Screens: BBC

Born In The Wagon Of A Travelin' Show

They may dance like a bunch of squares, but the Nonnatus crew can bring the tears like no one else.

  • Previously

    Trixie drinks. Patsy loves a lady. Shelagh dons the nursing togs. You know the drill. Sister Mary Cynthia continues to immerse herself in her religious studies. Y'all, sometimes I'm so close to becoming a nun, you don't even know. This show feeds a deep desire in me.

  • That Quote
    "I tire of this organ mightily. It is no better than a pig's bladder, blown up and used as a football."
    - Sister Monica Joan, laid up with a UTI -
  • Awkward
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    The Best Is Ready To Begiiiiiin

    Situation: Timothy Turner is shooting up so fast that he has growing pains.

    What makes it awkward? Nurse Crane, like many adults when speaking to children, doesn't realize that commenting that Timothy's legs look like "forced rhubarb" is maybe not necessary.

    How is order restored? It isn't, really. Timothy is a sensible kid, but even he can be bothered by an offhand remark about his body. Dear grownups of the world: shut up! He does get the courage to ask his dad a favor later on.

  • Alert!
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    The Diabeeddis

    Alert Type: Blood Sugar Alert.

    Issue: There is a growing number of diabetics on the district rota.

    Complicating Factors: The nurses are spending too much time going around giving them insulin shots every day.

    Resolution: Nurse Crane is onto all these lazy diabetics. She takes the situation in hand and is determined to teach them how to administer their own shots.

    Spoiler: One of her diabetes patients has a bigger problem than a blood sugar spike.

  • Character Study
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    Mother Knows Best

    Name: Mrs. Roland.
    Age: 40s.
    Occupation: Mother. Smoker. Possibly a Slytherin.
    Goal: To turn herself into an actual shrew worrying and harassing her daughter, Paulette, about her illness, whom she dates, what the neighbors will think, etc.
    Sample Dialogue: "We're entitled."
  • Family Matters
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    Gypsies? Tramps? Yes. Thieves? No.

    When Nurse Crane's hubcaps are stolen right under the noses of Fred and Sgt. Noakes, she immediately assumes the crime was committed by some of the gypsies currently camping on a nearby bomb site, sending Peter on a meritless goose chase. He finds not hubcaps, but a brand-new baby born to a teenage girl in the camp.

  • Character Study
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    You Don't Know! He Loves Me!

    Name: Paulette Roland.
    Age: 17.
    Occupation: Diabetic. Wearer of froufrou housecoats. Needlephobe. Typically stupid teenager, but she can't help it.
    Goal: To be seventeen and in love with her boyfriend.
    Sample Dialogue: "I'm seventeen! I've a right to know what you're doing with my wee!"
  • That Happened
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    Hey, Ho! You Down?

    Patsy and Delia really want to get their deserving Scouts to the Jamboree, and are holding a community square dance to raise money. They could not be cuter about it, and their giddiness leads them to very nearly smooch each other right in front of the bulletin board.

  • On The Menu
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    Everybody Hates Quiche!

    Finally, Sister Evangelina is back in residence, and this is how they welcome her home?

    The Lighter Side: Nurse Crane (of course) suggested the "cheese tart" for dinner, noting that Sister E shouldn't eat "animal matter" while still recovering from surgery.

    You Are What You Eat: As Sister Evangelina bitterly points out, "Cheese IS animal matter." Also, she knows a quiche when she sees one.

    A la carte: When you gladly accept the alternative of tinned salmon, you seriously must hate quiche.

  • Character Study
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    Enter The Wrong-un

    Name: Vaughn Sellers.
    Age: 17.
    Occupation: Reformed small-time criminal. Local hottie with a heart of gold.
    Goal: To be seventeen and in love with Paulette. To keep his younger brother Lenny, the actual hubcap thief, on the straight and narrow.
    Sample Dialogue: "I'm tryin' to do the right fing."
  • Love, Hate & Everything In Between
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    I'm All Yours In Buttons And Bows

    Fred and the widow Mrs. Gee, buttons and bows proprietress, are feeling each other out to see if they can start feeling each other up. AW, YEAH, I SAID IT. After their extremely hot public flirtation over...boot laces...Fred girds up his loins and asks Mrs. Gee to the square dance.

  • We Made A List
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    A Mother's Work Is Never Done: Things To Freak Out About

    • Babysitter for Angela
    • Cover the ulcer patients at the surgery
    • Find someone to give my husband, a medical doctor, a lesson on using a safety razor
    • GET TIMOTHY'S NAME TAPES SEWN IN HIS SHORTS FOR SCHOOL OMGEEE HOW WILL WE GO ON LIVING UNTIL IT IS DONE?
  • Symbolism
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    19 Children And Pregnant Again

    The Scene: Worried nurses Trixie and Sister MC go to check in on the new baby in the gypsy camp.

    The Symbol: The baby's mom is named Breda.

    The Meaning: I mean, I'm sure that's a common name and of course it's very lovely and all that and she's a very lovely girl, bless her heart, etc. But...I did laugh.

  • Character Study
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    Saints Be Praised

    Name: Attracta.
    Age: Early 40s.
    Occupation: Gypsy. Wife. Mother. Midwife to her tribe. Caretaker for her beautiful, dear grandmother, Pegeen.
    Goal: To give birth on her own terms while nursing her grandmother to a peaceful end.
    Sample Dialogue: "I didn't send for any help because none was needed."
  • Fashion Show
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    Get The Look: Square Dance!

    Style: Barbara is looking forward to the square dance, hoping to wear a poodle skirt like the Queen did on her recent trip to Canada. Look at HRH over here, cutting a Canadian rug. The life that woman has led.

    Doggy Style: Trixie is quick to point out, "The trouble with 'pewdle skahts' is that they can't be worn with a straight face anymore. You need a dash of irony or you'll simply look naïve." Thank you, Poplar's first hipster.

    Lesbian Tuxedo: "Checked shirts are quite popular! And I have plenty!" Oh, show.

  • That Happened
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    Mean Girls

    I get it. Old people are funny. And Nurse Crane's attempt to be cool by telling the story of her and her cousin's wild time square square dancing at Butlins is truly the lamest. But far worse and totally disappointing is the sniggering of the younger nurses when she turns her back. Even a battle-axe like Nurse C can get her feelings hurt, but she takes the high road.

  • Plot Lightning Round
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    When Paulette barfs during a jab session, Nurse Crane suspects that her condition is fare more delicate than originally known.

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    Possibly violating Paulette's privacy, I don't even know, Nurse Crane tests her wee and discovers she is pregnant.

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    Mrs. Roland takes your standard tack when confronted with the news of her pregnant daughter. All the good stuff: the boy's not good enough, "what will your father say?"; you don't know what love is; with a bonus accusation of "stupid slut!" And, I mean, there's no excuse for it, but when Paulette is like, "We were trying to be careful, but...we couldn't manage it!," I admit to feeling a strong wave of sympathy for her mom.

  • Health
    From the desk of

    Doctor Turner and Nurse Crane

    Patient

    Paulette Roland

    Diagnosis

    Type 1 Diabetes and up-the-duffness don't mix in this day and age. Everybody involved could die.

    Prescription

    Nobody likes it, but the only prescription is to stop being pregnant.

    Refill   1   time
    Watch Steel Magnolias
    Grow up a little, jeez.
    Listen to medical professionals when you have a serious disease.

  • Snapshot
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    Midwife To Midwife

    Sister MC has taken a special interest in the gypsies. She is especially concerned about Attracta, who is in turn very worried about her grandmother, Pegeen. Because Pegeen won't eat, Attracta serves her tea every day out of Pegeen's Crown Derby china cup, part of her wedding dowry. It's heart-stabbingly touching. I don't know where they found this old lady, but she has about two lines and yet is somehow KILLING me.

  • Family Matters
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    Far Above Rubies

    "She gave me these gold earrings when I was born," Attracta tells Sister Mary Cynthia about Pegeen. "We always give gold. It's there to barter if times are hard. But, if I still have mine -- if I've never come upon times as hard as that -- it's because of her and all she taught me." My friends, if you aren't crying, you're not alive.

  • Love, Hate & Everything In Between
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    Why Must I Be A Teenager In Love?

    Vaughn and Paulette are genuinely in love, but...they're dumb and too young, and I hate it for them. They want to keep the baby and be together, but neither of them has any idea of what that will require in ANY way, obviously. Like, for example, Paulette won't believe or understand that her life is in danger from the pregnancy? Come on, y'all.

  • That Quote
    "I am a spinster."
    - Nurse Crane -
  • Fight! Fight! Fight!
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    Dumb Kids vs. Mean Mom

    Vaughn nobly and genuinely wants to marry Paulette, but he's not fully getting the picture about diabetes and the scary consequences of pregnancy. Though Nurse Crane suggests that Mrs. Roland hear the lad out, the fact remains that Paulette's life is at actual risk.

    Winner: Mrs. Roland.

  • That Happened
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    From One Wrong-un To Another

    Seriously, poor Vaughn is trying very hard to be a man here, but his ignorance is leading his mouth to write checks his body can't cash. Above all, he loves Paulette and wants to do right by her. If his child is born, he says, he doesn't want it to be illegitimate. Nurse Crane, as tenderly as possible, attempts to counsel him, speaking entirely of her own experience as a "you-know-what" herself. It's not fair for people to think badly of him for having a record or for knocking up his girl or whatever else, she tells him but, she points out, being a wrong-un by birth didn't stop her making something of herself.

  • Fight! Fight! Fight!
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    Nun vs. Anti-Roma Intolerance

    Tensions are high at the gypsy camp when the group is served an eviction notice. Well, Sister MC has had it and has to throw down! She silences the crowd; tells the police to piss off, essentially; makes sure Pegeen is resting comfortably; and gets Attracta ready to give birth on her own terms. Sit down, sirs. SHE SAID SIT DOWN.

    Winner: Sister Mary Cynthia.

  • Wrap It Up
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    Even as a ten-time veteran, Attracta's labor pain pain is making her doubt her ability to push out the baby. "This is a brave, beautiful body," Sister MC tells her, with confidence. "It knows the way, and so do you."

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    When the baby is born, his cries send grateful cheers throughout the camp. Pegeen is roused from her bed and walks to the bedside of the granddaughter who means so much to her. "You were there for my first, now you're here for my last," Attracta tells her. "I'm done, Pegeen. We're getting too old for this, the both of us." People, I'm crying like I'm going to die.

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    Doctor Turner very sweetly gets Timothy some long pants, never giving it away to Shelagh that Tim wanted them so badly.

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    Having seen her most recent great-grandchild into the world, Pegeen dies in the night.

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    Meanwhile, these two cute idiots go on the run and are hiding out in the freezing woods where Paulette is basically also dying because 1) they didn't plan this runaway jaunt well enough; and 2) they seem to love to learn lessons the hard way. In conclusion: teenagers. She's run out of insulin and now even Vaughn is like, look dummy, maybe we should do what's best for you?

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    Delia brings some exotic liquor -- bourbon -- as a pre-game square dance brightener. Trixie takes one shot, and everyone grimaces like she's going to get loaded and flip a table.

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    Nurse Crane, declining to imbibe, is touched when Barbara offers her some of her cream soda, going so far as to allow her colleagues to call her Phyllis, "just for this evening."

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    The square dance kicks off with everyone dancing as awkwardly as you can imagine. Um, this style of dancing is English in origin! Get it together, Brits. Still, it's very cute.

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    In desperation, Vaughn steals a car so that he can drive Paulette to seek help. Vaughn makes it to the maternity home with poor Paulette, where Sister E takes over in a total "drink your juice, Shelby" moment.

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    Patsy and "Deels" wish they could really dance together -- a tango, or even a foxtrot. "There isn't a place on Earth where that would happen," Pats says, sadly. Hold on for just a few more years, ladies. It won't be long before you find a place.

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    Back at the gypsy camp, things are dramatic. The gypsies burn Pegeen's body in her wagon which...seems like a waste of a good wagon that a few of these bazillion kids could sleep in? Anyway, it's devastating and beautiful.

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    Vaughn is arrested for the theft of the car and uses his one phone call to call Nurse Crane, who rushes to his side. "You did the right thing," she tells him. "And I'll make sure that's said before the court."

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    Because he saved her daughter's life at his own expense, Mrs. Roland must agree that Vaughn really loves Paulette. She comforts her daughter as Paulette prepares for the termination of her pregnancy, and if you thought I couldn't cry anymore, you were quite wrong.

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    The gypsy camp has moved on in the night, but Breda waited for Sister MC in order to give her Pegeen's china cup as a thank-you gift. The sister is touched, but tells Breda she's not allowed to have personal possessions, as a nun. "Well, let's say it's ours and we're just loaning it to you," Breda says. "Pegeen would like that."

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    Back at Chez Turner, Timothy readies himself for his first day of grammar school. His purple blazer and cap are on point, and his pants go all the way to the ground.

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