Irina Palm (15)

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The Independent Culture

Marianne Faithfull plays Maggie, a frumpy fiftysomething whose young grandson will die unless the family can raise the money necessary for his op.

So Maggie does what any resourceful gran would do and takes a job at a Soho sex club, where she doles out anonymous hand relief to a queue of eager punters. Soon her name is up in lights – Irina Palm – but the secret of her double life cannot be kept indefinitely from her son (Kevin Bishop) or the prim circle of friends in her commuter-belt village.

Director Sam Garbarski is hobbled by a woeful script, some very uncertain acting and a chorus of behatted biddies who never, ever seem to leave the village post-office. It's a collector's item, all the same – you won't often see dramas in which a Sixties icon-turned-grandmother earns fistfuls of cash by dealing out the best hand shandies in Soho.

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