Hey guys isn’t that Kitty Trevelyan (Poona Craplin)? It is you know. The Crimson Field is the name and saving lives is the game. She’s one of many chicks making up the army’s Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) in the First World War. With just a few months training Poona’s thrown into a military hospital to give the ruined and wounded soldiers a nursing they’ll never forget. Comes across a bit cold and uppity does Poo – not afraid to speak her mind and rub the brass up the wrong way. She’ll soon be elbows deep in shit and mincemeat but right there with her every step of the way will be the new BFF dopey wide-eyed Flora Marshall (Alice St. Clair). It’s a friendship as unlikely as it is uninteresting and that’s significantly.
It’s a friendship as unlikely as it is uninteresting and that’s significantly.
Matron Grace Carter (Hermione Norris) is the gaffer, freshly promoted over her former mentor Sister Margaret Quayle (Kerry Fox). Quayle is a veteran of the Boer War and much like an ageing woman on TV she’s starting to feel invisible and that her decades of experience count for the square root of fuck all. When Sister Joan Livesey (Suranne Jones) shows up with 10 minutes to go and wows everyone with her youth, short haircut and motorcycle it’s another nail in the Quayle career coffin. She so distressed she steals Flora’s cake, intended for the soldiers, and wolfs it down herself. What’s that about?
The dames live in a shit box tent and they have to shite in a bucket like the fighting gentlemen of the travelling community. That this is not a suitale place for ladies is underlined when dying shitbird Molloy (Michael Nardone) throttles a priest. Nothing phases Poona though who’s being a stroppy little madam. When fellow nurse Rosalie Berwick (Marianne Oldham) tries to put her on the straight and narrow Poo just sasses back calling her a hypocrite. “You didn’t volunteer out of duty – you did it to escape”. What. A. Bitch.
The girls have to dress dowdy as fuck so as not to inflame the desires of dying soldiers. No fancy stockings, mascara, powder or slap of any kind – particularly if it goes with tickle. Yeah, good luck with making Poona Craplin in a nurse’s uniform unattractive, army. Captain Thomas Gillan (Richard Rankin) – a brilliant Jock surgeon who defied his working-class roots to become a somebody – is already circling her sainted snatch. He’ll have competition from his pal Captain Miles Hesketh-Thorne (Alex Wyndham), a handsome posh bastard who thinks himself a ladies man. Their friendship transcends class which is good because neither of them have any.
Yeah, good luck with making Poona Craplin in a nurse’s uniform unattractive, army
When the girls have to make a hospital bed properly for the first time in just TWO minutes the tension is unbearable. Christ, what if they do it incorrectly? We soon find out. Matron Vinegar Tits makes Flora wash 3 billion diseased bandages for reuse. It’s a scene with all the power of the liberation of Belsen and to hammer the point home Flora finds some rotting toes in the bandage mountain. Onto the fire they go. That’s war folks
Lieutenant-Colonel Ro-land Brett (Kevin Doyle) chats with Lance-Corporal Lawrence Prentiss (Karl Davies) who cries like a bairn listening to opera. Doyle marks him down for some leave in Blighty for at least a while. In the days before they invented PTSD this was called shellshock but the important thing to remember is that he’s as fucked as a Catholic choirboy in a sacristy.
Things get even worse when upper class swine Colonel Charles Purbright (Adam James) visits to ride Ro-land senseless. He’s all over the so-called “STD epidemic” – he thinks most of them are faaaaked and wants to write home to the wives to tell them their loving heroes have got nob rot off some tart. And all those shellshock cases like Prentiss? Taking the piss those malingering fucks. Purbright declares him fit for battle. Oh mate. Mate.
It’s all kicking off. After multiple infringements of nurse etiquette and generally being a wiseass pain in the balls Matron Vinegar Tits realises the futility of having pumpum as fresh as Craplin around and sends her home. For the first time tears roll down her icy face.
Prentiss meanwhile is still a jittery sack of shit chain-smoking four fags at one time with one hand and comfort masturbating with the other. Ro-land defies the direct order from Colonel Cockmuncher and sends him the fuck back to Blighty. Sister Cakestealer gets Ro-land off the hook by sending him to the front anyway. He’s going to go Full Metal Jacket within the week so watch out for that.
So Poona is all aboard the Blighty schooner yeah? Not so fast Poindexter. That unstable dying fuck Molloy sticks a shiv to her neck and holds her hostage. His demand is a pretty straightforward: keep me alive. Don’t know which part of “fatally injured” he’s having a problem with but the only way he’s exiting this hospital is in a box.
He starts blubbing like a bairn. “I’m dying” he says. Oh well done chump. He dies like a sap while she sits with him. Matron walks in on her caring for him. They see him out together laughing at his demise, flashing their tits at him. Molloy confesses killing some broad in his past. “Fuck that bitch” says matron “She’s dead and we’re alive. Spring break! Woooooo!!!” They cackle like hyenas as he gasps his less breath. The female bonding gets Poona a reprieve.
She’ll learn about life. Mostly she’ll learn that if you’re young male and working class you will inevitably end up bleeding from diseased stumps in unbearable agony with your legs fingers and testicles roasted to a crisp somewhere in a field in Flanders.
But Craplin will get some cock as well which is always the big upside of war. As far as she’s concerned V.A.D. stands for Virtually All Dicks.
Not too thrilled about this one if I’m honest.
The verdict: War quorn.
Marks out of 10: 6