Written by and starring Victoria Wood, 'Housewife 49' was a lovely one-off drama that was perfect for a quiet, winter Sunday evening. Its broadcast also signifies that ITV may be moving in the right direction with its drama output; which has been truly awful this year, with embarrassments such as the ludicrous 'Bon Voyage'. However, the future looks promising as their winter schedules are packed with drama and improvement has been shown recently with 'Mysterious Creatures', the acclaimed final 'Prime Suspect' and this wartime tale.
The drama followed Nella Last (played by Victoria Wood in a nice change from her usual work in comedy) through the Second World War as she, against the wishes of her reserved husband, volunteers to aid the war effort with other housewives. Nella is initially ignored or looked down on by the other housewives, but, battling depression and low self-esteem, slowly gains their respect and admiration.
The performances are first-rate, from Wood's sympathetic portrait of a woman who is eager to please all, to David Threlfall (of 'Shameless' fame),who is magnificently restrained as Nella's husband, and when he finally shows some love to his wife it is irresistibly joyous. Excellent support comes from Stephanie Cole as an uptight housewife, and Ben Crompton and Christopher Harper as Nella's sons.
Overall, a very entertaining, tender and heart-warming piece of TV drama.
Action / Drama / War
Action / Drama / War
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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.
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