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Summary

A sparkling collection of comic monologues by Jenny Eclair about women facing pivotal moments in their lives.

In these funny, poignant short stories, voiced by some of Britain’s finest actresses, we are introduced to 29 very different women as they open their hearts and share their secrets.

Here are tales of love, grief, revenge and adventure, told by a wealth of fascinating characters. There’s Bea, a top cook who’s about to prepare a very special birthday cake for her husband; Christine, who takes up watercolours and discovers inspiration can be found in the most unexpected places; Patsy, a rock star’s wife with a past; and Penny, who takes looking after her boss a bit too far.

From a grandmother visiting a posh supermarket to buy her grandchildren a meal they won't forget, to a cleaner who discovers some secrets behind the Farrow and Ball doors of the middle-class homes she visits, every one of the women we meet has a memorable, moving and surprising tale to tell....

Among the star narrators are Lesley Sharp, Anita Dobson, Imelda Staunton, Josie Lawrence, Frances Barber, Samantha Bond, Doon Mackichan and Anne Reid.

Produced by Sally Avens.

Series 1:

"Fifteen Minutes to Landing"

Woman - Lesley Manville

Captain James Barrington - Clive Hayward

Air Hostess - Jane Slavin

"Carol Goes Swimming"

Carol - Lorraine Ashbourne

Manager - Jane Slavin

"A Trolley for a Change"

Pat - Ruth Sheen

Checkout woman - Elaine Claxton

Security guard - Clive Hayward

Lauren - Jane Slavin

"George’s Cake"

Bea - Susie Blake

"The Viewing"

Reader - Annette Badland

"Doing the Best for Daniel"

Reader - Jenny Eclair

Series 2:

"Lorna’s Holiday"

Lorna - Lesley Sharp

"Christine Paints"

Christine - Rosie Cavaliero

"Beverley in Shoes"

Beverley - Samantha Spiro

"Points"

Gail - Sarah Hadland

"A Slight Alteration"

Reader - Tessa Peake-Jones

"Waiting for Billy"

Patsy - Anita Dobson

Series 3:

"Leo’s Passport"

Penny - Imelda Staunton

Caroline - Karen Bartke

"Hannah’s Gone"

Hannah’s Mum - Josie Lawrence

"Mothers and Daughters"

Coral - Frances Barber

Girl - Karen Bartke

Boy - Luke MacGregor

"Anthea’s Round Robin"

Anthea - Samantha Bond

Series 4:

"The Last Day"

Miss Cavendish - Vicki Pepperdine

"The Visit"

Reader - Doon Mackichan

The Nannas

Dawn - Tilly Vosburgh

"A Nice Time with All the Family"

Julie - Beverley Callard

Series 5:

"A Long Weekend"

Cathy - Anne Reid

"The Kitchen Table"

Reader - Monica Dolan

"The Book Club"

Belle - Lucy Robinson

"Greta Doesn’t Want to Wait for Godot"

Greta - Amelia Bullmore

©2020 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd (P)2020 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd

Critic reviews

"Exquisitely crafted." (Radio Times)

What listeners say about Little Lifetimes: Series 1-6

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Absolutely Brilliant!

Each and every episode is beautifully written, and so well cast. Totally absorbing, and superbly acted. If I could give more than 5 stars I would!

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Highly recommended

I absolutely loved Little Lifetimes and hope Jenny Eclair writes more of these for Radio 4. They are beautifully written, observed and acted short monologues which made me laugh and cry. Jenny Eclair is so gifted at really capturing the inner lives of women and I would highly recommend.

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Talking Heads for the modern woman

No dud episodes here, women relating their sometimes witty stories, sometimes with a sting in the tale. I don’t like Jenny Eclair’s stand up but here she has excelled in creating likeable characters for radio 4 who aren’t as weak as they first seem... More please!