It's certainly of its age (1989) and for a certain age (hello, Mum), but there's lots of menopause for thought in Willy Russell's rainy-day drama. Echoing his earlier Educating Rita (and mirrored in Nigel Cole's chirpy Calendar Girls), its the tale of a working-class woman who's desperate to better herself.
Pauline Collins is the eponymous fiftysomething heroine, trapped in a loveless marriage, chained to the cooker and struggling to find some meaning in her "little life". A chance to spread her dowdy wings comes with a free trip to Greece - - and a romance with Tom Conti's randy waiter Costas. But can she reconcile her new experiences of sun, sea and adulterous sex with her drab life back home?
Ably illuminated by a series of feisty female cameos (Joanna Lumley as a high-class hooker, Julia McKenzie as a posh neighbour, Alison Steadman as a `feminist'), Valentine remains Collins' show. Her blue eyes wide with fright as she confronts the waste of her youth, bravely baring her saggy bum to the camera, her curly perm bedraggled, she conquers her terrors - - and breaks the hardest of hearts in doing so.