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Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

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Personal Affairs, new drama for BBC Three: introduction

Personal Affairs. Left-right: Lucy (Laura Aikman), Nicole (Maimie McCoy), Sid (Ruth Negga) and Midge (Annabel Scholey) (image: BBC/2AM TV)

"We were PAs in the same office – that's how we met... it was simple and fun and boring but that's real life isn't it? And then something terrible happened... things can never be the same again."

Set against an emotional backdrop of friendship, ambition, sex and filing, Personal Affairs, starting on Tuesday 16 June 2009 at 9.00pm, is a fun new offbeat five-part drama for BBC Three following the fortunes of four fabulous personal assistants in the City.

Bringing together many of the elements which make up everyday office life, Personal Affairs takes a sexy peek at office life through the characters of Lucy, Midge, Sid, Nicole plus Grace – the seemingly perfect, but utterly mysterious, girl at the centre of it all.

On the surface, the show explores the secrets and lies the women hold, the men they date and work for, and the balance of power between them and their highly paid, hugely-privileged bosses.

But an extraordinary event in the opening episode is just the starting point for a mystery that reverberates across the series and promises to have viewers questioning what happened, who is responsible and what the dark secrets are that lurk beneath the bright lights of the City.

Personal Affairs creator Gabbie Asher, a former PA turned scriptwriter, says: "For me, Personal Affairs truly captures the unique experience of working in an office with a group of girls – the fun, the friendship, the bickering, the hopes and dreams, the tears and the personal dilemmas that arise every day.

"Friendship is at the heart of this drama as the girls help one another navigate through a myriad of life choices, with varying success!

"There is nothing more glorious than being in the company of friends who you know will support you and tell you the truth, whether you want to hear it or not.

"For me, the Personal Affairs workplace in this drama is the dream office. You'll want to work alongside Midge, Lucy, Nicole, Sid and Grace, share stories with them and be friends with them because these girls genuinely care about one another, even though their personalities are poles apart."

As a former PA herself, Gabbie had a wealth of experience to draw upon and, like the girls, had to deal with her fair share of unusual work duties.

"I once had to buy sexy knickers for a boss," recalls Gabbie. "She would talk endlessly about her sex life in graphic detail but was too busy to buy underwear for her dates."

Determined to move office drama away from the traditional "Take dictation Miss Jones"-style, Gabbie has created a sexy, soap-like series: "When I've watched secretaries portrayed on TV before, I've always felt that the writers had probably never worked in an office themselves.

"Life as a PA can be fascinating – full of challenges, intrigue, ambition, gossip and laughing till your insides ache – as well as mind-numbingly dull some days!"

Gabbie, who worked on EastEnders storylines including Tiffany's demise, the Steve Owen/Saskia ashtray murder and Bianca's sensational departure, believes that Personal Affairs has an almost soapy appeal:

"What I love about the series is its combination of intriguing characters and powerful, emotional stories. Personal Affairs is big on passion, romance, fun and friendship – a potent mix for a drama!"

Personal Affairs is an exciting multiplatform offering for BBC Three with the office fun continuing online on the Personal Affairs website. As well as all the series information on the characters to be found at Hartmann Payne, there's a chance to share a secret or two by posting your confessions online.

The five female leads are played by some of the hottest young talent from the UK and Ireland – Laura Aikman, Annabel Scholey, Ruth Negga, Maimie McCoy and Olivia Grant. Also starring Mark Benton, Robert Gant, Archie Panjabi, Darren Boyd, Joe Absolom, Emily Bruni and Jamie Davis, among others.

Created by Gabbie Asher, Personal Affairs is a 2AM TV production for BBC Scotland.


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