1 9 9 6 – 1 9 9 8 (UK)
16 x 30 minute episodes
This BBC comedy-drama followed a group of women working as telephone operators in a GPO telephone exchange in Derby in 1959 (first series) and 1961 (second series).
Letitia Dean, fresh from her 10-year stint as Sharon Watts in EastEnders, played Chris Cross, the sex-bomb who had a thing going with the Lawrence Harvey lookalike who served as the love interest.
A local accent coach was listed in the credits, but Letitia Dean must have done a lot of skiving off. Her version of the vernacular was to smush her lips around her face like Hylda Baker or Les Dawson doing one of his Northern old bags.
Curvaceous Chris Cross’s sidekick was the skinny Sylvia Sands (Amy Marston) – the alliterative names (there was also a Fanny Fanshawe) were a true indication of the comic-strip nature of the enterprise – a pinko, Ban-the-Bomb subversive.
The arrival of engineer Dave Curtis from Leamington (Mark Aiken) set pulses racing, though the discovery that his job was to automate the old manual switchboards precipitated a union-directed “go slow” protest.
It was tosh, but relaxing and undemanding tosh.