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New drama's real scream... TellyView By Marion McMullen.

Byline: Marion McMullen

THE Beeb's new Sunday night drama Call The Midwife should come with a health warning... mums-to-be turn off now.

It's gritty look at East End life in the 50s is harsh enough with the dire poverty and over-crowding, but add in screaming women in labour - without any pain relief - and it starts looking like a vision of hell.

Dads are firmly banned from coming anywhere near their wives and medical help is basic at best.

It's a grim world and one new midwife Jenny Lee, played by Jessica Raine (above), finds hard to deal with. Her posh background does little to prepare her for the hardships her working class mums face. She's horrified when one family invites her to share their meal only to discover they all grab food from the same pot because there are no bowls or plates.

Jenny arrives at Nonnatus House to live and work as a midwife alongside an order of nuns. Around 80 and 100 babies are born each month in the district into homes still surrounded by bomb damage from the war.

Some mums live in slum conditions giving birth to baby after baby, often with no running water, clean bed linen or pain relief.

It's the realistic birth scenes that are likely to leave any pregnant viewers traumatised. "Don't worry," one mum reassures the panic-stricken young midwife in between contractions, "I've done this before."
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Jan 21, 2012
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