The eighth title in our ‘Forgotten TV Drama’ range has been announced. For Maddie With Love (ATV 1980) is released by Network on April 15.
Hard-hitting and unsentimental, For Maddie With Love is the story of a woman who knows she is dying and, in doing so, rediscovers the love she has for her husband and family.
Showcasing memorable performances from Nyree Dawn Porter and Ian Hendry and an affecting, stylishly minimalist design ethic, this daytime afternoon drama – which ran twice-weekly through much of 1980 – became compulsive viewing due to its powerful take on terminal illness, self-determined euthanasia and the aftermath of a death in the family.
This set contains all 48 episodes from both series of this classic drama.
Limited edition booklet by archive television historian Billy Smart
For Maddie With Love was a unique programme in the history of British television drama, dramatizing an unsettling theme with sensitivity and emotional honesty while turning limited resources into a means to tell its story in a highly original style. In particular, For Maddie With Love acts as a testament to the unique possibilities of ITV daytime drama of the time, telling emotional stories to a largely female audience through television studio scenes. As well as being a showcase for two memorably intelligent and affecting performances from star television actors, much of the programme’s success can be attributed to Douglas Watkinson’s distinctive authorial voice, and ATV’s bold decision to entrust a long serial to one lead writer.
Douglas Watkinson recalls today that “humour became the bedrock” in the process of writing and devising For Maddie With Love, in order to make an engaging and surprising story:
I was aware that such a potentially heavy subject could drag an audience down so I made a decision to turn it on its head and put as much humour into it as possible and the cast responded beautifully. Indeed, an eminent philosopher of the day (he will remain nameless) told me that he switched on most days to hear the witty, off beat dialogue.
It was a real treat for me to be given such a free hand. I was also lucky to have Nyree and Ian. She had a timeless beauty and a fierce intelligence. Ian was the kind of actor who made you believe every word I put into his mouth.
For Maddie With Love is available for pre-order from Network at the value for money price of £20 for all 48 episodes.
Network have put the first two episodes on YouTube in advance of the release –