Six monologues tell the stories of six different repressed souls: a man dominated by his mother, a vicar's wife, an inveterate letter writer, a hopeful actress, a recently widowed woman, ... See full summary »
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1988  
2 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete series cast summary:
...
 Graham Whittaker (1 episode, 1988)
...
 Muriel (1 episode, 1988)
...
 Doris (1 episode, 1988)
...
 Miss Ruddock (1 episode, 1988)
...
 Susan (1 episode, 1988)
...
 Lesley (1 episode, 1988)
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Storyline

Six monologues tell the stories of six different repressed souls: a man dominated by his mother, a vicar's wife, an inveterate letter writer, a hopeful actress, a recently widowed woman, and an elderly shut-in. Written by Kathy Li

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monologue | tv mini series | See All (2) »

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Drama

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19 April 1988 (UK)  »

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Referenced in Going Out (2015) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Wonderfully acted and written
20 December 2012 | by (US) – See all my reviews

A series of 6 monologues, by Alan Bennett ranging from 25 to 40 minutes, made for the BBC. These wonderful character sketches are very simply done. The actors speak directly into the camera, in very basic sets that look designed more for stage, than film. No pretense of naturalistic reality here.

There are 5 pieces for women, all performed by some of the best actresses around; Maggie Smith, Thora Hird. Patricia Routledge, Julie Walters and Stephanie Cole. The lone piece for a male is performed by Bennett himself, who acquits himself quite admirably. I usually think of him as a writer first, actor second, but he does a terrific and touching job interpreting his work.

As in any collection of short pieces the quality of the tales is somewhat variable, but none are less than good, and a few are exquisite; heartbreaking, funny, capturing the poetry of modern life in the Bennett has proved himself so good at. It's especially wonderful to see Maggie Smith getting to play a character so subtle and understated. While she has always had tremendous range, in recent years much of what she has done has been on the broader side. So being reminded of just how powerfully quiet she can be is a treat.

A couple of the pieces hang on a last minute twist, but more of them are really about peeling away the layers of ordinary life to show the pain and confusion under the masks we all wear.

An excellent use of the intimacy of television, where lengthy close ups and simple visuals are more effective and less fatiguing than they can be in theatrical features.


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