The six-part series reveals what it really takes to deliver Britain’s next-generation, through the eyes of parents and staff at three of Birmingham’s busiest maternity hospitals.
“This programme is going to be a fascinating addition to the BBC One schedule to bring families together in the miracle of birth. We hope audiences will enjoy it as much as they love Ambulance.” – Head of Documentary Commissioning BBC, Clare Sillery
With unprecedented access across two NHS trusts, from the antenatal clinics and nationally renowned Fetal Medicine Centres, to the delivery suites, emergency operating theatres and Birmingham Children’s Hospital, the series gives an extraordinary and privileged insight into the places where cutting-edge medicine meets the miracle of birth every single day.
Narrated by Suranne Jones and produced by Dragonfly – the makers of the BAFTA award-winning BBC ONE series Ambulance – Life And Birth goes beyond the stories of the labour ward and meets the people who help the safe and healthy delivery of babies, showing maternity care in a way that it has not been seen before.
From intricate lifesaving surgical procedures on babies in the womb, to specialist care for women who have had multiple miscarriages, to births which go as planned, this programme captures the incredible work of NHS midwifes, doctors and surgeons, who are dedicated to supporting families as they bring new life into the world.
During production last year, filmmakers had access to three of the West Midlands’ busiest and most diverse maternity units – Heartlands Hospital, Good Hope Hospital and Birmingham Women’s Hospital.
Multiple camera crews stationed across the three units captured in compelling and candid detail, stories of birth in all their richness and complexity as they simultaneously unfolded – including some the most challenging and complex cases clinicians faced.
To bring the viewer the most intimate insight, Life And Birth combines prime lens documentary filming techniques with fixed rig cameras which means no moment is missed along with graphics of the social media and text messages shared between loved ones at the most emotional moments of their lives.
The series features a range of birth stories, from early scans and pre-term complications in the antenatal clinics to those starting to push on the delivery suite; from an emergency caesarean sections in theatre to families in intensive care and in the post-natal ward getting to know their newborns before they head home.
In the first episode, 22-year-old mother of one Ashleigh goes into labour supported by childhood sweetheart Luke. She comments, “A lot of people do try to make out like pregnancy is full of rainbows and magic. It’s not this big bubble of glitter that everybody makes out. But you are over the moon and happy when you are handed that baby at the end. That’s the part that makes everything worth it.”
Life And Birth captures the magical journey to parenthood with tear-jerking drama.
“Building on the signature techniques developed on our hit series Ambulance and Surgeons, we’ve combined cinematic prime lenses with the intimacy of the rig, and an innovative layer of social media to create a new BBC One brand with an incredibly diverse cast and – we hope – universal appeal. Warm, funny and truthful, often nail-bitingly tense, and always deeply emotional, this is 360 storytelling at its best.” – Creative Director of Dragonfly Richard Bond
A Dragonfly Film and Television Productions Ltd, part of the Endemol Shine Group, production. Exact air date details are yet to be confirmed.