Sarah Lancashire, Sarah Parish, Alan Davies and Lenny Henry are among the stars of five new comedy drama singles coming to Friday nights on BBC ONE.
by David Nicholls | Fri 8th September 2006, 9pm, BBC ONE
Jim (Peter Capaldi) and Sue (Sarah Parish) married young, and 20 years later find themselves on holiday in Spain - with very little to say to each other.
But the glamorous young couple next door soon bring a new perspective to Jim and Sue's relationship.
"Sue spends more than half of the piece sunburnt," reveals actress Sarah Parish, "So my make-up call was simply having red make-up put down one side with no other make-up at all. Although it did take quite a while to get it in exactly the same position every day!"
"Sue has the weight of a 20-year marriage and two adult children and so I thought that would be quite interesting - to play a character at quite a difficult stage in her life.
"She's very strong and has a wonderful way with language – quite damning in some ways and fairly waspish – but the challenge for me was to play a role with age and a weightiness of history behind her.
The Good Housekeeping Guide
by Tony Basgallop | Coming Soon, BBC ONE
Things are going badly for Raymond Fox (Alan Davies). His high-powered wife, Jenny (Michelle Gomex), has left him for a younger man. Looking after his teenage kids and his gorgeous suburban family home is his only consolation.
But now Jenny has found happiness with Joe (Daniel Lapaine) she's keen for the kids to live with her and plans to buy their home and put Raymond out on the street.
"He's a desperate man," reveals actor Alan Davies, "The house that Raymond built is on the market. He's going to lose everything - his wife, his house and his kids - and a new man is going to take his place.
"As you watch it, you think, 'Jenny just wants a younger version!' Raymond does the odd job for people, but he has no real prospects of earning any money. He's at a moment in his life where everything crashes and burns around him. I'm afraid that happens to people with depressing regularity."
by Keith Temple | Friday, September 15, 9pm, BBC ONE
Sarah Lancashire stars as Elaine, a put-upon housewife, and gifted cake-maker, living on a grimy estate.
One day, a batch of buns emerge from Elaine's oven bearing a remarkable resemblance to the image of the Virgin Mary, and all around her miraculous things start to happen.
Her arthritic mother, Millie, is suddenly doing cartwheels; her womanising son, Todd, falls head over heels in love; his spotty best friend wakes up clear-skinned; and Elaine's overweight best friend, Jax, decides it's time to go on a diet...
"I'd like to think little miracles do happen in Angel Cake," admits actress Sarah Lancashire, "I think it's a lovely notion which I hope the audience will buy into; a little sprinkle of happiness, if you like, on the situation.
"Ultimately it's down to the individual to decide, just as it is in the piece itself.
"Jax, Millie, Stuart, they all buy into this idea about the cake but Elaine is never really that sure about it; the jury's still out for her and she reserves judgement."
by Dave Spikey | Friday, September 22, 9pm BBC ONE
Ex-con Paul (Ralph Ineson) is desperately trying to keep his business, A to Z Decorators, afloat.
His workmates are fellow ex-prisoners - the volatile Terry (Chris Coghill) and bookish ex-drug addict Dino (Chris Bisson) - and their clients aren't exactly big time.
As the cheques start bouncing and the debts pile up, Paul's wife Sheila (Dawn Steele) wants him to give up and take a paid job with previous employers, the notorious King brothers. Is Paul prepared to abandon his colleagues?
"He's very much about looking after his mates," says actor Ralph Ineson of his character Paul, "Prison is hanging over him. He shouldn't have been inside and while he was there he was looked after by Terry and Dino. He feels he wouldn't have survived it without them so he feels a debt of gratitude.
"Terry has problems with violence and Dino has problems with drugs so they're your more usual clients of Her Majesty, while Paul's the sensible one.
"He's a painter and decorator by trade so when he gets out he sets up this firm and employs Dino and Terry, with varying degrees of success.
"But however bad it's got, however frustrated he is with them, there's just this core thing that he's got to make amends for what he's done and for the way they helped him get through it.
by Kim Fuller with Lenny Henry | Friday, September 29, BBC ONE
Berry Cottrell, in his forties and recently divorced, wants more out of his life. With a tearaway son, a demanding father in a nursing home and the family's ailing dry-cleaning business to run, his hands are full but his heart's not in it.
Berry begins to feel that life has passed him by until he decides to embark upon an Open University course in English Literature.
A nervous Berry arrives at college where he meets a motley study group run by hyperactive lecturer Charles. But it is Kate who makes the biggest impression on Berry - and not only because she runs him over in her car.