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Widows

1 9 8 3 (UK)
1 9 8 5 (UK)
12 x 60 minute episodes

As an actress, Lynda La Plante appeared on British television in several well-known crime series of the late 1970s and early 1980s, including The Sweeney and The Gentle Touch.

Usually typecast as either a prostitute or a gangsters’ moll, La Plante’s experience of television acting not only ensured that she was grounded in the narrative dynamics of the British crime series, but was also made only too aware of the subordinate role generally assigned to female characters in the genre.

Having written for her own pleasure since her childhood, La Plante began to write and submit her own scripts for various current Police Series, scripts which attempted to create roles for women which were much more intelligible, independent and less subordinate to men.

As fate would have it, one of her scripts, entitled The Women, ended up on the desk of producer Verity Lambert at Euston Films at a time when she and her colleague Linda Agran were consciously looking for television dramas which would feature women both at the centre of events and the action.

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The Women became the series Widows which was broadcast to great public acclaim in 1983 and which was to transform La Plante’s career from actress to television dramatist.

The undisputed star of Widows was Dolly Rawlins, who returned in 1994 in She’s Out.

Dolly, a crook’s wife, learns that her husband’s last job (robbing a security van) has gone wrong and he has been killed along with most of his gang (in a taut opening sequence of violent robbery filmed in London’s Aldwych underpass)

Dolly decides to recruit the wives of her husband’s gang into taking on the job themselves, learning the ins and outs of the criminal world as they do.

The women pull off the crime but Widows II (which followed two years later) saw the girls in a desperate struggle to hold onto their ill-gotten gains whilst the third serial She’s Out (after a gap of ten years) had Dolly Rawlins coming out of prison determined to get revenge on the people who put her there.

Without giving too much away there was also a surprise in store for Dolly concerning her husband.

An American miniseries version of Widows was produced in 2002 featuring Brooke Shields, Rosie Perez, Mercedes Ruehl and N-Bushe Wright.

Dolly Rawlins 
Ann Mitchell
Linda Pirelli 

Maureen O’Farrell
Shirley Miller 

Fiona Hendley
Bella O’Reilly 

Eva Mottley (1)
Debby Bishop (2)
Audrey Withey 

Kate Williams
Harry Rawlins 

Maurice O’Connell
DI Resnick 

David Calder
DS Alec Fuller 

Paul Jesson
DC Andrews 

Peter Machon
Eddie Rawlins 

Stanley Meadows
Kath Resnick 

Thelma Whiteley
Trudie 

Catherine Neilson

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