Character: Trixie Franklin
From: Call the Midwife
Representation: Addiction (alcohol)
Their Importance: Call the Midwife presented a really good portrait of how alcoholism could affect a seemingly happy young woman. In the first couple of seasons of the show, Trixie’s drinking was shown as just another aspect of her party-girl personality. She liked champagne, smoking and jazz, in comparison to her more straight-laced fellow midwives. However, sometimes her mask slipped and she talked about her past – during her childhood she cared for her father, who had PTSD from serving in World War II and also “had a problem with drink.”
As the show progressed it became more and more obvious that Trixie was using alcohol as a crutch. As soon as problems popped up in her personal life she drank more and more, until it was affecting her career. She eventually went to Alcoholic’s Anonymous and admitted she had a problem, but it didn’t end there. She continued to attend AA throughout the series and talked about how much she missed alcohol and how dull life seemed without it (problems often faced by real alcoholics.)
In Season 7 she ended a long-term relationship and subsequently relapsed. Alcohol once again began affecting her midwife work, so she ended up leaving her job to go and seek more treatment. (Part of this was to temporarily write actress Helen George out of the show so she could have a baby, but it was done in a way that made perfect sense, and it’s confirmed she’ll be back for Series 8.)
Showrunner Heidi Thomas said in a 2018 interview that the show’s writers liased with the real AA about Trixie’s storylines, and that her character’s journey has had “hugely positive feedback from the AA community.”
Issues: In season two Trixie becomes the victim of attempted rape after an older man plies her with alcohol and then forces himself on her. This never gets brought up again, which perhaps makes sense for the 1950s, but I figured it was worth pointing out.
Thanks to @sarah531 for the write up!