CALL THE MIDWIFE
PBS, 8:00 p.m. ET
SERIES PREMIERE: Everyone who enjoyed Downton Abbey should make a special effort to catch this new British import, which begins a six-week run tonight on PBS. This BBC production is set in London’s East End in the 1950s – the same time and place that, in England, inspired the long-running soap opera EastEnders. But the focus this time, based on the memoirs of Jennifer Worth, is a woman who worked as a midwife in the poor section of London in the Fifties. Young Jessica Raine plays the newly minted midwife, who finds herself assigned to the East End, working with nuns and nurses whose character traits are every bit as distinctive, eccentric and entertaining as the residents and workers of Downton Abbey. Jenny Agutter and Judy Parfitt, as nuns who have seen it all and more, are standouts – but everything about this series is golden, from the characters of the caregivers and patients to the Mad Men-type jarring contrasts between acceptable practices then and now. Check local listings.