‘Downton Abbey’ star to lead cast of ITV’s new ‘older women’ drama ‘Girlfriends’

ITV has announced an all-star cast for its new drama about “being a modern woman of a certain age.”

Girlfriends is written by Kay Mellor, the creator of In the Club and The Syndicate.

Phyllis Logan (Downton Abbey), Miranda Richardson (Mapp & Lucia) and Zoë Wanamaker (Mr Selfridge) will lead the cast.

They’ll be joined by Anthony Head (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Matthew Lewis (Harry Potter), Daisy Head (The Syndicate), Chris Fountain (Coronation Street) and Val Lilley (Shameless).

The six-part series is described as “a contemporary story of Linda, Sue and Gail as they struggle with the responsibilities and inevitable changes that come with being a modern woman of a certain age… But true friendship remains the same no matter how many years have passed.”

Zoë Wanamaker commented: “I’m looking forward to working on this exciting new series with such a stellar cast. I have long been a fan of Kay’s work and am relishing the opportunity to work alongside Miranda and Phyllis.”

Writer Kay Mellor said: “Girlfriends is my passion project, it’s a story that I’ve been longing to tell. I’m aware that there are a lot of women of a certain age who feel like they are invisible and unheard, so I’m proud to have the chance to shine a light on their lives and give them a voice.

“The series is not just a platform for their voices though – there is a big, bold, dark story at its heart, which is shot through with humour. I’m hoping both men and women will love it as much as I’ve loved writing it.”

Phyllis Logan, who played Mrs Hughes in all six seasons of Downton Abbey, added: “I’m thrilled to be part of Girlfriends, written by the wonderful Kay Mellor and to be working not only with her but the stellar cast that has been assembled. It’s a hugely exciting project and I feel enormously fortunate to be involved in it. I can’t wait to get started.”

The official synopsis reads: “After the dramatic and sudden death of Linda’s husband Micky, childhood friends Linda (Phyllis Logan), Sue (Miranda Richardson) and Gail (Zoë Wanamaker) find themselves back together again.

“Each has their own problems to face; from a looming divorce from the husband she still loves and the loss of a high-powered job through age discrimination, to juggling the endless responsibilities of their grandchildren and aging mothers.

“As widowed Linda tries to come to terms with being on her own after over 30 years of marriage, she and her girlfriends are horrified to find that this could be the least of her worries. As questions over the circumstances of Micky’s death start to be asked, accusations reveal secrets, deception and doubts that tear at our girlfriends’ friendship. Will it endure or will it be severely put to the test?”

Girlfriends is filming now and is expected to air on ITV in the UK later this year.