The six-hour drama is set in a London hospital in 1961. It stars Jack Davenport, late of “Smash,” as the head of the hospital’s gynecology unit at a time when the birth-control pill had just become available and abortion was still illegal. The cast also includes “Downton Abbey” alumni Iain Glen (also of “Game of Thrones”) and Zoe Boyle and Natasha Little (“Case Histories,” the U.K. “Mistresses”).
“Television dramas that tell good stories about women’s lives in the 20th century are endlessly interesting to me … and apparently to lots of other people — look at the appeal of ‘Call the Midwife’ and ‘Mad Men,’” “Masterpiece” executive producer Rebecca Eaton says. “We’re all fascinated by the enormous changes that happened just a short time ago. ‘Breathless’ is a sharp, visually rich portrait of a group of people on the cusp of change.”