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Some of the characters of Dinnerladies.

Dinnerladies is the name of a popular British comedy series written, co-produced and starring Victoria Wood. The series ran for two seasons on BBC One for 16 episodes and from 1998 to 2000.


The only set used within Dinnerladies was that of a canteen. The canteen was that of a fictional company named HDW Components, in Manchester. The main characters of the series worked in this canteen. Most of the personal and social lives of the characters were regularly discussed between the characters whilst working.

Whilst being lively and upbeat, many serious themes were including into the comedy as well, such as relationships, divorce and seperation, as well as death. Most of the characters has a broken relationship with somebody, a very good example being Brenda and her mother.

Behind the ScenesEdit

The comedy series contained only one set (not including one-off sets, such as the quiz show set and the hospital set, which were shown through the medium of another, in universe television). The series was always filmed in front of a live studio audience at BBC Television Centre on both Fridays and Saturdays. Other places and characters were only spoken about through the characters and were never seen.

Jokes were centred around real-life scenarios and were normally quick-witted. The only time a pause was allowed in a scene was when the audience were laughing and it was rare to need to repeat the same scene as the cast members were usually spot on.

Main CastEdit

  • Brenda Furlong (Victoria Wood) - Bren was the deputy manager of the canteen had had an unhappy childhood and a bad relationship with her mother, who she still saw on a regular basis. Although good with listening and solving problems of her colleagues, she rarely had the time to unload her own problems. There were many moments where it was hinted that she had feelings for Tony and it was only when into the second series that these feelings were acted upon.
  • Tony Martin (Andrew Dunn) - Tony was the canteen manager and had a few problems during his time at the firm. The start of series one saw him coming out of a recent divorce and throughout the first series, he had been battling with cancer for a long time. This made him want more out of life and once into the second series, he reciprocated his feelings for Bren and at the end of the second series, they decided to move to Scotland.
  • Dolly Bellfield (Thelma Barlow) - One could say that Dolly was the "bitchiest" workers at the canteen as she always spoke about others in a condescending tone. She was the one to know all of the gossip and is contantly seen talking about things that she has read or overheard. Dolly is also obsessed with her weight, even though, if anything, she is underweight. Also, it can be said that Dolly can easily snap if someone annoys her or uses an incorrect tone of speech.
  • Jean (Anne Reid) - Jean is Dolly's best friend, although they are constantly seen to bicker and take the mickey out of one-another. She was at one point married to her cheating husband Keith and has a daughter called Liza. At the start of the second series, Keith dumped her for another woman. After re-discovering her self-confidence, she had a fling with Barry, the security guard, before settling for Stan. One of her in-jokes is her need of reading glasses, even though she never brings them with her.
  • Twinkle (Maxine Peake) - Twinkle is the youngest of the team and she is always coming in late and in her overall. Although she gets along happily with her co-workers, she can be grumpy, sarcastic and forever cheeky. Outside of her job, she is known to enjoy getting drunk and falling into skips and she wows Tony with her secret knowledge of football.
  • Anita (Shobna Gulati) - Anita isn't the cleverest of the co-workers and often finds herself misunderstanding the others. She is very sweet and also very loyal. After giving birth to a "Millenium Baby", she leaves it for Bren to find with a not requesting that Bren takes care of it. After realising her mistake, she returns immediately and takes back her baby.
  • Stan Meadowcroft (Duncan Preston) - Stan is the handyman and is very precise with every detail. He can recall all of the parts of every machine in the kitchen, which sometimes can be unbearable for his co-workers, but he all the same a very nice person. After remarking on how lovely Jean is towards the end of the second series, he decides to propose to her in the finale.

For more characters, please see List of Characters.


Between 1998 and 2000, there were two series of Dinnerladies and 16 episodes in total. The first series ran from 12th November to 17th December 1998 and the second series ran from 25th November 1999 to 27th January 2000. Both series appeared on BBC One and are regularly repeated on G.O.L.D.

For detailed descriptions of the episodes, please see List of Episodes.

The Stage ShowEdit

April 2009 saw the stage show version of Dinnerladies, premiering in London. The show was based largely on the second series of the television seires and saw Shobna Gulati and Andrew Dunn both reprising their roles, however in the second run of the tour, Shobna Gulati had commitments with Coronation Street and was replaced.

Outside LinksEdit