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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1  
1988  
2 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete series cast summary:
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 Graham Whittaker 1 episode, 1988
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...
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 Miss Ruddock 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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Featured in Night of a Thousand Shows (2000) See more »

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Groundbreaking. Breathtaking.
18 February 2004 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The original Talking Heads had such an incredible impact on everything that followed, that it is almost impossible to know where to begin. I can remember watching this, on its first showing: I was at school, and everyone talked about it the next day. This is not the kind of thing you would normally expect teenagers to discuss, but there is no getting away from the intelligence, originality and sheer power of these six plays.

The monologue format allows Alan Bennett's genius for capturing natural speech and realistic characters to shine. His own performance, as Graham in "A Chip in the Sugar" is a treat, as Graham obviously has no idea of his own snobbery. Patricia Routledge's upright and constantly indignant Miss Ruddock, in "A Lady of Letters", has no concept of her own isolation, and the effect gradual effect it has on her.

The subtlety and care in the script, and the gloriously tender and believable performances tug the heart-strings. Each of these six characters are so utterly real that they could be living next door: indeed, one of the recurring themes is that people do not know their neighbours anymore, and so much suffering could be alleviated if we were more community spirited.

Thora Hird is the one everyone remembers: Doris, in "A Cream Cracker Under The Settee", has suffered a fall, and gradually realises that no-one will come to her aid. Her reminiscences about happier days, when the neighbours greeted each other and there was no need to lock the door, will bring a lump to the most cynical of throats. The superb turn of phrase moves from laugh-out-loud to tear-in-the-eye and back again: the writer and his actors have us in the palm of their hands. Add to this, Stephanie Cole finding her husband's death having far reaching effects on her family, but still keeping a brave face and "Soldiering On" ("bloody psychiatrist!"); Julie Walters as a bit-part glamour girl, offered the break she's always wanted in "Her Big Chance"; and Maggie Smith, suffering in silence and finding extra-curricular activities to fill her time, as a vicar's wife whose congregation can't stand her.

One of the most influential, pivotal, groundbreaking TV series of all time, and not one to be missed. You'll be quoting the highlights for weeks afterwards. Well, fancy! There's a cream cracker under the settee! Can't remember the last time I had cream crackers! That Zulema...


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