Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Ladies of Letters, ITV3

Ladies of Letters, a new 10-part comedy series starting tonight on ITV3, isn't exactly cutting edge, but it's got a dry wit behind it and is worth at least a quick look because of its interesting narrative strategy.

Adapted from a series of books and a Radio 4 series by Carole Hayman and Lou Wakefield, it stars Anne Reid and Maureen Lipman as a couple of middle-aged ladies who meet at a wedding and begin a correspondence (initially through a case of mistaken identity).

Each alone in their own home, the ladies narrate their letters as either a voice-over or directly to the camera, allowing for ironic discrepancies between what they're 'writing' and what's actually going on.

While the whole thing might initially appear a bit cosy and Victoria Wood-lite, the letters are expertly crafted bombs of competition and passive aggression, although there's also a darker theme of middle-aged solitude lurking behind it all.

Ten episodes might prove a bit much, but as a screenwriter it's probably worth at least half an hour of your life to provoke a few thoughts on how you can play images and voice-over against each other.

Brief interview with the writers
Official LoL website

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