Series / Bramwell
A television medical drama revolving around Doctor Eleanor Bramwell (Jemma Redgrave), a female doctor in Victorian England, running a clinic for the poor in London's East End. It seems to be standard costume-drama fare except for the subject matter: Period medical techniques are shown in some degree of detail, and Bramwell herself faces a good degree of opposition by virtue of her gender.
Though the initial intent is to treat only those who cannot pay, Eleanor can't run a free clinic on her own without taking patients on the side, and a fair bit of the show's plot revolves around ethical dilemmas on whom to treat and why. Rather than focusing the series on exotic new ailments, due to the historical setting, a good deal of the show is spent demonstrating the historical approach to a problem - an ovariectomy for a woman with post-partum depression, for example - and they don't shy away from showing some spurting blood here and there.
This show provides examples of:
- Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder: When Eleanor's fiance returns from his fellowship in America, she's devastated when he tells her that he's married someone else. Though it's implied that it was more of a Shotgun Wedding rather than him genuinely falling in love with the other woman.
- Anyone Can Die: Rather graphically, Lady Cora Peters in the first series, and Dan Bentley in the second.
- Blood from the Mouth
- British Accents: All over the place. The posh accents of the upper-class Bramwells and those in their social circle, the cockney accents of the patients and staff at the East End clinic (as well as the servants of the upper-class set), and Scotch Dr. Marsham.
- Bury Your Gays
- Busman's Holiday: When Eleanor flees to the country to visit old friends following her break-up with Finn, she gets caught up in treating a measles epidemic, which snaps her out of her depression and makes her rediscover her passion for medicine.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Eleanor's father, despite being a major character for the first three series and having had a loving, close relationship with her, is completely absent from the final series (along with his new wife), with no explanation for their absence given.
- Christmas Cake: Eleanor is implied to be this, by Victorian standards, at least.
- Daddy's Girl: Eleanor and her father.
- December-December Romance: Eleanor's father and several women he courts throughout the series, including the one he eventually marries.
- Deliberate Values Dissonance: Eleanor is put through a lot of crap because of her gender, to the point where the only position available for her is running a public clinic in one of the poorest sections of London. The same fate befalls Dr. Marsham, even though he's a man, but because he's Scottish, he's equally unwelcome in London's high society hospitals. Even Dr. Bramwell, Sr. isn't exempt from this—one episode is centered around him finally having enough money to afford an office on Harley Street, which was (and still is) the place for prominent physicians, hospitals, and medical schools.
- Additionally, despite all the discrimination she's dealt with, Eleanor is shocked when she discovers that one of her patients is married to a black man, and her reaction to a man dressed in women's clothing and in a relationship with another man is exactly what you would expect for the the time period.
- Double Standard: Tying into the "Dissonance" entry. Eleanor flips out when she discovers that her father has a mistress, but he dismisses her outrage, as this is perfectly accepted behavior for a man of his social standing. His reaction to finding out that she had a romantic weekend with her lover is to be outraged enough to threaten to throw her out. He doesn't, but it still strains their relationship considerably for some time. This is unfortunately probably quite accurate for the standards of male-female behavior at the time.
- Extraordinarily Empowered Woman
- Fourth Date Marriage/Shotgun Wedding: Eleanor and the military officer she marries at the end of the series.
- Eleanor and her father also try to enforce this with Finn O'Neill after her father learns of their weekend together, in an attempt to preserve her reputation.
- The Grotesque
- High-Pressure Blood: Justified. It's usually an artery.
- Heroic B.S.O.D.: Eleanor after Finn deserts her. She sinks into such a deep depression that she actually needs to leave town for a while and stay with friends to recover, but this backfires, as even hearing them bicker is enough to make her cry, to say nothing of their loving interactions. She recovers by throwing herself into providing care to the people of the town.
- Hospital Paradiso: Particularly the episode involving O'Neill and the pregnant child prostitute.
- Hypocrite: Eleanor is outraged to discover that Dr. Marsham is a regular visitor of brothels and would have continued to be so after they married. . .except that by the time she confronts him about this, they've called off their engagement—because she cheated on him.
- Incurable Cough of Death
- Instant Sedation: Subverted.
- Jerkass: Finn O'Neill. He's a ass to Eleanor and company when they first meet, eventually seduces Eleanor, then tells her he's leaving for America. When he comes back for a visit, he implies that he's involved with someone else, and when he comes back for good, tells her that he's married the other woman, not only breaking Eleanor's heart, but essentially leaving her a ruined woman, sex outside marriage being a major taboo for young women in those days. To top it off, in his final appearance, he reveals that he doesn't even love his new wife but married her only for her money, then suggests that Eleanor be his mistress so that he can have the best of both worlds. To say nothing of the fact that throughout this particular episode, it's implied that he might be trying to kill his wife to escape his loveless marriage.
- Lethal Diagnosis: Only like, every other episode.
- Missing Mom: Eleanor's mother either died in childbirth or when she was very young.
- Old Maid: Eleanor, by the standards of when the show is set.
- Parents as People: Eleanor's shocked to discover that her father has a mistress and demands that he end things. He tells her that his personal life is none of her business and that as a grown, long-widowed man, he has, ahem, needs to be fulfilled.
- Race for Your Love: Eleanor rushing to catch her fiance before he leaves for America, fearing that the fight they had earlier may have ruined things. Luckily, it hasn't—for now. See the "Absence" entry above.
- Status Quo Is God: Each episode in series 1 and 2 is largely self-contained. At the end of series 2, things become much more settled into a story arc, whereby the story of Eleanor, Finn and her other suitors takes over from purist "case of the week" procedural.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: Eleanor and Dr. Marsham. At one point, he confesses his love for her, embarrassing them both, as he's married. This is never brought up again until some time after his wife dies, when he proposes to her, fully acknowledging that she doesn't love him the way he loves her, but wanting to save her from being an Old Maid. But the engagement falls her apart both because of the disparity in their feelings and her fling with an army major.
- Victorian London
- Wholesome Crossdresser: Frederick, of season 2.