In the late 1930s Nella Last,a housewife aged 49,living in Barrow-in-Furness on the North West English coast,agrees to send details of her routine to the Mass observation project,a ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Nella Last
Daddy (Will Last)
Cliff Last
Arthur Last
Sally Bankes ...
Mrs Whittaker
Mrs Waite
Marcia Warren ...
Mrs Lord
Mrs Lynch
Wendy Nottingham ...
Miss Finch
Jane Lowe ...
Mrs Higham
Mrs Mac
Sian Brooke ...
Evelyn Edwards (as Siân Brooke)
Laura Power ...
Madeleine Whittaker
Dr Roger Brierley


In the late 1930s Nella Last,a housewife aged 49,living in Barrow-in-Furness on the North West English coast,agrees to send details of her routine to the Mass observation project,a non-governmental scheme designed to chronicle the lives of ordinary people. When war comes Nella defies her over-protective husband to join the local Women's Voluntary Service. Initially diffident she blossoms thanks to the dominant but kindly Mrs. Waite,and enjoys her independence as a useful war worker. The film also shows her relationship with her two sons as well as the effect of the war on the community and ends by explaining that Nella kept in touch with the Mass Observation project until her death in 1968. Written by don @ minifie-1

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Drama | War





Release Date:

10 December 2006 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Háziasszony 49  »

Box Office


£1,600,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs



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Did You Know?


Was cited as a crucial moment in Victoria Wood's career, as prior to this one-off, Wood was predominantly associated with her comedy work. Housewife, 49 saw her take on a serious role, showcasing her skills as a versatile actress. See more »


In the film, it is said that two bombs were dropped on the shipyard in March 1940.

This is incorrect, there were no bombings of Barrow until later that year; the first bomb to fall on Barrow landed on 29th August 1940 in Walney Channel. See more »


[at the dinner table]
Mr. Whittaker: [jovially] What's the gen on your jolly old war wound, son?
Madeleine Whittaker: Dad's a fighter pilot - can you tell?
Mr. Whittaker: Where did the beggars get you, son? What was it? Hand-grenade?
Cliff Last: [mechanically] Left thigh. Right thigh. Right buttock. Bladder. Penis.
[embarrassed silence]
Mrs Whittaker: Could you reach me the beetroot, Edith, please.
See more »


Featured in The South Bank Show: Victoria Wood (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

Wonderful acting, funny and poignant
11 December 2006 | by (Ireland) – See all my reviews

This was a real treat last night on TV, and I hope they repeat it soon for all those who missed it. Victoria Wood proves again what a wonderful actress and writer she is. The great Stephanie Cole is formidable as the WVS boss, and David Threlfall is superbly restrained as Nella's emotionally repressed husband. Nella's wartime experiences mirror those of many ordinary housewives I am sure. An emotional roller-coaster! It was a joy to watch; sometimes we laughed out loud, especially at the jolly neighbours, and sometimes we had tears in our eyes. The costumes and props all looked very authentic; as Victoria herself remarked, it was hardly a glamorous role! I'm looking forward to a DVD....

12 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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