1 9 7 3 (UK)
4 x 50 minute episodes
This BBC2 series, written by Hugh Whitemore, featured four plays about four sisters – Julia, Lottie, Anna and Helen – all daughters of a Hampshire grammar school headmaster (Anthony Nicholls) and his wife (Marion Mathie). All of the sisters were played by Penelope Wilton in her first major TV role.
Each play dealt with one of the four girls and was self-contained. But taken together, the four stories presented a contemporary view of the English middle class.
The youngest daughter, 19-year-old Julia, was about to be married to Edward (John Quayle), an eminently desirable young man. She worked in a bookshop on Charing Cross Road in London, where she met Henry Heap (Richard O’Callaghan), a young writer of little attraction and less talent. But she fell in love with him.
Lottie, 23, was married to Harry Merchant (John Castle), a cartoonist. The couple were devoted to each other, but he found preparations for the birth of their first baby sometimes excessive. Lottie was the favourite of Aunt Nettie (Aimée Delamain) who was desperate to visit Lottie and see her flat in Hampstead. But Aunt Nettie’s doctor forbade her to travel before the spring. She ignored his warning.
Anna was 27, fiercely independent and a remarkably successful executive in property development. She was also unmarried and avoided the family as much as she possibly could. Her troubles started when she met married scientist Stephen Webb (Ronald Hines).
30-year-old Helen had married into the stockbroker belt and was a dutiful wife with two children.
Julia Pearcross/Lottie Merchant/Anna Pearcross/Helen Charlesworth
Great Aunt Nettie
Sweet Julia | Large Lottie | Anna All Alone | Sad Helen