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PBS Miniseries ‘Breathless’ Looks at Treatment of Women in the ’60s

Airs: PBS; Sundays through Sept. 7

Stars: Jack Davenport, Natasha Little, Shaun Dingwall, Catherine Steadman

About: It’s not too late to catch up with this luscious six-part “Masterpiece Theater” entry set among a group of doctors and nurses at a London hospital in 1961. Jack Davenport is a commanding presence as a brilliant-but-tortured nurse-chasing surgeon who performs abortions in secret at a time when birth-control pills were available to only married women — if their husbands gave consent. Creator Paul Unwin, a British drama vet, was inspired to use a medical setting to look at the shoddy treatment of women in Britain during this period.

Quote: “I became fascinated by those American dramas that are like novels,” Unwin says, “where every episode, you get enough of the story, but you don’t get the whole thing. ‘Breathless’ (also) was born out of an interest in trying to write stories about women.”

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