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Bennett's gems sparkle all over again

Talking Heads, BBC One.

Sorry Imelda but good as you were, I preferred Patricia Routledge's interpretation of Miss Ruddock, the poison-pen writing Lady of Letters who first achieved fame in the 1980s.

If you missed the start of the new season of Talking Heads (BBC One, June 23) then put the kettle on and press the iPlayer button immediately.

Lonely Miss Ruddock and so many other wonderful characters, were crafted 32 years ago by national treasure Alan Bennett.

She's a tad dated these days but real-life versions of her still linger on in some communities...peeping through the net curtains, observing the shortcomings of other people's lives, writing to the council to complain about the wobble of a loose paving slab.

Imelda Staunton (above right) does an excellent job of reproducing the nosey-parker who finds salvation in the most unlikely of places. But she was up against Patricia Routledge who won a Bafta for the part 32 years earlier.

Meanwhile Sarah Lancashire (above left) had the advantage of performing back-to-back in the first of a whole new series of Talking Heads - An Ordinary Woman.

As ever, she is brilliant.

As ever, Bennett's words and phrasings are unforgettable.

Don't miss this new series if you want to learn more about the darker, and lighter sides, of human nature. Among the stars on show will be Jodie Comer (above) Martin Freeman ad Tamsin Greig.

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