Josette Wolthuis
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New uniforms! Costume and the 1950s/60s in Call the Midwife
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This chapter challenges the style versus substance binary in thinking about television’s meaning-making process by arguing for the function of costume design as a key element in television’s creation of meaning which shows that style and substance are inextricable. The moment in focus is the opening episode of Series 5 of BBC1’s period drama Call the Midwife (2012–present), in which, at the start of the 1960s, the nurses receive a new set of uniforms. Rather than seeing the cosy and nostalgic style of the serial drama as an opposition to or cover-up of the taboo-ridden and often tragic subjects it deals with, this study of the programme’s costume strategies illustrates that even pretty, decorative aspects of style are constructive of the text’s narrative substance.

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Substance / style

Moments in television

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