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Last Updated: Sunday, 10 December 2006, 12:39 GMT
Housewife's war diary makes debut
Nella Last and her son Cliff
Nella Last began her diary in 1939
The diary of a housewife written during World War Two makes its small screen debut on Sunday.

Comedienne Victoria Wood, 53, has written Housewife, 49 - based on the diary of Nella Last of Barrow.

It follows Nella as she struggles to come to terms with her difficult marriage and her sons growing up.

Wood, who wrote Dinnerladies and Acorn Antiques, said Nella's writing was "fantastic". The one-off two-hour drama will be screened on ITV1 at 2100 GMT.

Wood 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."

Victoria Wood
Comedienne Victoria Wood stars in Housewife, 49

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

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.

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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