Thursday, 13 March 2014


It's Call the Midwife (actually, it's much better than Call the Midwife) with gangrenous limbs instead of babies ...
And hatchet-faced matron (brilliantly played by Hermione Norris) instead of nuns.
The VADs are Rosalie, pushing 30 and humiliatingly unmarried, who is terrified and disgusted by the sight of naked men.
Joan, who has a secret past.
And cheerful, dippy Flora who has to scrub her face with carbolic when matron chastises her for using a dab of rosewater.
Only a few weeks ago, I watched the old 1979 adaptation of Testament of Youth (there's a remake on the way), which was unmissable back then - but seems rather wooden by today's production standards.
And this afternoon I stole an hour to watch an episode of The Crimson Field, the new series about VAD nurses in World War One which definitely fills the Downton Abbey gap in my life.
It started me wondering whether I'd have joined up as a VAD had I been around in 1914. Not in a million years, I don't think. I'd have been all for seizing some freedom but I think I'd have been far more likely to go into a munitions factory which is what my granny did (and where she became one of the first women to be awarded the OBE in 1918).

6 comments:

Sue said...

Oh I am looking forward to this, Hermione Norris is one of my favourite actresses.

Noelle the dreamer said...

Interesting post Mary, and what an honour for Nan! You made me think and I imagine I would have chosen VAD versus the factory!
Let's just hope none of us have to make that choice!

Procrastinator extraodinaire said...

Mmh wonder if it will make it over the Channel?

mary said...

Sue: She conveys a lot with the barest twitch of a muscle, doesn't she!

Noelle: I think I'd have been pretty hopeless at anything practical. Maybe I'll hang on for WW2 and apply for Bletchley!

Procrastinator: They do seem to sell everything worldwide these days.

Susan D said...

A remake of Testament of Youth??? Good lord, when the original is absolutely stunningly perfect. Who comes up with these ideas?

mary said...

I know, does make you wonder why, Susan. Although somebody who has read the script told me the other day that it's excellent.