Downton Abbey’s Penelope Wilton cast in new ITV drama about Ann Summers

Wilton will star alongside Sophie Rundle, Angela Griffin and Sharon Rooney in Brief Encounters, a drama about four women striving to find happiness and fulfilment

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Penelope Wilton hung up her period drama hat at Christmas when long-running period drama Downton Abbey came to a close. But it won’t be long before we see her back on ITV in another drama

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She won’t be sporting a corset this time, though. 

Wilton is set to star alongside fellow actresses Sophie Rundle, Angela Griffin and Sharon Rooney in Brief Encounters, a new “frank, fresh and funny” six-part drama set in the early 1980s. 

Brief Encounters follows four women looking for happiness and fulfilment, who find it in an usual place: an Ann Summers party. 

Penelope Wilton plays Pauline, who is introduced to Ann Summers parties by her cleaner Steph (Rundle) as a way to salve her loneliness. While Pauline’s relationship with the Ann Summers girls helps her step out from the shadows, it ignites ambition in Steph she didn’t know she had. 

Steph then meets Nita (Griffin) in the school playground and it “kick starts a sequence of events that will change both their lives.” While young hairdresser Dawn (Rooney) is struggling in the aftermath of her mother’s death and given the incentive to finally realise her dreams. 

Created and written by Fay Rusling and Oriane Messina, Brief Encounters also stars Will Merrick, Don Gilet, Peter Wight, Karl Davies and Ben Bailey Smith. 

“Brief Encounters is a refreshingly different domestic drama taking us back to the wonderful world of the 1980s. We’re really excited by this commission – it’s full of heart, story and great new characters,” said commissioner Steve November. 

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The drama will begin filming later this month in Sheffield and air on ITV at a later date