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In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.

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September 15, 2015

TV Series Review: Bramwell

Starring: Jemma Redgrave, Ruth Sheen, David Calder and Kevin McMonagle

Directed by: Various over the 4 season’s it aired.

Bramwell follows the fortunes of Dr. Eleanor Bramwell (Jemma Redgrave) in her pursuit of public health and private amours in Victorian-era London. Feisty and unconventional, her sights are set on becoming a leading surgeon, an ambition unheard of for women in Victorian society. Eleanor's father Robert (David Calder) would like his daughter to join him in his respectable private practice, but his daughter has plans of her own which take her from the drawing rooms of the elite to the shocking deprivation of the slums of London's East End.

This lavish period drama begins with Eleanor assisting at the East London Hospital of eminent surgeon Sir Herbert Hamilton. From the very beginning Eleanor's strongly held opinions and desire to take the medical profession out of the dark ages draw her into conflict with Sir Hamilton's old fashioned and often barbaric practices. But Eleanor's energy and compassion also win her friends, including Lady Cora Peters who recognizes Eleanor's talents and sets her up in a small charitable infirmary in the slums of the East End where she will encounter the difficulties and dangers of attending to the needs of both London's poor and criminal underworld.

Bramwell is a little known series that first aired in the U.S. on Masterpiece Theater in 1996 and ran for four seasons ending in 2001. The series does not get nearly enough recognition it was a wonderful series for the first three seasons however fell flat on it’s face in season 4 (but more on that later in the review). It stars Jemma Redgrave as Eleanor Bramwell a very smart and skilled physician far ahead of her time in the late 1800’s. Her father is Dr. Richard Bramwell and she learned about the medical field largely from him growing up before she attended university and studied medicine and mentored briefly at the London Hospital. However with it being the 1890’s men still dominate the medical field and look down extremely on females in general it seems as the inferior sex let alone a female doctor! Soon Eleanor can no longer stomach the hypocrisy and insolence at the London Hospital and she decides to break out on her own and open a clinic for the less fortunate and overwhelming number of poor that inhabit the city. The need is great and Eleanor has high ambitions and great hope that she can build a clinic that will not only help those most in need who can not afford to go to the London Hospital but that she can make a name for herself as a physician as well.

Being set Victorian England you have the classes clashing with and against each other as well as the very strict moral codes of the times. There were many, many, issues that women faced back then that are not even thought of today. Also Eleanor and the Clinic treat the poor and even sometimes criminal people of the city not the posh and upstanding upper class so you see many trials and tribulations that you never would see on pretty much any other medical or period show before it. The series mirrors many of the trials that were seen in Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman so if you liked that series you should very much enjoy Bramwell too! Think Dr. Quinn set in Victorian England and you have the premise for Bramwell. There is one more difference between Eleanor and Michaela however besides their clientele…Eleanor though she is very smart and a great doctor is shown to have a lot more trouble than Dr. Quinn ever had in that medicine just wasn’t advanced enough to treat many aliments that Eleanor encountered along the way as well. So you get to see a side of medicine that you probably haven’t seen before too here. Some of the treatments were just as dangerous as what they were trying to cure at the time. Also although Eleanor has a heart of gold she is after all human and she messes up and it shows that where you didn’t see that very much with Dr. Quinn either and when a doctor or nurse messes up people suffer and sometimes die this is also shown occasionally throughout the series a theme not to common at all in medical series.

There is tons of drama, intrigue, and even quite a bit of action and romance along the way. The cast is first rate and the acting is superb.

I personally LOVED this series and really was disappointed that there were only 4 seasons. But let me hasten to tell you this if you do watch and enjoy the series STOP AT SEASON 3. I have NO idea what in the world happened at the BBC between season 3 and the start of season 4 but they completely RUINED the whole premise of the series in my humble opinion with the sorry excuse for a season 4, which by the way contained only 2 episodes and was absolutely NOTHING like the first 3 seasons. Tell me how on earth 2 episodes is a season anyway??? I have no idea if they lost their usual writers or what train wreck occurred but in season 4 Eleanor was acting completely out of character and so were pretty much all the rest of the cast for the most part that returned. Not many of the good supporting characters were back either which also hurt it badly. But none of the charm of the previous 3 seasons was there at all. It was just a huge mangled mess and never should have been made in my humble opinion.
I stress again the first 3 seasons are FABULOUS but the 4th oh my stars just NO, NO, NO. And I am not the only one that thinks this… I wish I had listened to the many reviews and comments on the net before and skipped the fourth season before I watched the 4th series because pretty much everyone slammed the 4th season and after seeing it I know why. It really was completely different than the first 3 seasons literally and figuratively night and day different… the characters weren’t acting like themselves anymore the previous storyline was just GONE and the storyline they did have was just choppy and frankly horrible. I think I have said enough about that now but once more DO see the first 3 seasons of Bramwell!!! DO NOT watch the 4th it’s horrid to no end.

If you like period movies or tv series and you enjoy medical shows this one is a must see! LOVED it and do wish that they would bring it back IF they could stick to the great characters and story lines of the first 3 seasons it was truly a gem from across the pond.

Not rated but I would say is it's perfectly fine for the whole family unless you are bothered by blood during some of the medical treatment sequences it could scare small children but kids from 10-12 and up should be fine it's a very clean show overall. 

Some sexual situations are hinted at but nothing that is dirty at all you can see MUCH worse on daytime or primetime regular TV than you will here. 


(and you can see the rest of the series available linked off this as well
get the first 3 you won’t be sorry!!!)


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