Sally Wainwright: I regret killing off a lesbian character

The Last Tango In Halifax writer says she thought it was the right thing to do at the time but has since changed her mind


Last Tango In Halifax


Kate McKenzie-Dawson’s death in Last Tango In Halifax was the wrong choice, Sally Wainwright has said.


The character, played by Nina Sosanya, had just married her wife when she was killed in a road traffic accident, sparking hundreds of complaints to the BBC.


Speaking at Hay Festival alongside actress Sarah Lancashire, who plays Caroline in the BBC drama, the show’s writer said she believed it was “essential” at the time to move the plot forward but has since changed her mind.


Wainwright said: “I was very sad to do it. I wrote another ending but it didn’t work.”


She added: “At the time, I thought it was the right choice, but I do actually regret it now.”


Wainwright also told the audience about the struggle she had to get the show on air after the pilot episode was initially turned down by both BBC and ITV. She said it was only saved when the former realised “the audience did have people over 50.”


Lancashire, whose character comes out later in life, spoke about the “extraordinary impact” the show has had, and said many fans tell her they have come out thanks to Last Tango.


“I’ve never had a response quite like it to be honest,” she said. “I still get letters now from people in this country and in America who are women who have come out later on in life and have very complicated and tragic stories in a sense.”


She went on: “I didn’t realise when I started to play Caroline that she would have this extraordinary impact. It is a strange thing.


“There are very few pieces I’ve done in my working life that I could say I’m proud of, but Caroline is certainly the one I’m most proud of.”


Lancashire also described as “the most glorious drama” and added: “Sally… did absolutely brilliantly to demonstrate same-sex relationships between women by normalising it, without sensationalising it or making it titillating.


“For me, it was the first time I’d ever seen that done on British television.”





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