ITV commissions new comedy drama, Brief Encounters

Ann Summers inspired story for ITV

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ITV has commissioned new six-part, 80s set comedy-drama, Brief Encounters.

Set in the early ‘80s, the story follows four women: Steph, Pauline, Nita and Dawn, who in a bid of glamour, gutsy humour and a desire to improve their lot in life, become unlikely entrepreneurs who begin to sell exotic lingerie – to the dismay (and often delight) of their loved ones.

Steph is an invisible girl until Ann Summers comes into her life.  It ignites the ambition she didn’t know she had and grows her confidence.  Married to Terry and with a young son, Steph strives to make something extra of her life.  Her chance meeting with Nita in the school playground kick starts a sequence of events that will change both of their lives.  Mother of four, Nita is a mix of grit and warmth, struggling to run a household with a husband whom she adores but who frequently strays to the wrong side of the law, despite his devotion to his family.

Pauline is the oldest of the gang, in her 50s, who jumps in at the deep end and agrees to host a party for Steph to salve her loneliness. Pauline‘s sunny disposition hides a secret sadness. She and her husband, Alan deeply love each other but their relationship has suffered whilst he’s concentrated on building his business. It’s through Ann Summers that Pauline steps out from the shadows.

Young Dawn has a lust for life, and 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 bug of earning serious cash with the other women gives her the incentive to finally realise her dreams with fiancé, Russell.

Brief Encounters is produced by BAFTA award winning CPL Productions; created and written by Fay Rusling and Oriane Messina (Green Wing, Me & Mrs Jones), and is inspired by chapters from Jacqueline Gold’s memoir ‘Good Vibrations’, which tells the story of the early days of the Ann Summers party plan business.

ITV by Director of Drama Steve November, said: “Brief Encounters is a refreshingly different domestic drama taking us back to the wonderful world of the 1980s. 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: “Brief Encounters is gutsy, emotional, warm and surprising.  Like the real Ann Summers saleswomen, through their camaraderie our women discover hidden strengths and an ability to come out fighting no matter what life throws at you. As wives, mothers and businesswomen they unleash talent and ambition – and they blossom. Fay and Oriane have crafted fascinating characters who are both dramatic and funny and we’re sure will appeal to an ITV audience.”

Brief Encounters will commence filming in February 2016. Casting will be announced in due course.