Housewife, 49

JUST back from Spam sandwiches, fruitcake and a nice cup of tea.
The Imperial War Museum in south London was the venue for the launch of Victoria Wood’s new TV drama.
Housewife, 49, is a wartime film based on the real diary of a Lancashire housewife called Nella Last.
To be screened on ITV1 next month, it follows Nella’s life through the Second World War alongside her difficult husband, played by Shameless star David Threlfall.
“This is not the war of the newsreels – it’s about tiny domestic difficulties, chilly church halls, lumpy custard,” explained Bury-raised Victoria.

“And Nella is fighting her own war, one that she hopes will end in liberation.”
Victoria, 53, sat alongside Manchester actress Lorraine Asbourne, who plays Dot, and Lorraine’s husband Andy Serkis – recently seen as Ian Brady in Longford – at this afternoon’s screening.
She later spoke about the drama, which is more serious than her usual work – but with many flashes of humour.
Nella found an outlet for her feelings by writing a daily account of her life for Mass Observation, a government linked project aimed at examining the lives of ordinary people.
It’s a touching story about a woman who finds a role in life during the war but also has to face the fact that she is no longer needed as a mother.
Housewife, 49, which is Victoria’s first ITV drama for 25 years and only her second straight role, also left its mark on the Prestwich-born writer and performer.
“The stockings were dreadful – I still have a knee injury because of those stockings.
“I think they must have been designed for a shorter person because they were on a very tight tension with the suspenders and I had to wear them Nora Batty style when I thought no-one could see – or it was a rare case of knee-capping by stockings!”
Victoria is currently directing rehearsals for a touring production of Acorn Antiques The Musical, which calls first at The Lowry in Salford from December 11 to January 6.
She has also just finished a three-part documentary series for BBC TV on the British Empire – visiting places across the world called…Victoria.
You can read more about Victoria and Housewife, 49 in the MEN later this month.
*Asked to give her views on the current debate about “poppy fascism”, Victoria replied: “I think people should choose. I don’t think people should have to wear them. I really don’t agree with that. If I had one, I would wear a white one. I haven’t found anywhere to buy a white one at the moment, but that’s the one I wear when I wear one. I don’t wear red ones.”
Nella Last’s War
The Imperial War Museum, London
Acorn Antiques The Musical



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12 responses to “Housewife, 49

  1. I have just watched a terrific drama presentation, Housewife, 49, and felt moved enough to send a fan letter or some other form of congratulation to Victoria Wood, but all the googling in the world doesn’t seem to come up with any way to do this – I would grateful for any ideas on how to let Victoria Wood know that I would like to congratulate her and let her know how she has moved on to creating a really first rate drama.

  2. Ian Wylie

    Diane – the best address is probably:
    c/o Neil Reading PR
    12 New Burlington Street
    W1S 3BF

  3. victoria

    I watched it on sunday night and i loved it. I enjoy most 1st and 2nd ww programme, and victoria just gave it that bit extra. Were husbands really like that? So cut off from the rest of the family? Hope to see more of victoria’s productions.

  4. Naomi W

    Does anyone know if Housewife 49 will be repeated in near future? On another channel perhaps? Missed it and forgot to tape and really wanted to see it. Thanks.

  5. Ian Wylie

    Naomi – there is no repeat scheduled at the moment. Best bet is possibly ITV4 sometime next year.

  6. Paul Sheehan

    On March 13, “Housewife 49” was named best single drama by the Royal Television Society, edging out “Longford” and “Road to Guantanamo” for this prestigious honour.

  7. Ian Johnson

    I recorded the TV series on to DVD if you want copy do contact.

  8. Ryan Jarvis

    I am 15 years old, and i was in bed one night then this film came on (housewife 49) i have never enjoyed a film as much i was even crying at some parts well done victoria wood

  9. Sandy Wells

    Hi, Housewife 49 was shown last night (Sunday 26 August 2007) in South Africa and I really enjoyed it. I am 57 and was not around during the war years but Victoria epitomised everything I understood about that time from what my mother told me while I was growing up. Another excellent role for Stephanie Cole as well. Thank you to all the cast as I felt the acting was first class all round.

  10. Edward Bullough

    housewife 49 brought back my childhood memories, I lived in an anderson shelter in Sidcup Kent. We kept chickens in the garden, my mother helped out at the WVI, my father was a plumber repairing bombed out houses.
    I felt I was back in the war.
    Well done Victoria a masterpiece

  11. Elise

    We’ve just seen Housewife 49 for the first time down here in NZ.
    Absolutely brilliant with superb casting. Our congrats go to Victoria Wood, and also to Stephanie Cole for her stellar performance.
    This drama was in the tradition of all great British drama and impossible to fault.
    So glad to have seen it.

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