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Penelope Wilton, Sophie Rundle, Angela Griffin and Sharon Rooney to star in Brief Encounters

Published: Mon 18 Jan 2016

Penelope Wilton, Sophie Rundle, Angela Griffin and Sharon Rooney to star in Brief Encounters
 
Penelope Wilton, Sophie Rundle, Angela Griffin and Sharon Rooney are to star as four women striving to find happiness and fulfilment in new ITV drama Brief Encounters.
 
The new frank, fresh and funny six-part drama from CPL Productions set in the early ‘80s also stars Peter Wight, Don Gilet, Karl Davies and Ben Bailey Smith.
 
Sophie Rundle (Peaky Blinders, Dickensian, Happy Valley, Episodes) will play Steph who feels invisible until Ann Summers party planning comes into her life.  It ignites the ambition she didn’t know she had and grows her confidence.  Married to Terry, played by Karl Davies (Emmerdale, Happy Valley) and with a young son, Steph strives to make something extra of her life via new friendships and the excitement of this new career.
 
Penelope Wilton (Downton Abbey, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) plays Pauline.  Pauline jumps in at the deep end when Steph, her cleaner, introduces her to the parties as a way to salve her loneliness. Pauline‘s sunny disposition hides a secret sadness. She and her husband, local butcher Brian, played by Peter Wight (Our Zoo, The Paradise) deeply love each other but their relationship has suffered whilst he’s concentrated on building his business.  Through her relationship with the Ann Summers girls, Pauline steps out from the shadows.
 
Angela Griffin (Lewis, Mount Pleasant, Waterloo Road) plays Nita.  Nita and Steph have a chance meeting in the school playground that kick starts a sequence of events that will change both their lives.   Nita is a mix of grit and warmth, struggling to run a household with a husband, played by Don Gilet (EastEnders, Holby City, 55 Degrees North) whom she adores but who frequently strays onto the wrong side of the law, despite his devotion to his family.
 
Sharon Rooney (My Mad Fat Diary, Hector) stars as young hairdresser, Dawn who has a lust for life.  Although bubbly and outgoing, since her mother died she has been trapped, looking after her father and three brothers who all take her for granted. The buzz of earning serious cash with the other women gives her the incentive to finally realise her dreams with fiancé, Russell, the butcher’s apprentice played by Will Merrick (Skins).
 
Produced by BAFTA award winning indie CPL Productions, Brief Encounters is created and written by Fay Rusling and Oriane Messina (Green Wing, Me & Mrs Jones), and executive produced by CPL’s Arabella McGuigan and Danielle Lux alongside the writer-creators.
 
The producer is Jo Willett (Making of a Lady, Birds of a Feather) and the directors are Jill Robertson (Grantchester, Last Tango in Halifax), Marek Losey (Vera, Beowulf) and Joss Agnew (Mr Selfridge, Jekyll & Hyde)
 
Brief Encounters has been commissioned for ITV by Director of Drama Steve November and Head of Drama Series Jane Hudson.
 
“Brief Encounters is a refreshingly different domestic drama taking us back to the wonderful world of the 1980s,” said Steve.  “We’re really excited by this commission - it's full of heart, story and great new characters and we're very much looking forward to working with Danielle Lux, Arabella McGuigan and their production team at CPL.”
 
Executive Producer Arabella McGuigan commented: “We’re delighted to have on board such a wonderful, inspiring cast to bring Brief Encounters boldly to life. Our four central female characters, their associated menfolk, mothers and friends are strong, relatable, surprising and funny and they’ll leap off the page in the hands of our stars. We can’t wait to see the first results.” 
 
CPL’s managing director Danielle Lux said: “We are absolutely thrilled to be producing our first drama for ITV.  CPL takes great pride in producing television with heart and soul and Brief Encounters has that in spades.”
 
To a soundtrack of music from the era, Brief Encounters will commence filming at the end of January 2016 in Sheffield.