Kay Mellor’s Girlfriends has proved to be a huge hit for ITV to start off 2018 with.
The heartfelt drama about the struggles and responsibilities of 21st century women of a certain age, and how we can rely on our friends in times of tragedy, and to share times of celebration, is proving to be a firm favourite. And it features a fantastic cast of some of Britain’s favourite actors including Miranda Richardson, Phyllis Logan and Zoë Wanamaker.
But who is Kay Mellor, the writer of Girlfriends? And what has made her one of the most iconic writers in British television?
Mellor initially started out as a writer on Coronation Street. Since then she has been awarded a BAFTA for Outstanding Writing for Television, an OBE and won the Dennis Potter writing award, as well as created numerous successful TV dramas over the past 20 years! She has even been claimed as responsible for launching the careers of various stars, including Jude Law and James Corden (Source).
Mellor is masterful at creating touching storylines about bonds between women and crafting strong female characters for her shows. She is acclaimed for giving often-forgotten, contemporary, middle-aged women a voice through her works, and for creating gripping drama out of their fairly ordinary lives and situations. At the same time, delivering fascinating social commentary on the struggles modern women face on a daily basis.
Described by Polly Hill, Head of Drama for ITV "Kay celebrates women of a certain age and female friendship through this wonderful and compelling story."
So, if you are looking for another heart-warming story about friendship once Girlfriends ends, try one of Mellor’s other successful series. Here are some of the best.
Mellor’s first BAFTA-nominated series, which launched her career. A heart-breaking encounter with a young, teenage girl working as a prostitute in Bradford led to the inspiration behind this tale about the lives of a group of women working in the city’s Red Light district, and the circumstances that led each of the women into this way of life. Despite the dangers they face on the streets, the series excels in showing how these women band together in times of desperation.
You can find more information on Band of Gold HERE
Playing the Field (1998 – 2002)
The first BBC series penned by Mellor that was also nominated for several BAFTAs, which focused on the on field and off field dilemmas faced by the members of women’s football team, the Castlefield Blues. It also featured a fantastic all-star cast, including Elizabeth Spriggs, Lesley Sharp, and Ricky Tomlinson to name a few. As well as showing how the women in the team stick together despite the prejudices they face, it delivers an intelligent social commentary on the underfunded and under supported state of women’s sport.
Fat Friends (2000 – 2005)
One of Mellor’s most recognised and popular shows, which lasted for four series. Who would have thought a drama series about the weight-loss struggles of a group of women at a slimming club could have been so successful? But due to its likeable cast it became a huge success, featuring a breakout role for Ruth Jones, who would go on to star in the ever popular Gavin & Stacey, alongside Alison Steadman and James Corden. The series was so popular it even led to Fat Friends The Musical being created, featuring the same loveable characters of the show.
The Syndicate (2012-2015)
Written and directed by Mellor, this series dissected the experiences of a group of people whose lives turned upside down when they jointly win the lottery after entering a syndicate, with each series following a new group. The first series is set in a Leeds supermarket, the second in a Bradford hospital, and the third a stately home near Scarborough. A huge cast of fantastic actors features across the show’s three series run, including Timothy Spall, Siobhan Finneran, Alison Steadman, Lenny Henry, Mark Addy, Anthony Andrews, and Matthew Lewis.
You can find more information on The Syndicate HERE
In the Club (2014 -2016)
Mellor’s touching and humorous drama about a group of very different expectant mothers, where the women bond during their pre-natal classes, while also looking at the relationships these mothers-to-be have with their partners. Starring Katherine Parkinson, Hermione Norris and Jill Halfpenny amongst the cast.
You can find out more about In the Club HERE
Love, Lies & Records (2017)
Mellor’s latest drama before Girlfriends was an intelligent look at how women at work cope balancing their personal, professional and family lives. It follows registrar Kate Dickinson juggling the daily dramas in Leeds caused by births, marriages and deaths, and the impact they have on her. Although overjoyed with her promotion to Superintendent, she finds herself increasingly challenged and torn balancing her work with the endless responsibilities of being a working mum.
You can find more about Love, Lies & Records HERE
And if you enjoy these series and Girlfriends, you may also enjoy BBC's Real Women.