New Sky drama Delicious marks a transition in gender equality on screen and off
Christmas, a period famed for food and family drama, is fast approaching. It’s therefore fitting that new Sky drama Delicious is coming to our screens this holiday season.
Delicious is, you guessed it, a brand new series that puts food and family drama at its heart. It stars Dawn French as Gina Benelli, a food lover and the former wife of the hugely successful restaurateur Leo Vincent (Iain Glen). They divorced some seventeen years ago after Leo had an affair with the younger Sam (Emilia Fox), the polar opposite of Gina. When Sam begins to suspect that Leo may be having another affair, she confides in the one person she thinks will understand – Gina – unaware that it is with his former wife that Leo has reconnected. The affair leads to the reveal of some seriously well-kept secrets and drama ensues.
It sounds like a simple story with one philandering man at the focus of events, but what’s special about Delicious is that it really is all about women, on screen and off. There is a trend in current television to increase gender representation, and no better is this transition marked in the cast and crew of Delicious. On camera, we have the phenomenal partnership of Dawn French and Emilia Fox (with appearances from Sheila Hancock, who plays Leo’s formidable mother Mimi) portraying very different but remarkably nuanced, complex women. Behind the scenes, Delicious is produced by Phillippa Giles for Bandit Television and Anna Ferguson for Sky and in part directed by Clare Kilner. Considering women only account for 25.7% of British film producers and 14% of television drama directors, that’s pretty good going.
That’s not to say that supportive men haven’t also been crucial to the creation of Delicious. Dawn French was initially so taken aback by Delicious‘ writer Dan Sefton’s ability to write women that she questioned him about it. She said: “I asked him, ‘How do you know this stuff?’, and he said, ‘I’m married, I have a mother, and a mother in law’. […] He has just listened to women.”
The differences between working on Delicious in terms of gender representation have not gone unnoticed by the show’s cast. Iain Glen said: “Some dramas are trying to address the imbalance but the vast majority of the time, you look across the set and it’s completely imbalanced, there are far more men in the crew and cast. In this, the three main producers and one of the directors were all women. That’s very refreshing to me.”
At its heart, Delicious is a story about women, created by women and men who have listened to women.
Emilia Fox sums it up best: “This is absolutely a much more complex story than two women still vying for the love of one man.
“[It’s] about the survival of both Sam and Gina as women and mothers, who discover that secrets are painful and truth is the only way forward.”