• Synopsis
  • Reviews
  • Credits
  • Synopsis

    A TV series set in early 1960s England and centered around the doctors and nurses in a gynecology ward.

  • Reviews

    Paul Unwin, who wrote all three parts (collaborating on two of them) and directed the premiere, has stitched an awful lot into these three 90-minute chapters: Class distinctions, infidelity, a central mystery regarding the Powells’ past and the dangers associated with abortion being forced underground. Reminded his work is illegal, Powell says the law “makes miserable lives and miserable women.” Like “Mad Men,” there’s little nostalgia here for the good ol’ days, even if Anne Dudley’s bluesy, evocative score and settings like a jazz club where they play the “Peter Gunn” theme sort of makes one long to visit. Because it’s also a time when a doctor whose wife is unhappy because he’s betrayed her can cajole a colleague to medicate her so she’ll be more docile. (A woman who begins experimenting with the birth control pill notes the freedom will let her “be like a bloke, I suppose.”) Throw in a splendid cast and “Breathless” is a pretty near flawless condensation of soap-opera conventions into a delicious little package. The only conspicuous misstep, in fact, is its rather nondescript title. Because when a story is crafted as meticulously as this one, the temptation is to breathe in every last bit of it.


    Writer and director Paul Unwin (whose 27-year stint on Casualty proves his medical credentials) gave us a drama perfectly pitched between Mad Men and Call the Midwife, from the characters’ permanently rouged lips to the opulent décor, old London street scenes and mournful saxophone solos.
    The dialogue was witty, historically accurate (peppered with talk of V2 bombers and Lyons Tea Shops) and hinted at just enough repressed emotion that something explosive (probably that pistol in Powell’s desk drawer) is sure to go off in the next instalment.

    The Telegraph, Sarah Rainey

    It’s all highly watchable and the Sixties trappings are unusually well done.

    The Arts Desk, Adam Sweeting

    Breathless is good at that; the 60s kitchens, the dresses, the Brylcreem and the buses, the Austins and the Morrises, the drink-driving. Also at the paradoxes of the age – the looking both forwards and backwards, the rampant sex and rampant sexism, the shiny new NHS and the lingering stuffiness etc. It looks great, and it captures an age, a fascinating one – key elements in any period drama. Plus there are no screens or texting. You can forget the modern world for an hour (except that you’re probably tweeting along).

    The Independent

  • Credits

    Jack Davenport
    Otto Powell
    Catherine Steadman
    Angela Wilson
    Zoe Boyle
    Jean Truscott
    Shaun Dingwall
    Charlie Enderbury
    Oliver Chris
    Richard Truscott
    Elizabeth Powell
    Iain Glen
    Inspector Ronald Mulligan
    Joanna Page
    Lily Enderbury
    Melanie Kilburn
    Mrs. Johnstone
    Dystin Johnson
    Sister Neville
    Ronny Jhutti
    Dr. Omprakash Mehta
    Rudi Goodman
    Thomas Powell
    Holli Dempsey
    Maureen Mulligan
    Diane Fletcher
    Matron Vosper
    Cheryl Campbell
    Mrs. Truscott
    Finbar Lynch
    Monty Meecher
    Sarah Parish
    Margaret Dalton
    Michael Troughton
    Mr. Truscott
    Tom Rosenthal
    Sam Roth
    Sophie Scott
    Patricia Mehta
    Gordon Kennedy
    DI Thompson
    Cathy Sara
    Mrs. Beatrice Mulligan
    Penny Downie
    Sherry Baines
    Julia Deakin
    Victoria Bewick
    Megan Grieves
    Pippa Haywood
    Valerie Smallwood
    Pip Torrens
    Eric Smallwood
    Angus Wright
    Major Domo
    Paul Unwin, Marek Losey, Philippa Langdale
    Paul Unwin, Peter Grimsdale, Simon Tyrrell
    Jolyon Symonds, Carolyn Parry-Jones