A Lady Of Letters is the first of 12 episodes based on the original Alan Bennett scripts, but with new actors.
It begins with Irene Ruddock (Imelda Staunton) complaining about a crematorium before talking about the woman whose service she attended, and declaring how their lives weren’t too different after all, their only other thing in common being that they occasionally got on the same bus together.
You get the feeling she complains a lot, given the title. These days, you’d send emails or use a ridiculously over-complex ‘webform’ like that for BBC Complaints, which takes an age to fill in, and then they ignore the complaint, and just reply and say you’re wrong and they’re right. If you want ot take it further, you have to go through the same bloody webform again.
Along the way, she can’t understand why a temple for other religions is more important than a smoking area, she moans that a new family have moved in across the road, the mother is too young, the father has a tattoo, and that the daughter is filthy, and has bruises.
Other moans include how there’s dog poo on the streets everywhere, how prisons are more like a holiday camp, there’s a hair in her sausage, and at one point she refers to two cops as “a policeman and a woman policeman” 🙂
She also had a reminder card from the opticians. So did I, in March, but I can’t go, and I really do, literally, need a trip to Specsavers!
However, even before it got to the meat of it, I felt darker forces are at play with the things she discussses, but all will be revealed in the fullness of time.
Miss Saunton is striking in this as revelations are revealed, and this is a great start to the series.
A Lady Of Letters: Talking Heads is on BBC1 on Tuesday June 23rd at 9pm, but is not yet available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD.
However, you can also the Original Talking Heads series on DVD.
From Tuesday June 23rd, the entire series will be on the BBC iPlayer.
Director: Jonathan Kent
Writer: Alan Bennett
Irene Ruddock: Imelda Staunton
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.