Girlfriends on ITV follows the friendships between Linda (Phyllis Logan), Sue (Miranda Richardson) and Gail (Zoë Wanamaker) after the sudden death of Linda’s husband, Micky.
As Linda tries to come to terms with being on her own after 30 years of marriage, she and her girlfriends are horrified to find this could be the least of her worries, as questions arise over the circumstances of Micky’s death.
Meanwhile, Sue and Gail are facing their own problems as well as juggling the demands of grandchildren and ageing parents.
Below, the show’s 66-year-old writer, Kay Mellor, tells us more…
I pride myself on the fact that I don’t have loads and loads of girlfriends, but those that I have really matter to me. I think that’s true of a lot of women; they have one or two or three close girlfriends who will support them and who are there for them. And that’s what my new drama, Girlfriends, looks at.
I’ve got to a certain stage in my life where I’m reliant on my girlfriends. I actually have real-life friends called Linda, Gail and Sue. Periodically, we go away for a girls’ night and just talk about life – we’re very frank about who we are and where we’re at. I wanted to do something that would reflect that and this show is my testimony to our friendship. The characters are an amalgamation of my girlfriends, me and my sister-in-law.
I’m forever reading about the lack of roles for women, particularly older women, and I thought, “I need to put this right.” I went to a conference full of women in film and theatre. A lot of those women were of a certain age and they were saying things like, “We feel invisible! The stories are never about us; we’re never centre stage.” And although I have put women centre stage before, it’s never been women of this age. It’s been so wonderful writing these big roles for women.
The characters are late fifties and early sixties, which is such a rich and interesting time for women. They have children, sometimes grandchildren, and often parents who are ageing. They juggle so many things and yet they feel invisible because society is making them feel invisible, saying, “You are too old for that job now because you are over the age of 40 or not quite glamorous enough.”
Girlfriends is on ITV Wednesdays at 9pm. Read more exclusive content about the show in the new issue of woman&home, on sale 4 January