British Comedy Guide

Last Tango In Halifax. Image shows from L to R: Caroline (Sarah Lancashire), Celia (Anne Reid), Alan (Derek Jacobi), Gillian (Nicola Walker). Copyright: Red Production Company.

Last Tango In Halifax

BBC One comedy drama about two childhood sweethearts reunited. 20 episodes (3 series), 2012 - 2016. Stars Derek Jacobi, Anne Reid, Sarah Lancashire, Nicola Walker and others.


Played by: Derek Jacobi
Last Tango In Halifax. Alan (Derek Jacobi). Copyright: Red Production Company.

Mild-mannered, good-natured and honest, nothing can diminish the joy and delight Alan feels at having met Celia once more.

Alan is sociable and out-going, enjoys a drink with his mates and holidays with daughter Gillian and grandson Raff despite ongoing problems with his heart.

Alan's someone who often unwittingly gets caught up in adventures - and Celia is his perfect partner-in-crime. He is and always has been in love with her, ever since he was sixteen years old.

However, even a moral man like Alan can have skeletons in his closet...


Played by: Anne Reid
Last Tango In Halifax. Celia (Anne Reid). Copyright: Red Production Company.

Celia can be sharp-tongued and anxious, but she's also clever, loyal, and has a fabulous sense of humour.

Celia also has a tendency to lash out when feeling defensive, which often makes her seem tougher than she really is.

She can be a terrible snob, but meeting Alan has opened up whole new worlds for her and brought her out of her insular shell. He also brings out her cheeky sense of adventure and enables her to start living in the moment for the first time in decades.


Played by: Sarah Lancashire
Last Tango In Halifax. Caroline (Sarah Lancashire). Copyright: Red Production Company.

Hardworking, successful Caroline felt like her life was falling apart in Series 1. Her career as a headmistress was going from strength to strength, but her marriage was collapsing - husband John recently left her to move in with his lover, but now he's back and wants to try again.

Caroline herself has got herself caught up in a complex emotional relationship with fellow teacher Kate, but is unable to acknowledge the depth of her feelings at first.

As well as managing her two teenage boys, William and Lawrence, her adulterous ex-husband, John, who won't leave the martial home, her dry-humoured mother, Celia, and keeping on top of her job as a headmistress, it's a wonder she hasn't had a break down. But Caroline's at her best when she's in control.

Caroline's strong exterior masks her fragility. And it's during tougher times where she'll reach out for a hand and most likely find her mother's clasp to grip on to.


Played by: Nicola Walker
Last Tango In Halifax. Gillian (Nicola Walker). Copyright: Red Production Company.

Gillian's life is a chaotic mess, and she gets through each day more by luck than good judgement.

Independent, robust and gung-ho, Gillian tells it like it is. It's part of her appeal and quite possibly the reason she gets herself into sticky situations.

Her abusive husband Eddie died in a farming incident several years ago, and Gillian has struggled to keep the farm going ever since. Gillian's always been a worry to her father Alan, and she's still got a wild side - her downfall is boys and booze.

Gillian's delighted that her dad is in love, but tries not to think about what she and son Raff will do if Alan decides to move out - he's been such a support in her life.

Gillian's certainly not short of suitors such as Robbie, an old fling who also happens to be her dead husband's brother; decisions in Gillian's life come with complications...


Played by: Tony Gardner
Last Tango In Halifax. John (Tony Gardner). Copyright: Red Production Company.

Erudite, passionate and with a penchant for creating disorder, John often lives in his own fantasy.

Now that he's divorced, John's filled with romantic notions such as moving to the countryside to be nearer his muse, Gillian. But when his bubble bursts - as often is the case - John proves to be rather resilient.

His two boys, Lawrence and William, keep him connected to Caroline. And to Kate's dismay, he loiters around the house like a bad smell.


Played by: Nina Sosanya
Last Tango In Halifax. Kate (Nina Sosanya). Copyright: Red Production Company.

Radiating health, happiness and love, heavily pregnant Kate is the epitome of contentment.

Her relationship with Caroline steps up a notch as they begin to embark on parenthood. Kate knows that anything she and Caroline do as a team will work out. It always does. Caroline has a calming effect on Kate.

Now that Kate's moved into Caroline's house, Celia seems to have accepted their relationship, although Lawrence is slightly harder to please. But there is no doubt about it; Kate is well and truly part of the family.

Gary (Series 3)

Played by: Rupert Graves
Last Tango In Halifax. Gary (Rupert Graves). Copyright: Red Production Company.

Charismatic, business-minded and family orientated, Gary comes into Alan's life after a startling discovery.

A self-made man, Gary is proud of where he comes from. He gives a lot back to the community in Halifax and his philanthropic nature has made him something of a local hero.

Gillian and Alan might have their doubts when they first meet him and Celia is even more dubious, but Gary is a determined man. Once he's set his eyes on something, he gets it.

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