TV UK TV

Widows (ITV 1983, Ann Mitchell, Maureen O’Farrell)

widows

A trio of crime drama series comprising Widows, Widows 2 and She’s Out, this hard hitting drama had crook’s wife Dolly Rawlins learning that her husband’s last job (robbing a security van) has gone wrong and he has been apparently killed along with most of his gang. Dolly takes the step of recruiting the wives of her husband’s gang into taking on the job themselves, this they do, learning the ins and outs of the criminal world as they do. They pull off the crime but recriminations look like spoiling things.

Widows 2 (which followed 2 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 a surprise in store for Dolly concerning her husband.

The opener six parter is a truly classic slice of crime drama, tense, exciting and hard hitting, quite rightly marking Lynda La Plante (aka former actress Lynda Marshall) out as a major talent. A sequel was inevitable and maybe lacked a little bit of bite because we knew what to expect but was still highly watchable. Actress Eva Mottley who Bella in the first serial had sadly died and her role was taken by Debby Bishop for this second serial.

It was ten years before we saw more of Dolly Rawlins when she returned in the six parter She’s Out, this was a quite different kettle of fish with a mostly new cast. In 2002 there was an American version of the original serial which changed things considerably, especially the central robbery which was now a painting heist instead of an armed robbery.

production details
UK / ITV Network – Thames – Euston / 18×60 minute episodes / 1983/85 and 1995

Writer: Lynda La Plante / Producers: Linda Agran, Irving Teitelbaum

cast
ANN MITCHELL as Dolly Rawlins
MAUREEN O’FARRELL as Linda Pirelli
FIONA HENDLEY as Shirley Miller
EVA MOTTLEY as Bella O’Reilly(Widows)
DEBBY BISHOP as Bella O’Reilly(Widows)
KATE WILLIAMS as Audrey Withey
MAURICE O’CONNELL as Harry Rawlins
DAVID CALDER as Det Insp Resnick
PAUL JESSON as Det Sgt Fuller
PETER MACHIN as DC Andrews
DUDLEY SUTTON as Boxer Davis
THELMA WHITELEY as Kathleen Resnick
CATHERINE NEILSON as Trudie
JEFFREY CHISWICK as Arnie Fisher
CHRIS ELLISON as Tony Fisher
STEPHEN YARDLEY as Vic Morgan (Widows II)
ANDREW KAZAMIA as Micky Tesco (Widows II)

SHE’S OUT EXTRA CAST
LINDA MARLOWE as Ester Freeman
MAUREEN SWEENEY as Gloria Radford
ANNA PATRICK as Julia Lawson
ZOE HEYES as Connie Stephens
INDRA OVE as Angela Dunn
MAGGIE McCARTHY as Kathleen O’Reilly
ADRIAN RAWLINS as DS Mike Withy
HUGH QUARSHIE as DCI Ron Craigh
DOUGLAS McFERRAN as DS John Palmer