Strong drama series Real Women begins when a wedding brings a group of former schoolfriends, now in their late thirties, together once more and before you know it all have revealed they are going through some kind of crisis in their life. Susie is the one getting married to Jo but is actually none too sure that she wants to marry him at all, meanwhile Mandy (the fab Pauline Quirke) is overweight and under loved (especially by her husband and kids who take her for granted) but is involved in an affair with an estate agent, bank clerk Janet wants to have a child but feels time is running out, Anna is single and is writer who feels she has moved away from her old life and finally there is teacher Karen who is scared to reveal to the girls that she is a lesbian.
Initially made as a three part with the action moving from the hen night to the wedding itself, there was a four part sequel the following year with the girls all about to hit 40 and Susie about to have a baby.
The casting was good, all of the female leads were riding very high at the time the series was made, it was based on a pair of Susan Oudot novels, Real Women and All That I Am. Series one ran from 26 Feb – 12 March 1998 with episodes titled The Hen Night, The Hangover and The Hitch whilst the second series ran from 19 October – 9 November 1999, episodes this time were untitled. Incidentally director Philip Davis is better known as actor Phil Davis.
Cast: PAULINE QUIRKE as Mandy; MICHELLE COLLINS as Susie; LESLEY MANVILLE as Karen; GWYNETH STRONG as Janet; FRANCES BARBER as Anna; JANE GURNETT as Chris; GARY WEBSTER as Steve; RICHARD GRAHAM as Peter; PETER HUGO-DALY as Barry; TONI PALMER as Doreen; TONY SELBY as Bobby; MARK MORAGHAN as Jonathan Bell; DEBBIE ARNOLD as Lyndsay; CON O’NEILL as Jo; BRIAN PROTHEROE as Frank; PETER LINDFORD as Richard Scoles; AARON WHITE as Barrett; DAVE HILL as Derek Johnston; RAY STEVENSON as Michael; ADRIENNE POSTA as Babs
Writer: Susan Oudot / Music: Carl Davis / Titles: Diverse Design / Executive Producers: Michael Wearing, Jane Tranter / Producer: Debbie Shewell / Director: Philip Davis
UK / BBC One / 7×60 minute episodes / Broadcast 26 February 1998 – 9 November 1999