If ever a television drama was made for Sunday nights it is Call the Midwife – its gentle pace and far from taxing plot lines make it perfect viewing for the Sabbath, if you like that sort of thing.
If you haven’t seen it, think Heartbeat without the music and better period costumes but, rather than Nick Berry, the BBC has found gainful employment for Minty from EastEnders.
Call the Midwife (BBC1 Sunday 8pm) has been on our screens for three years but it seems much, much longer due to the fact the scriptwriters seem to have wrung the life out of the story which centres around nuns and their young midwives bringing new life to a 1950s East End community.
This week we met two recent immigrants from the West Indies and you saw the fact they would lose their baby from the off.
What was not as obvious was the plot twist which saw an undiagnosed twin safely delivered shortly after baby number one was stillborn. I suppose this did happen in the pre-technological age but the plot did seem far-fetched nonetheless.
It is fair to say that I am not a big fan of happy endings which is why I am drawn to Nothing to Declare (Sky Living, Monday various).
If you are so inclined you can watch this fly-on-the-wall documentary every day such is its popularity with its simple format as it follows the working lives of customs staff at Australia’s airports.
It is a piece of television genius as it serves a dual purpose – light entertainment and propaganda aimed at would-be illegal immigrants, drug smugglers and anyone even thinking about taking an apple or contraband pastries Down Under. The show offers a brand of schadenfreude which is unsurpassed on the small screen, bringing out the worst in the casual viewer – everyone I know who watches it rarely feels sympathy for those who are sent home from the land of Neighbours and rubbish lager.
This week we saw two visitors hit with on-the-spot fines for failing to declare that they were bringing outlawed treats such as boil-in-the-bag noodles and almonds,one of whom was a bolshie American who deserved an even bigger fine for her refusal to accept her guilt. There are many versions of this format kicking about in the vast wilderness of digital television but nobody says ‘you are not welcome in our country’ quite like a poker-faced Aussie.