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DVD cover of Series One and Two
Created byLynda La Plante
StarringAnn Mitchell
Fiona Hendley
Maureen O'Farrell
Eva Mottley
Debby Bishop
Maurice O'Connell
David Calder
Kate Williams
Paul Jesson
Country of originUnited Kingdom
No. of series2
No. of episodes12 (list of episodes)
Running time50 minutes
Production companyEuston Films for Thames Television
Original networkITV
Original release16 March 1983 (1983-03-16) –
8 May 1985 (1985-05-08)

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Widows was a British primetime television crime drama that was broadcast in 1983 and 1985, produced by Euston Films for Thames Television and aired on the ITV network. Two six-part series were written by crime writer Lynda La Plante. The executive producer for the series was Verity Lambert.

The haunting music heard at intervals throughout the first series and in the closing credits of the final episode of both series is "What Is Life to Me Without Thee", from the opera L'Orfeo, sung here by Kathleen Ferrier.


Three armed robbers — Harry Rawlins, Terry Miller, and Joe Perelli — are killed during an armed robbery. They are survived by their widows, Dolly Rawlins (Ann Mitchell), Shirley Miller (Fiona Hendley), and Linda Perelli (Maureen O'Farrell). With the police applying pressure, and a rival gang intending to take over Harry Rawlins' crime business, the widows turn to Dolly for leadership.

She uses Harry's famous "ledgers", a cache of books detailing all his robberies over the years, to find the details of the failed robbery, and, enlisting the help of a fourth woman, Bella O'Reilly (Eva Mottley), they resolve to pull off the raid themselves. At the same time, they discover the "fourth man" in the raid escaped—leaving their husbands for dead. Dolly must contend with the police and the gang, as well as her fellow widows, agitating for vengeance.

The first series of Widows concluded with the widows successfully pulling off the raid, and escaping to Rio. In the final scenes, however, they discovered that the "fourth man" was in fact Harry Rawlins (Maurice O'Connell), Dolly's husband.

A second series followed in 1985. This series saw the widows return from Rio to track down Harry Rawlins, revealed at the conclusion of the original Widows to be the surviving "fourth man" from the original raid.[1] Harry is determined to pay back the widows for staging his raid, and the widows have a score to settle with him for running out on their husbands. For this second series, Debby Bishop took over the role of Bella, after Eva Mottley had died from a drugs overdose.[2]

A sequel series, She's Out, set ten years after the events of Widows, was produced in 1995.


Major cast[]

  • Ann Mitchell as Dolly Rawlins
  • Maureen O'Farrell as Linda Perelli
  • Fiona Hendley as Shirley Miller
  • Eva Mottley as Bella O'Reilly (Series 1)
  • Debby Bishop as Bella O'Reilly (Series 2)
  • Kate Williams as Audrey Withey
  • Maurice O'Connell as Harry Rawlins
  • David Calder as D.I. George Resnick
  • Paul Jesson as D.S./D.I. Alec Fuller

Supporting cast[]

Episode list[]

Series 1 (1983)[]

Episode Title Written by Directed by Viewers
Original airdate

Series 2 (1985)[]

Episode Title Written by Directed by Viewers
Original airdate

In other media[]

In 2002, the first series was re-made for the American market, but the plot was significantly changed. Instead of a traditional armed robbery, this version united the three widows and the fourth woman in a plan to steal a famous painting. This version starred Mercedes Ruehl as Dolly Rawlins, Brooke Shields as Shirley Heller, Rosie Perez as Linda Perelli, and N'Bushe Wright as Bella O'Reilly.

Film adaptation[]

In March 2015, Gillian Flynn was set as financer/producer of the film adaptation and co-write the script with 12 Years a Slave helmer Steve McQueen who will also direct.[4] In September 2016, New Regency will produce the film and Viola Davis will star as Dolly Rawkins.[5] In January 2017, André Holland and Cynthia Erivo will star in the film.[6] Elizabeth Debicki is in talks to join the movie.[7]

DVD release[]

The complete series of Widows is available on DVD from Fremantle Media.[8]


  1. "Widows 2 (1985 TV Mini-Series) : Episode List". Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  2. "Widows - Complete Box Set - Series 1 and 2 [DVD]: Ann Mitchell, Maureen O'Farrell, Fiona Hendley, David Calder, Kate Williams, Paul Jesson, Eva Mottley, Peter Machin, Maurice O'Connell: DVD & Blu-ray". Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Top 30 Programmes – BARB". Retrieved 11 February 2016.
  4. Fleming Jr., Mike (27 March 2015). "Gillian Flynn Joins Steve McQueen To Script New Regency Heist Thriller". Deadline. Retrieved 8 February 2017.
  5. Hipes, Patrick (27 September 2016). "Viola Davis Joins Steve McQueen's 'Widows'". Deadline. Retrieved 8 February 2017.
  6. Kroll, Justin (13 January 2017). "'Moonlight' Star Andre Holland Joins Viola Davis in Steve McQueen's 'Widows' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 8 February 2017.
  7. Kroll, Justin (9 February 2017). "Elizabeth Debicki to Co-Star With Viola Davis in Steve McQueen's 'Widows' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 9 February 2017.
  8. Ann Mitchell. "The Lynda La Plante Collection - Widows/She's Out DVD: Ann Mitchell: DVD & Blu-ray". Retrieved 4 December 2016.

External links[]

Template:Lynda La Plante