The first seven episodes in the made-for-TV series tracing the remarkably credible story of a woman physician in 1890s London. Newly graduated in medicine, Eleanor Bramwell (Jemma Redgrave) is the daughter of Robert (David Calder), a distinguished physician. He would like her to join him in his private practice, but she has other plans. Bright and ambitious, she is well qualified to pursue her goal of surgery; however, these qualities do not protect her from the chauvinism of her male superiors, including the influential and basically well-meaning Sir Herbert Hamilton (Robert Hardy). In anger and frustration, she leaves the academic hospital, garners philanthropic support from Lady Cora Peters (Michele Dotrice Dotrice) and opens the charitable "Thrift Infirmary,"

In a poverty stricken district. There she is joined by the quiet Scots surgeon Dr. Joe Marsham (Kevin McMonagle) and competent Nurse Carr (Ruth Sheen) of crusty exterior and soft core. Together they encounter a series of clinical problems that clearly document not only the medicine and social values of the late Victorian era, but the troubles of those who live and work in poverty.


Superb acting brings home the cleverly wrought ideas of a woman writer, a woman director, and a woman producer. Reliable attention to authentic detail, a minimum of schmaltz, and a courageous perspective that allows the heroine to make mistakes, even devastating mistakes. As in real life, the endings are not always happy.

Tape 1-- 1. at the hospital

2. fund-raising for the Thrift Tape 2

3. electrotherapy and tuberculosis testing

4. Eleanor accuses a colleague of murder Tape 3

5. a mixed-race pregnancy and a legal dilemma

6. the Thrift thwarts a hospital takeover; Lady Cora dies Tape 4

7. stress for doctor and for patient

The series continues with other episodes.


Written by Lucy Gannon. Boxed set of 4 tapes, with 7 episodes of 52 min. each.

Primary Source

Acorn Media, Bethesda