St John's alumna launches ‘Tales from Call the Midwife’ podcast with the BBC

Date 18 October 2022

Dr Alice Watson (2022, Geography) has today launched a new podcast with the BBC called ‘Tales from Call the Midwife’.

This exciting new podcast is part of a project, funded by the Arts and Research Council, which has engaged the public in research about the BBC for its centenary.

The audio series seeks to celebrate Call the Midwife, one the BBC’s most popular television dramas, made by Neal Street Productions, which follows the work and lives of East End midwives and nuns in the 1950s and 60s. Over the summer, Alice has been interviewing fans of the programme from across the country who remember, have experienced, or been touched by its themes and storylines - ranging from alcoholism and Down’s syndrome to adoption and abortion. Over 28 episodes, Alice investigates why Call the Midwife is held so dear by BBC audiences and records the period drama’s ability to reflect, influence, and spark conversations about medical history and social change.

One particularly special participant who joins Alice for a standalone, filmed interview is Maureen Robertson, a 100 year-old fan of Call the Midwife who lives in Oxford and grew up in the East End in the 1920s and 30s.

Maureen, who shares the same birthday as the BBC, shares her life story with Alice and discusses why she enjoys watching Call the Midwife in her care home.

Reflecting on the academic contribution of the project, Alice says, “This research builds on my previous work on radio and I hope it adds to recent disciplinary interest in how audiences consume, interact with, and understand popular culture. By working in partnership with the BBC, I hope to contribute to the latest ‘creative turn’ in geography and foreground the power and potential of co-producing aural media with Britain’s leading public service broadcaster”.

You can listen to and download the first 15 episodes of the podcast by clicking on this link. You can also watch Alice’s exclusive interview with Maureen.

The remaining 13 episodes of the ‘Tales from Call the Midwife’ podcast will be released on November 14th to coincide with the anniversary of the first BBC broadcast.