“Brief Encounters” isn’t exactly your typical female-centric friendship drama. Even though the series does a fantastic job at showcasing the beauty of female companionship through times of triumphs and tribulations, the base from which it leaps from is rather unconventional.
In the first episode of “Brief Encounters,” Steph (Sophie Rundle) and Nita (Angela Griffin) decide to improve their lives by selling lingerie and martial aides to fellow housewives. Along the way, they grow friendships with looking-to-be-liberated Pauline (Penelope Wilton) and free-spirit Dawn (Sharon Rooney). Brought together by bedroom amenities not usually brought up in public discussion, this group of strong women find an unexpected bond.
For Griffin – an actress who has also appeared in “Coronation Street” and “Waterloo Road” – what interested her about participating in “Brief Encounters” was how distinctive the series felt, as well as how the characters interacted.
“I thought it was great and I really wanted to do it,” said Griffin when discussing her first impressions of the script. “I think it’s because nowadays on TV there is a dead body within the first ten pages – someone has been killed, or some great crime has been committed. And I like those programmes, but when I read this it felt really refreshing. And I like programmes that have a group of female leads, such as ‘Mistresses’ and ‘Sex in the City’. I like women who I can relate to; who I can identify with and enjoy their friendship.
“When I was reading the script the thing that leapt out of the page for me was the friendship of these four women. They would never have come together if it had not been for the job,” continued Griffin. “They pretty much live their own lives. And I think in those days you knew your neighbours and that was as far as your world went. So they would never have crossed paths. Steph, for instance, is Pauline’s cleaner and socially their worlds are very different, but they have managed to meet and find a common interest because of the business.”
With “Brief Encounters” set in 1982, Griffin also couldn’t help but be surprisingly impressed by the ‘80s-style wardrobe she got to don.
“I spent quite a bit of time in jumpsuits and my character, Nita, is on the breadline. The money is very tight,” explained Griffin, while wearing a green leaf-patterned jumpsuit. “That’s the reason why she gets into doing the party planning in the first place. So she hasn’t got an extensive wardrobe by any means. There were a lot of high-waisted jeans and big, baggy jumpers. A lot of green and purple – colours that I might not necessarily wear… or so I thought!”
This Week on “Brief Encounters” (Tuesday, June 6 at 8pm ET/5pm PT): Two weeks on from Terry’s betrayal, Steph is at the pub surrounded by her new friends Pauline, Widowed Linda, Hellie, Dawn and Nita. Strapped for cash, Steph uses some of her sales money to pay rent.