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The Women of The Crimson Field

Guest blogger Amie Simon presents a primer on The Crimson Field with profiles of its main characters.

About the series, airing Sundays at 10pm and Tuesdays at 3pm on KCTS 9

In a tented field hospital on the coast of France, a team of doctors, nurses and women volunteers work together to heal the bodies and souls of men wounded in the trenches. The hospital is a frontier: between the battlefield and homefront, but also between the old rules, hierarchies, class distinctions and a new way of thinking.

Kitty (Oona Chaplin), Rosalie (Marianne Oldham) and Flora (Alice St Clair) arrive as the hospital’s first volunteer nurses and struggle to be accepted by the established medical team. The girls are flung head-first into a world for which nothing and nobody could have prepared them, but it is also an opportunity to break free of the constraints and limitations of their lives back home.

Sarah Phelps, one of British television’s most exciting and original writers, tells this story of World War One’s front line medics — their hopes, fears, triumphs and tragedies.

The Crimson Field, Episode 1 (premiered on Sunday, June 21, 2015)

In the first episode of The Crimson Field, Kitty Trevelyan tries to put the troubles of her past behind her as she joins two other girls, Flora Marshall and Rosalie Berwick, to volunteer at one of the busiest war hospitals in Northern France.

For the hospital workers, it’s a daily battle to patch the men up and keep the war machine churning. Staff numbers are low and the volunteers are desperately needed, yet there are some who see these women as a threat.

As the volunteer nurses settle into their first day, it soon becomes clear that no training could have prepared them for the reality of working near the Front Line. Before the day ends, the hospital sees the arrival of Sister Joan Livesey, but it remains to be seen whether her modern approach will be welcomed.

Get to know the characters

Kitty Trevelyan, Voluntary Aid Detachment (played by Oona Chaplin)

Kitty comes to France to start afresh, but will her past come back to haunt her?

Beautiful, headstrong and opinionated, Kitty is only too ready to challenge the strict rules the moment she steps foot on the hospital grounds. She will lock horns with other members of the staff, but she will also catch the eye of the hospital’s two dashing surgeons — best friends Thomas and Miles.

Can she move forward with her new life and find the happiness she so desperately craves?

Sister Joan Livesey (played by Suranne Jones)

Joan is a disarming and spirited nurse, but she conceals a dark secret.

Joan is a modern woman, not tied by the strict military traditions that govern others at the hospital. She focuses on caring for her patients, and protocols don’t interest her. The Front Line might seem just the right place for such modernity to break through, but Joan’s views will cause friction.

Ultimately Joan is here to stand and be counted, but she’s also keen to court a certain invisibility… particularly as her private life clutches a terrible secret.

Matron Grace Carter (played by Hermione Norris)

As the newly appointed Matron of the hospital, Grace’s promotion is not necessarily welcomed by all the staff. She is determined to prove her worth, and while she may seem petty and pointlessly exacting, the reason for her obsession with the rules, both personally and professionally, will become clear.

As a military nurse, Grace has had to forgo any possibility of marriage or a family life, but is she completely reconciled to this sacrifice? She has a professional alliance based on mutual respect with Roland to fall back on, but will Grace be able to maintain the control she’s recently been gifted?

Rosalie Berwick, VAD (played by Marianne Oldham)

Rosalie actively embraces and follows the rules without question, but the world is changing and it’s not always possible to conform.

The opportunity to work in France proved to be Rosalie’s escape from the burden of being unmarried. When it comes to more domestic tasks, she is in her element, but her closeted years back at home have left her socially insecure. She may appear to be the perfect volunteer, but when faced with the endless new experiences of life at the front, Rosalie will sometimes break. She’s been raised in the old ways; can she embrace the new?

Flora Marshall, VAD (played by Alice St. Clair)

Flora is somewhat naïve to the world, but as the youngest member of the staff she is determined to prove her worth.

Others are quick to dismiss her as flighty and immature, yet there is a steely resolve within her. She will work hard to earn the respect of those around her, particularly Peter. Even when facing adversity and the travesties of war, Flora gives all of herself to the job, using every ounce of love at her disposal. Flora is the youngest (perhaps too young), but she’s a favorite on the wards and she will fight a daily battle to prove that she deserves her place in the hospital.

Lieutenant-Colonel Roland Brett (played by Kevin Doyle, MOLESELY!)

Roland is the fiercely loyal and morally-centered head of the hospital.

Roland is a firm yet fair leader, but he’s constantly amazed by the insanity and impracticality of the orders from the top brass. Roland endeavors to run the hospital his own way without causing more friction with the powers that be than completely necessary. But if it comes to a matter of principle, he’s more than happy to stick his head above the parapet. And thankfully, he has Grace as an ally to protect him when the vultures claw at the door.


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Wonderful new series - nice t see "Molsely" again!
Looking forward to further episodes with anticipation!
Thanks KCTS9 for the wonderful "Brit" shows - keep them coming...

We are so glad you are enjoying the series. We appreciate the kind words. -- KCTS 9