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15 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

A rare Gem

9/10
Author: dave Ogg (mid316@hotmail.com) from United Kingdom
11 November 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

For Irene (Maureen Lipman) and Vera (Anne Reid) a tipsy under-the-table conversation at a wedding sparks a correspondence of exploits and adventures of blissful holidays, delicious recipes and ungrateful children. As the pensioner pen-pals keep their spirits up with sherry and shared recipes, their attempts at long-distance oneupmanship are strained by fractious families, misfiring romance and personal misfortune. In reality they are both lonely and taken for granted by their families.

Its rare in these days of reality TV for something truly unique but this certainly qualifies. The ten part story's is told completely in letters between the two lead characters, in monologues read straight to camera occasionally interspersed with flashback clips showing the events being described. This sounds like it would be boring. but the quality performances from the veteran Actresses and the witty script ensured i was hooked from beginning to end.

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14 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

More please!

9/10
Author: kellypaul from Scotland
14 July 2009

I haven't heard the radio series but I love the TV series and hope we get another season.

The presentation is so unusual and Anne Reid and Maureen Lipman make a great team.

It feels more like a BBC series - ITV don't seem to be promoting it at all.

I wonder why Patrcia Routledgedidn't do the TV version. I didn't catch it first time around but am half way through the re-showing - The 2 characters are such a lovely contrast. Maureen automatically cleaning up her cell in prison! Congratulations to the writers. I hope there are enough viewers to merit more. Please!

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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Love this series!

10/10
Author: dino248-777-372147 from United States
10 July 2011

I absolutely love these ladies and their sharp wit. They are pen-pals in the beginning and appear so prim and proper, but they are full of "vinegar".

The series takes you through the trials and tribulations of growing older, flaky kids who are "grown" and changes we all go through that we may not want to make, but must. They take it all with a grain of salt and muddle their way through.

All the while, they do their best to keep some kind of normalcy at the forefront! Impossible task, but they try.

I watched a few episodes of this series on PBS and just couldn't get enough. Wish it would be released here in the US in DVD form.

If you liked "Absolutely Fabulous" you will love these ladies!

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1 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Terrible

1/10
Author: katie_d1000
23 October 2011

A really terrible show that doesn't engage, charm or entertain. It is so bewilderingly bad you wonder why they bothered.

It has characters you don't like (Irene especially) & don't want to spend time with. It's actually hard to tell that this is supposed to be a comedy. If a "comedy" show is going to have such unappealing characters they need to provide some comic relief, otherwise be a drama! Another reviewer has compared it to Absolutely Fabulous - that show I would argue marries comedy with characters that should be unlikeable, but aren't. Ladies of Letters fails at this.

Maureen Lipman is especially terrible.

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10 out of 33 people found the following review useful:

Why Deliberately Ruin A Classic?

2/10
Author: Eoghan Marshall from United Kingdom
18 February 2009

Now I'm a fan of the books, which began the whole Ladies of Letters experience, and an even larger fan of the radio 'plays' performed by Patricia Routledge and Prunella Scales which are classic examples of witty British humour.

So to see this on TV I went out of my way to tune in, with the knowledge that even matching the quality of the Radio shows would be a hard task, let alone any chance of surpassing.

To put it short, they've ruined it. I can't wholly blame the performers Maureen Lipman as Irene and Anne Reid as Vera, because so much of the damage has been done by rewriting the scripts- making the 2 ladies more vicious and nasty. This has been done by rewording large passages and making the show less subtle. Now while I'll let other decide if this is needed for the TV transition, personally within five minutes of watching I was asking myself 'Why are these two even writing to each other? They obviously hate each other?' whereas in the confines of Radio & Book, the 2 are friends who fall out. The TV versions are more likely to cross the street and hide if they see the other coming. It may be a small complaint, but it makes the whole set up of the show feel tired before its even begun.

As for Lipman & Reid, they do little to help. Reid is inoffensive as she simply appears to be mimicking Routledge's radio performances, where as Lipman butchers the role. She is so unpleasant as that character that you positively dislike her. Part of the Ladies of Letters charm is based on the fact that you like the 2 characters, but enjoy the miscommunication between the 2. Lipman makes that impossible here.

In short, don't bother. If you know the originals this won't add to them (in fact it runs the risk of damaging them), and if you don't then I suggest you just go to the original source material.

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