good time at the circus!

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Something else I was puzzled by in the episode: the woman gave birth, had a heart attack, was determined to be in heart failure, but they still handed her the baby. Were they doing that thing where babies with barely a heartbeat lay on the mother's chest and the heart basically syncs up, but in reverse? I know she was lying down so gravity was doing most of the work...and the baby probably weighed 8 lbs at most, but it was weird to me to have her hold anything in that state. People who have heart attacks already in a hospital often don't survive so it seemed odd to me everyone was so chill in the room and like here hold your baby.

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59 minutes ago, theatremouse said:

Something else I was puzzled by in the episode: the woman gave birth, had a heart attack, was determined to be in heart failure, but they still handed her the baby. Were they doing that thing where babies with barely a heartbeat lay on the mother's chest and the heart basically syncs up, but in reverse? I know she was lying down so gravity was doing most of the work...and the baby probably weighed 8 lbs at most, but it was weird to me to have her hold anything in that state. People who have heart attacks already in a hospital often don't survive so it seemed odd to me everyone was so chill in the room and like here hold your baby.

I read it as an emotional note. They were trying to keep her alive until the ambulance arrived and got her to the hospital, and putting her newborn in her arms would a direct way of showing her something to live for. It’s not as if anyone would be leaving her side with the infant in her arms. (Another way to look at it: Not realistic, perhaps, but a bit of dramatic punctuation in an emotionally oriented TV show.)

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I'm doing a rewatch and I'm just realizing how much I love the Buckle family. Fred, Violet, and Reggie always bring a smile to my face. Part of it is because Fred is a great example of a character who manages to grow while also keeping the qualities that he had at the beginning.

Fred and Reggie have become friends, family, and co-conspirators. Fred coming up with an excuse for him and Reggie to visit the circus as "market research" was just adorable. Then his worry during the fire when he couldn't find Reggie. Then his offering Reggie a beer because he did a "man's job."  Y'all...so many feelings.

I'm a sucker for "found" families and the Buckles hit my sweet spot.

Edited by marceline
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On 12/27/2020 at 2:59 AM, GaT said:

It still pisses me off what they did to Barbara, there was no reason to kill her off.

I haven't watched this show since they killed her off because, like you posted, there was no reason to kill her off.  I've been reading comments so I might start watching again next season.  

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1 hour ago, Crashcourse said:

I haven't watched this show since they killed her off because, like you posted, there was no reason to kill her off.  I've been reading comments so I might start watching again next season.  

Did you mean that she left or they killed her off? The actress wanted to leave but yes they didn't have to kill her. ; (   Then you can't ever return.

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36 minutes ago, debraran said:

Then you can't ever return.

I think they tend to do that on British series.   Look at Matthew Crawley, killed on the season three finale of Downton Abbey.  If you don't want to play you get bumped off.

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42 minutes ago, debraran said:

Did you mean that she left or they killed her off? The actress wanted to leave but yes they didn't have to kill her. ; (   Then you can't ever return.

Yes, I read that she wanted to leave but my issue was that they didn't have to kill her off.  I know she was married on the show and perhaps the actor who played her husband didn't want to leave the show, but surely they could have come up with some other satisfactory ending instead of having her die.

Edited by Crashcourse
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4 hours ago, Crashcourse said:

Yes, I read that she wanted to leave but my issue was that they didn't have to kill her off.  I know she was married on the show and perhaps the actor who played her husband didn't want to leave the show, but surely they could have come up with some other satisfactory ending instead of having her die.

If I'm remembering correctly, the actress (Charlotte Ritchie) specifically asked that Barbara be killed off. Obviously the show didn't have to acquiesce, but I guess they didn't see any reason not to. I agree, it would have been nicer to just send her and Tom off (since Jack Ashton ended up leaving anyway), but I can see (from a dramatic standpoint) why both the actress and the show might have thought otherwise.

When CtM finally decides to call it quits, I hope we get an ER-esque final season where all the departed characters (who aren't dead) make at least a brief appearance: Jenny, Cynthia, Chummy and Peter, Patsy and Delia, Tom, Sister Winifred, Valerie, etc.

Edited by dargosmydaddy
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56 minutes ago, Kohola3 said:

I think they tend to do that on British series.   Look at Matthew Crawley, killed on the season three finale of Downton Abbey.  If you don't want to play you get bumped off.

They kind of had to kill off Matthew. There would have been no reason a man of his means and stature to just “leave” his family and estate.

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2 hours ago, chitowngirl said:

They kind of had to kill off Matthew. There would have been no reason a man of his means and stature to just “leave” his family and estate.

But they didn't have to kill off Barbara.  Charlotte Ritchie didn't want to renew her contract so she got the usual when actors are deemed to be disloyal - a send off in a hearse.

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On 12/28/2020 at 12:45 PM, AZChristian said:

The writers dropped the ball there

I noticed that the Buckles tree had miniature lights, which did not come in until the mid 1970s. But Phyllis and Millicent had tree lights appropriate to the era.

I thought the ringmaster was very handsome in his top hat and coat. He was taken with Phyllis, and it is too bad they cannot become a couple.

I cried at the ending voiceover.

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On 12/29/2020 at 7:28 PM, dargosmydaddy said:

If I'm remembering correctly, the actress (Charlotte Ritchie) specifically asked that Barbara be killed off. Obviously the show didn't have to acquiesce, but I guess they didn't see any reason not to. I agree, it would have been nicer to just send her and Tom off (since Jack Ashton ended up leaving anyway), but I can see (from a dramatic standpoint) why both the actress and the show might have thought otherwise.

When CtM finally decides to call it quits, I hope we get an ER-esque final season where all the departed characters (who aren't dead) make at least a brief appearance: Jenny, Cynthia, Chummy and Peter, Patsy and Delia, Tom, Sister Winifred, Valerie, etc.

Yes! Even Dr Green got to come back in a memory. : )  I understand some stars move on and some want more money than the show wants to give them (esp in states) but it is nice to see everyone in a long running series. The "busy" excuse isn't always that believable when it might be less than an day filming but no one is obliged too. I'd love to see "Jenny" especially since she narrates so to speak and Chummy.

Does anyone think the cop will be back and felt Ms Higgins got a raw deal there. I'd love to see her visit him.

 

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I squeed when I realized the ringmaster was played by Peter Davison - I always love seeing former Doctors pop up where I'm not expecting them. I was totally shipping him and Nurse Crane, and that trapeze scene was lovely.

Also loved Nurse Crane and Miss Higgins having their "spinster Christmas" together, doing exactly what they wanted (as someone who lives alone and made nachos for my solo Christmas dinner this year, that was 2020-relatable to me.) So fun, and I like that that included Nurse Crane begrudgingly allowing Miss Higgins to read her poem beforehand. At the Nonnatus Christmas dinner, I lol'd at the two of them glancing at each other and trying not to laugh when Angela and May presented them with the bath cubes.

I've realized that the only thing I still like about Sister Monica Joan is her friendship with Cyril. He was so sweet with her on the phone when she called Nonnatus.

Shelagh getting Gloria to talk about the babies she lost was just beautiful, and then telling her she'd been a mother for a long time? Could NOT stop crying. Pound for pound, there's nothing like Call the Midwife when it comes to scenes of women supporting other women.

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On 12/29/2020 at 5:28 PM, dargosmydaddy said:

When CtM finally decides to call it quits, I hope we get an ER-esque final season where all the departed characters (who aren't dead) make at least a brief appearance: Jenny, Cynthia, Chummy and Peter, Patsy and Delia, Tom, Sister Winifred, Valerie, etc.

As long as they don't end "Call the Midwife" anything like the ending of "St. Elsewhere."  I'm STILL angry when I think about that one.

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I wonder if we might not get a more permanent ending for Val when the new season starts up.  Maybe she decides to remain in South Africa permanently or something.

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8 minutes ago, Badger said:

Maybe she decides to remain in South Africa permanently or something.

Hopefully they don't kill her off with some tropical disease.

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On 12/27/2020 at 11:41 PM, Straycat80 said:

I look forward to TCM Christmas episode all year. The circus people story was so heart warming and I loved Phyllis on the flying trapeze. Loved Gloria’s story as well, she finally got her baby. Wasn’t a cervical cerclage also called a McDonald Stitch in later years? 
I look forward to the next season and hope it isn’t too delayed because of Covid. I hope Trixie finds her love and Lucille and Cyril get married. 
edit to add: I’ve often wondered about sister Mary Cynthia too. I only remember last seeing her at the mental (?) institute she was at. 

And I hope Sister Monica is sent to the Mother House for good and a practical, stout nun with a wicked sense of humour takes her place.

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On 12/31/2020 at 7:13 AM, angora said:

Shelagh getting Gloria to talk about the babies she lost was just beautiful, and then telling her she'd been a mother for a long time?

That was heartbreaking and beautiful at the same time.

I'm so over Sister Monica Joan.

Didn't get enough of Sister Julienne.

I'll miss Nurse Valerie she was one of my favorites.

I laughed when I saw Sister Frances expression while she was holding the rabbit ears.

I enjoyed the episode very much and can't wait for the new season!

When is the new season scheduled to start?

 

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18 minutes ago, foxfreakinmulder said:

When is the new season scheduled to start?

It's not scheduled yet. The last thing I could find was that they were halfway through filming the episodes at the beginning of December, and it is supposed to air "at some point in 2021." Presumably they got some kind of break around the holidays, and I know England is in another lockdown currently, so even if TV shows are still allowed to film (which I believe they were during the second lockdown), I could see them maybe being slow to get going again after the holidays. But that's just speculation on my part.

I wonder if PBS can possibly get it at the same time as the BBC this go round? (Usually the new season starts in January in the UK/ April in the US.)

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On 12/28/2020 at 6:23 PM, theatremouse said:

Something else I was puzzled by in the episode: the woman gave birth, had a heart attack, was determined to be in heart failure, but they still handed her the baby. [...] I know she was lying down so gravity was doing most of the work...and the baby probably weighed 8 lbs at most, but it was weird to me to have her hold anything in that state.

At least they set up some pillows to help support the baby.

Screw giving circus mom a dutch cap; give her husband a vasectomy!

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On 12/27/2020 at 12:55 AM, LittleIggy said:

For me, he will always be Tristan from the original “All Creatures Great and Small.”

 

I knew he looked familiar, so I looked him up. We always loved "All Creatures Great and Small". Peter Davison is a good looking 70 year old, I must say.

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Trixie and Lucille have horrible hair. And I am a fan of Trixie's baby bangs.

Gloria still trying to have children after everything I guess is supposed to be inspiring? And while I do not relate, and think it's sad AF and not inspiring, I understand it's important to many women to have children...  To me, it's so horrifying that she continued to put herself through it and her husband if he encouraged it, sucks. If he supported her that's entirely different, but if he pushed.. I don't think we can tell in the show if this were more her than him, but there are so many societal expectations of women.

I'm glad she got her girl, but JFC, Gloria is a person and her worth is not only if she's a mother.

I loved Phyllis and grumpy prickly Miss Higgins. I would love for them to Golden Girl together the rest of their lives. Most women will outlive their husband's anyway, so living out your years with a bff, would be so nice.

Really, the show could be: "Call the Midwife; Terrible Societal Expectations of Women, post war period through (whenever the show ends)" It's really turns me off the amazing clothes and furniture of the era, everything else was oppressively limited, even if you were content with your lot in life..

Edited by Megan
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On 12/26/2020 at 7:09 PM, bunnyblue said:

 

I find it hard to believe Trixie can't find a man on her own and that she needs help from a "marriage bureau". She's always had boyfriends, I don't quite understand why the show is making it seem like suddenly its hard for her to find a one. I guess it's because she's in her 30's now? 

 

Back then the deadline for spinsterhood would have been much earlier.  Even in the 80s, the media was telling us our chances of being chosen for wifedom started going down at 25!  (It was because men prefer a younger woman, even though the population was roughly 50.50 - so we were still being told it was only their choices that mattered).  In the 60s, it might even have been younger, so maybe it's not a surprise that the aunt thinks Trixie is getting too old to land a husband (yuk).  

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4 hours ago, Kim0820 said:

Back then the deadline for spinsterhood would have been much earlier.  Even in the 80s, the media was telling us our chances of being chosen for wifedom started going down at 25!

I was almost 30 when I bought my first house in 1981 and the paperwork listed me as a spinster.  I almost refused to sign!

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I remember a woman in one of my classes in college said she got married at 19 in the late 1950's.  She was the last of any of the girls she knew to marry.

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On 1/6/2021 at 5:49 PM, Bunnyette said:

And I hope Sister Monica is sent to the Mother House for good and a practical, stout nun with a wicked sense of humour takes her place.

I always thought they blew it killing off Sister Evangeline and keeping the every rambling, disobeying, and problem causing Sister Monica Joan. Even this latest mishap of hers was her own fault. 

 

It was cute seeing Lucille giving Cyril flirty eyes when he described her. Her confidence with him has grown so much. But the hair, oh my. Only Valerie pulls off that bouffant.

And Trixie! I swear that is a bad wig. And her bending over for a dress allowance is so beneath her.

 

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I didn't tear up for some reason but really enjoyed the episode. So many good moments. I think my favorite was Nurse Crane on the trapeze. 

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