I recently watched the Australian Television mini-series called ANZAC GIRLS which tells the story of the Australian and New Zealand Nursing Corps during World War I. The six part drama focuses on a small group of women who served in Africa, an island in Greece and then France and is based on a book written by Peter Rees. Rees searched diaries and letters of the real ANZAC nurses for his book and now that I've seen the series, I want to get a copy of the book to get even more details. I've read that by the end of the war, 45 ANZAC nurses had died and over 200 were decorated for their bravery and service. The television series does a superb job of mixing the harsh field hospital scenes with the personal stories of the nurses. Yes, there are bloody scenes, but this production is not out to shock and is not filled with violence, bad language, or such. I believe great care was taken to cast the roles as each of the actresses seemed to be perfect matches for the real nurses they were playing. My favorite was Olive, a slightly tom-boyish young nurse who tackled every circumstance with a song, sort of the female equivalent of "keeping a stiff upper lip." Sister Ross King (all the nurses are called sister) is the dark haired beauty featured on the DVD
cover, and her story revolves around to whom she will give her heart. The real Sister Ross King was given a medal for her bravery in an air attack in France (or that is what the movie shows). Another nurse is one of the first nurses to learn how to give anesthesia and when the top officials say all Australian nurses must cease serving as anesthesiologists, she stubbornly points out that she is a New Zealander and continues her training.
A major element in the story is how the ANZAC's must earn the respect of everyone -- first, the military officials of their own countries and then the British nursing and medical corps. The ANZAC women all wore long grey skirts and blouses, and when in dress uniform, they had vivid red capes. Despite the squalor of the make shift hospitals and the bloody surgical units, those uniforms seemed to project such grace and professionalism. Despite being a war story, there is a beauty to this whole series. Now that I have finished watching it, I wish it had been longer with more stories. When I think about what I've learned about society's changes in the early 1900's from watching Downton Abbey and now this series, I appreciate even more the women who were brave enough to take on challenges that no one thought they could handle.
As far as I know, this series has not appeared on American tv, but maybe it was on PBS and I missed it. I highly recommend it and am so glad that our library purchased the series. We have a dish subscription and even get our local stations through the dish antenna. With its escalating price tag, we are considering finally putting up an antenna for local reception and then cancelling the dish.
Since we watch so few programs on regular tv, I am looking for other avenues for my watching. We have an Amazon prime subscription, but would like to hear from others just what you are watching.
More and more I have been searching for shows that I might enjoy and then seeking out what libraries have them on dvd. What would you recommend?