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Last Updated: Friday, 23 June 2006, 11:28 GMT 12:28 UK
Wartime diary to hit small screen
Nella Last and her son Cliff
Nella Last began her diary in 1939
The diary of a Cumbrian housewife written during World War II is to be made into a major ITV television drama.

Comedienne Victoria Wood, 53, is to write and star in Housewife, 49 - based on the diary of Nella Last.

It follows Nella, of Barrow-in-Furness, as she struggles to come to terms with her difficult marriage and her sons growing up and no longer needing her.

Wood, who wrote Dinnerladies and Acorn Antiques, said Nella's writing was a "fantastic story."

It will be Wood's first television drama for ITV in 25 years - the last was Nearly A Happy Ending in 1981.

She said: "This is not the war of the newsreels - it's about tiny domestic difficulties, chilly church halls, lumpy custard.

"And Nella is fighting her own war, one that she hopes will end in liberation. I was given Nella's diary many years ago, and had always thought it was a fantastic story - with a load of great parts for middle-aged women."

The drama, which begins in the first weeks of the war, will also feature Shameless star David Threlfall.

Victoria Wood
Comedienne Victoria Wood will write and star in Housewife, 49

Nella was a housewife, married to a shop-fitter and joiner. She began her diary in September 1939 as a volunteer for the Mass Observation Archive.

This was set up to record the views of ordinary British people and recruited volunteers to observe British life, and diarists to record day-to-day account of their lives.

Nella's eldest son, Arthur, was a tax inspector and exempt from conscription and her youngest son, Cliff, was in the Army.

On Thursday 8 August 1940 she wrote: "If I could choose, I'd like to be a man when I 'come again'. Men do seem to get the best out of life. All the responsibility and effort, all the colour and romance."

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