Sally Wainwright’s Upcoming Series Riot Women to be a Celebration of Menopausal Anger

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Last Updated on January 25, 2024 by Stefanie Hutson

Even in the UK, women over 50-60 are woefully underrepresented on screen in comparison to their real life numbers (though to be fair, the UK is far more inclusive of mid-life and older woman than Hollywood) – but that's just one reason we're so glad to see the BBC's announcement of the upcoming Sally Wainwright-penned series Riot Women. The other reason is, of course, that pretty much everything Sally Wainwright creates is wonderful, and we highly doubt this will be the exception to the rule.

What's Riot Women About?

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Like Happy Valley, Riot Women will be set in Hebden Bridge and nearby Halifax

Sometimes mentioned under the working title Hot Flush, Riot Women is a celebration of female friendship, anger, and empowerment. The six-part drama revolves around the lives of five women of a certain age who form an unlikely punk-rock band. Initially coming together to enter a talent contest, they soon find that the band gives them a powerful platform to voice their experiences, frustrations, and dreams.

Set in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, it follows along as the women struggle to balance demanding jobs, familial responsibilities, and changes brought on by the menopause. A secret connecting two band members, Kitty and Beth, adds an extra layer of trouble.

Who's in the Cast of Riot Women?

While specific casting details for Riot Women have yet to be announced, Sally Wainwright's incredible track record (which includes shows like Happy Valley, Gentleman Jack, and Last Tango in Halifax) means the series is likely to attract some of the UK's finest acting talents. We'll update when more details are announced.

Who's Involved in the Production?

Riot Women is the creation of Sally Wainwright, who serves as the writer and executive producer. Of the upcoming series, she said:

I've been wanting to write a series like this for a long time. It's a celebration of women of a certain age, and all the life-stuff they suddenly find themselves negotiating/dealing with. The show is also my own personal homage to Rock Follies of '77, and the feisty Little Ladies who woke me up to what I wanted to do with my life when I was 13. I'm thrilled to be working with Charlotte again at the BBC, looking forward hugely to working with Lindsay, and utterly delighted to (finally!) be working with Roanna again at Drama Republic.

The show is produced by Drama Republic, known for Doctor Foster, with Roanna Benn as the executive producer and Clare Shepherd as the producer. 

When Will Riot Women Premiere?

While a specific premiere date hasn't been announced, filming is set to begin filming in summer 2024 – so we would expect to see it on our screens in late 2024 or early 2025. It will ultimately air on BBC One and BBC iPlayer in the UK, but international streaming and distribution details have yet to be announced.

While You Wait: More British TV Shows About Female Friendship

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While you wait, you may enjoy some of these other shows about female friendship, mid-life issues, and women's empowerment:

  1. Girlfriends – This series by Kay Mellor offers a heartfelt exploration of the lives of three mid-life women with a solid friendship and a very dark secret. Stream it HERE
  2. We Are Lady Parts – This fun and original series focuses on a Muslim female punk band in London. Aside from offering an interesting look at a culture most of us are less familiar with, it's also legitimately hilarious. Stream it HERE or on Peacock
  3. Scott & Bailey – This crime drama features two strong female leads, Janet Scott and Rachel Bailey, who work together as detectives but also have a strong friendship. Stream it HERE
  4. Call the Midwife – Set in the 1950s and 60s, this series follows a group of midwives and midwife-nuns in East London. Beyond the medical storylines, the series explores a variety of personal dramas, women's issues, and social changes. Stream it on Netflix
  5. Last Tango in Halifax – Another gem from Sally Wainwright, this series tells the story of two widowed septuagenarians who meet online and rekindle a past relationship. It explores both their relationship and the lives of their mid-life daughters and families as they all struggle to blend their lives and deal with a variety of personal dramas. Stream it on Netflix

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