The Crimson Field is a 2014 television series, which explores the lives of nurses, during World War 1. Although the story focuses on a handful of characters, Kitty Trevelyan (Oona Chaplin) undoubtedly takes center stage. The character is somewhat of a mystery and has seemingly run away from something. Aside from Kitty, we also have Matron Grace Carter (Hermione Norris) and Sister Margaret Quayle (Kerry Fox). The pair shares a bitter relationship, after Grace Carter managed to obtain the coveted Matron spot ahead of her old rival.
Finally, we have several other new trainee nurses, including Flora Marshall (Alice St. Clair) and Rosalie Berwick (Marianne Oldham). Rosalie is somewhat of a mystery, while Flora is spunky and overzealous. The trio of trainee nurses are immediately looked down upon and receive nothing, but doubt, upon arriving at the battle hospital. Although Matron Grace Carter is fairly forgiving, she is forced to maintain a strong stance, in order to prove her worth to her rival, Sister Quayle. Near the end of the first episode, a fourth nurse, Sister Joan Livesey (Suranne Jones, Doctor Foster), arrives.
Unlike the trainee nurses, Joan Livesey is skilled and confident in her abilities. She quickly becomes a very advantageous asset to the encampment, but she maintains a secret, which could put everyone in grave danger. As the series carries on, the backstories of each of the characters begins to unravel. Also, each faces troubling and challenging situations, which test their mettle. Despite their predicament, they always provide their patients with superb care and the wounded soldiers nearly always become an integral aspect of each episode. One such soldier, Lawrence Prentiss (Karl Davies, Happy Valley), has been mentally damaged in the war, yet his superior officer, Col Charles Purbright (Adam James) wants to send him back to the battlefield.
Lt Col Roland Brett (Kevin Doyle) and Matron Carter attempt to win a reprieve for the wounded soldier, but they’re eventually outmaneuvered by Sister Quayle. Unfortunately, the boy is sent back to the battlefield to endure more unnecessary hardship. In this sense, The Crimson Field does a fabulous job displaying and recreating the horrors of war. The pain and suffering is evident and very heartfelt. The delivery is even more impactful, thanks to excellent performances and incredibly realistic makeup.
There are many individuals, who have discredited Crimson Field for one single reason. The series ends too early. This is one of the biggest downfalls of BBC and British television. British television shows are too good for the good of their viewers. At any moment, a better show could come along and snatch your favorite show’s time slot. Personally, I felt the series could’ve continued, as well, but the ending does provide an adequate conclusion to most story lines.
Although the series wasn’t nearly as impactful as Anzac Girls, it was far better than Mercy Street. In fact, it would be a crying shame for Mercy Street to get a renewal, when The Crimson Field did not. The series is well written, excellently acted and heartfelt. All in all, I enjoyed my time spent with the girls of The Crimson Field and will truly miss them. The series was satisfying and enjoyable, while it lasted. An 8 out of 10 is deserved. It is currently available on Amazon for anyone, who wants to give it a spin. It is well worth it.