Nellie And Melba. Image shows from L to R: Neville (Paul O'Grady), Melba (Sheila Hancock).

Nellie And Melba

Sky Arts comedy drama. 1 episode in 2012. Stars Sheila Hancock, Paul O'Grady, Rosie Cavaliero, Jonathan D. Ellis, Ben Goodman and Joe Thompson.

Nellie And Melba

A 51-year-old and his mum try to fulfil their showbiz dreams at a talent show. Stars Paul O'Grady and Sheila Hancock

Comedy Drama
Sky Arts
Sheila Hancock, Paul O'Grady, Rosie Cavaliero, Jonathan D. Ellis, Ben Goodman and Joe Thompson
Paul O'Grady and Sandi Toksvig
Christine Gernon
Mike Elliott

Paul O'Grady plays the unfortunate 51-year-old Neville who lives with his mother Melba - a feisty 70-something dance teacher who likes to play whist. Neville's job, however, is not so entertaining. Working at the dreaded social security office, he is, shall we say, not particularly crazy about his job. And as if his boring 9-5 schedule wasn't trouble enough, the poor fellow has to wake up to the sound of his mother nagging him to get up every morning, in addition to hsving to take all her snide comments about his appearance and deteriorating love-life. But Neville has a dream - after all, don't we all?

At the moment when you're so close to the bottom that you can practically smell the dust, the only way really is up. When his collegue Maureen invites him out for a drink-too-many at a drag show pub, a light goes on in Neville's head and he decides to start living his life and follow his dream of taking the stage. When he finds out there is a talent competition, he takes it as a sign too big to ignore, and he tries to persuade a reluctant Maureen to take part with him in a ventriloquy double-act. Eventually, she agrees.

As any good mother would, Melba, though not enthused with their decision at first, decides to helps them get their act together (no pun intended), though she can't help taking digs at both of them meanwhile. But the tension proves too much for Maureen who gets cold feet just before taking the stage, leaving poor Neville standing with half a dream in hand.

Before Neville has a chance to say "no", he finds himself in a double-act with none other than his character of a mother. Needless to say, the crowd love them; a star double-act is born and Neville is living life again.

Production Details

Part of

Playhouse Presents

Laugh track

Broadcast details

First broadcast
Thursday 19th April 2012 on Sky Arts at 9pm
Episode length
30 minutes
Last repeat
Friday 25th April 2014 at 2:30am

Website links