List of Last Tango in Halifax episodes

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Last Tango in Halifax
Written bySally Wainwright
Composer(s)Murray Gold
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of series4
No. of episodes20 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)Nicola Shindler
Production location(s)Yorkshire
Running time60 minutes
Production company(s)Red Production Company
Original networkBBC One
Original release20 November 2012 (2012-11-20) –
External links
Production website

Last Tango in Halifax is a British drama series on BBC One. First broadcast on 20 November 2012, twenty episodes have aired. Screenwriter, Sally Wainwright, loosely adapted the story of her mother's second marriage.[1] Starring Derek Jacobi and Anne Reid as Alan and Celia, former childhood sweethearts, who are now in their seventies. Reunited via Facebook, they meet, fall in love, and plan to marry. Reid and Jacobi enjoyed having the chance to play out a love story between older people.[2][3][4] Sarah Lancashire and Nicola Walker star as Caroline, Celia's daughter, and Gillian, Alan's daughter, respectively. Other characters are played by Nina Sosanya, Tony Gardner, Ronni Ancona, Dean Andrews, Sacha Dhawan and Josh Bolt.

The first series of Last Tango In Halifax aired between 20 November and 19 December 2012. It was the UK's highest rated new mid-week television drama of 2012 and was re-commissioned for a second series.[5] The second series aired from 19 November 2013 to 24 December 2013. The series was re-commissioned for a third series on 24 December 2013, ahead of the final episode of the second series.[6] The third series aired from 28 December 2014 to 1 February 2015.[7] Following the end of the final episode of series three, the BBC announced that a fourth series had been commissioned. Series 4 was broadcast on 19 and 20 December 2016.[8]

Series overview[edit]

Series Episodes Originally aired Ave. UK viewers
First aired Last aired
1 6 20 November 2012 19 December 2012 7.32
2 6 19 November 2013 24 December 2013 7.10
3 6 28 December 2014 1 February 2015 7.79[9]
4 2 19 December 2016 20 December 2016 7.26[9]


Series 1 (2012)[edit]

No. Title Directed by Written by Ratings (in millions)[10]
Sourced by BARB.
Original airdate
1"Episode 1"Euros LynSally Wainwright7.30[11]20 November 2012 (2012-11-20)[12]
Recently widowed Celia Dawson (Anne Reid) contacts Alan Buttershaw (Derek Jacobi) — a former romantic interest whom she has not seen in 60 years — on the social networking site Facebook. Celia's daughter Caroline (Sarah Lancashire) is surprised by the revelation, though distracted by her own romantic problems involving her adulterous husband (Tony Gardner) and her own affair with a female colleague, Kate (Nina Sosanya). Alan and Celia meet in Skipton and immediately rekindle their friendship. Celia's car is later damaged in pursuit of a young man who stole Alan's vehicle. Caroline and Alan's daughter Gillian (Nicola Walker) clash on first encounter after rushing to collect their parents; both are shocked to discover that Alan and Celia plan to marry.
2"Episode 2"Euros LynSally Wainwright6.78[13]27 November 2012 (2012-11-27)[14]
Caroline is worried her affair with Kate may become public knowledge as she considers taking back her adulterous husband John. Widowed Gillian, meanwhile, continues a reckless sexual relationship with Paul (Sacha Dhawan), a man half her age. Alan and Celia enjoy the new lease on life they have discovered and decide to buy a new sports car as an engagement present to each other. As the families come together to celebrate Alan and Celia's engagement, Gillian's son Raff (Josh Bolt) is arrested for assaulting Paul, whilst Caroline's son William (Edward Ashley) reveals that John is still in contact with his lover Judith (Ronni Ancona). John is consequently abandoned at Gillian's farm as everybody else leaves.
3"Episode 3"Euros LynSally Wainwright7.51[15]4 December 2012 (2012-12-04)[16]
A badly beaten Paul moves in with Gillian, whilst Raff moves in with his paternal uncle Robbie (Dean Andrews), who blames Gillian for her husband's death. Meanwhile, John returns to Caroline's house and they furiously argue about his right to continue living there; their shouting is overheard by a bemused Alan and Celia. Caroline confesses to Kate that she finds it difficult to express her emotions honestly. Alan and Celia begin looking at wedding venues. A Church of England vicar discourages them from having a church wedding, as neither party has attended services in more than 30 years. Celia and Alan discuss politics and religion, and the liberal Alan is surprised by Celia's conservative views. They visit a stately home in Southowram as a possible wedding venue but become locked inside overnight.
4"Episode 4"Sam DonovanSally Wainwright7.33[17]11 December 2012 (2012-12-11)[18]
Alan and Celia spend a night in Southowram Hall. Gillian and Caroline are unable to make contact with their parents, neither of whom has a mobile phone signal. Gillian's worry prompts Raff and Robbie to visit, and they become closer. Caroline spends the night at Gillian's whilst awaiting news of Alan and Celia, and the two women bond over their fears and their respective problems with children and partners. Paul works out that Alan and Celia may have been visiting Southowram Hall, and the police eventually find them. Caroline grows frustrated with John and admits to seeing an unnamed other.
5"Episode 5"Sam DonovanSally Wainwright7.49[19]18 December 2012 (2012-12-18)[20]
Alan confides his darkest secret to Celia: that when Gillian's less-than-ideal husband Eddie attempted suicide, he did not die immediately, and she refrained from calling an ambulance; because he did not tell that to the police, Alan holds himself partly responsible for the man's death. Under the influence of alcohol, Gillian sleeps with the troubled John. Caroline meanwhile, prepares to go public about her lesbian relationship with Kate. Whilst William had suspected the relationship and is happy for her, Lawrence (Louis Greatorex), Caroline's younger son, is upset and confused. Caroline's birthday evening with Kate and her two sons is ruined by the arrival of an extremely drunk Judith, who ends up in accident and emergency. John discovers that Caroline is seeing Kate, and informs Celia.
6"Episode 6"Sam DonovanSally Wainwright7.48[19]19 December 2012 (2012-12-19)[21]

Celia refuses to accept Caroline's relationship with Kate; her homophobic views shock Alan, who implores her to give Kate a chance. Celia agrees to meet Kate at a dinner party hosted by Caroline. However, Celia's bigotry and hostility towards Kate ruins the evening, leading Alan to call off the wedding and driving a wedge between Caroline and Kate. Caroline and Celia have a blazing row, trading insults and expletives. Celia realises that her behaviour had made her daughter unhappy and visits Kate, apologising for her own behaviour and imploring Kate to give Caroline another chance. Alan, meanwhile, suffers a heart attack. Celia realises that she may have lost everything and rushes to his bedside. They reconcile and decide the wedding will go ahead.

The first series ends with a flashback to 60 years ago, showing the teenage Alan (Nico Mirallegro) asking Celia on a date, just as the present-day Alan regains consciousness. Prior to the closing credits, a dedication to Alec Walker (1929–2009), who inspired the character of Alan Buttershaw, is shown.

Series 2 (2013)[edit]

No. Title Directed by Written by Ratings (in millions)[10]
Sourced by BARB; figures show consolidated audience of first showing.
Original airdate
7"Episode 1"Euros LynSally Wainwright7.42[22]19 November 2013 (2013-11-19)[23]
Alan recuperates in hospital from his heart attack. Meanwhile, Gillian is contacted by John, who claims to have fallen in love with her. Unsettled, Gillian confesses to Caroline that she had a one night stand with John. Alan and Celia decide to get married as quickly as possible, with minimum fuss, and book an appointment at the register office. After finding out about Gillian's sexual encounter with John, Alan tells her that both he and his late wife were ashamed of her morals, mentioning an abortion she had at age fifteen. At the end of the episode Gillian discovers Alan and Celia's appointment card for the register office on the morning of their wedding.
8"Episode 2"Euros LynSally Wainwright7.60[24]26 November 2013 (2013-11-26)[25]
Alan and Celia get married, persuading two passersby to act as witnesses. Gillian turns up at the register office and expresses her feelings of hurt and rejection at not being invited to the ceremony. She is convinced that Alan and Celia think less of her than Caroline's family because of their differing social class. Caroline seeks to secure funds to buy John out of their house. To achieve this she needs financial support from both Celia and Kate, and asks Kate to move in with her. Kate tells Caroline that, because she is nearing her 42nd birthday, she wants a baby of her own before it is too late. Gillian discovers that Raff's girlfriend Ellie (Katherine Rose Morley) is eight months pregnant. Alan and Celia arrive to provide support, and after Ellie goes into labour, Alan welcomes a great-granddaughter.
9"Episode 3"Euros LynSally Wainwright5.96[26]3 December 2013 (2013-12-03)[27]
Maurice (Roy Barraclough) is hurt by Alan having married quietly without inviting his friends. Later, Celia relays to Robbie that Gillian had an abortion at the age of fifteen; he realises it was his child she aborted, causing fractures in their relationship. Meanwhile, Kate tells Caroline she has chosen her friend Greg as a sperm donor, while Alan and Celia plan to buy a bungalow. With Robbie absent, and Raff and Ellie neglecting the baby, Gillian is left to look after her granddaughter. John arrives to support her, and she tells him of her doubts about Robbie's suitability for her, given the fact she did not take the necessary action to prevent Eddie's death. Alan tells Celia that Gillian had actually killed Eddie with a block of wood following Eddie's apparent suicide attempt.
10"Episode 4"Jill RobertsonSally Wainwright7.15[28]10 December 2013 (2013-12-10)[29]
Alan muses about whether or not the coroner's verdict of suicide regarding Eddie was correct. On what was supposed to be a romantic birthday weekend getaway Kate is angered by Caroline's continuing reluctance to publicly acknowledge her and Kate's relationship. Kate and Greg reminisce about their university days, excluding Caroline, and Caroline reacts badly. Kate tells her the next morning that she believes Caroline is too old to change, and their relationship is over, having never properly started. Judith arrives at Gillian's and accuses John of plagiarism, as his novel was inspired by her idea to write a novel based on Celia and Alan's romance. John's infatuation and one night stand with Gillian is revealed in front of Robbie, inciting Robbie to punch John and walk out again. At Caroline's, Celia and Alan deal with a drunken Lawrence and a shaken William, who has been assaulted at a cashpoint. Alan is devastated by the news of Maurice's sudden death. At the wake, he and Celia decide to marry a second time so that this time they can share the day with family and friends.
11"Episode 5"Jill RobertsonSally Wainwright7.06[30]17 December 2013 (2013-12-17)[31]
Three months after the previous episode, William leaves for university, and Lawrence tells his mother he wants to live with his dad, who is now co-habitating with a pregnant Judith. Gillian is jealous of Robbie's new partner, Cheryl (Rachel Leskovac). Kate reveals she is twelve weeks pregnant; though Caroline is restrained in her presence, she is later overcome with emotion. Gillian volunteers her and Caroline's services to plan Alan and Celia's second wedding. Alan and Celia visit Celia's estranged sister Muriel (Gemma Jones), whom Celia fell out with when Muriel married a man whom Celia had been attracted to. After a day out together researching the wedding, a drunken Gillian tells Caroline she deliberately killed her husband and staged his suicide, as she could take no more of his abuse and feared he'd one day kill her.
12"Episode 6"Jill RobertsonSally Wainwright7.40[32]24 December 2013 (2013-12-24)[33]
Caroline promises Gillian she will keep her secret. Caroline implores Kate to give her another chance and let her learn from her mistakes. When Kate is rushed to hospital, Caroline drops everything to check that she and the baby are safe and well. Alan visits his first wife's grave and talks about Celia, seeking her blessing. In the days before the wedding, Alan's brother Ted (Timothy West) makes a surprise appearance from New Zealand. At Alan's stag party, Alan and Raff encourage Robbie to pursue Gillian, as they believe they are right for each other. Meanwhile, Celia puts her differences with Muriel behind her and tells her of her own unhappy first marriage. The wedding takes place on Christmas Eve, with Kate playing the piano at Celia's request, and Caroline taking on the traditional duties of the bride's father. At the wedding dance, Gillian flirts with Robbie and Kate asks Caroline to dance, with the two women promising to commit to each other. The episode ends with Kate and Caroline, and Alan and Celia happy together, whilst John and Gillian demonstrate unease at their individual predicaments.

Series 3 (2014-2015)[edit]

No. Title Directed by Written by Ratings (in millions)[10]
Sourced by BARB.
Original airdate
13"Episode 1"Nigel ColeSally Wainwright7.89[9]28 December 2014 (2014-12-28)[7]
On Valentine's Day, Alan and Celia enjoy a romantic dinner, whilst Caroline proposes to a now heavily pregnant Kate, and Gillian goes on a date with a man named Gary (Rupert Graves). It soon transpires that Gary is Alan's son, a product of a brief affair he had in the 1960s. Both Caroline and Alan are afraid of how Celia might take the news, given the unhappiness caused by her first husband's adultery. Meanwhile, the news of Caroline and Kate's upcoming wedding brings out Celia's latent prejudices and an incident of homophobic bullying directed towards Lawrence. John returns to seek solace from Caroline and her family in the wake of Judith's suffering a miscarriage, whilst Gillian has another casual fling with Robbie, despite his ongoing relationship with Cheryl. At the end of the episode Gillian takes Celia shopping for a wedding outfit, so that Alan can sneak off and visit Gary behind his wife's back.
14"Episode 2"Nigel ColeSally Wainwright7.47[9]4 January 2015 (2015-01-04)
Alan's encounter with Gary leaves him enamoured. Meanwhile, as Judith has moved away to St Albans, John moves into Caroline's spare room, making Kate feel uncomfortable. Gillian loses her job at the supermarket after Cheryl publicly humiliates her. Celia is devastated after Alan reveals his secret child, infuriated by his dishonesty and unsure of how to progress in their marriage. She refuses to meet Gary after he invites all of Alan's family to dinner, and moves back to Harrogate to have some space and be close to Caroline. Alan, Raff, and Gillian are impressed by Gary's success after learning how as a young entrepreneur he eventually acquired a multimillion pound empire. Despite Caroline's efforts to counter her mother's despondency, Celia rejects both Alan and Caroline, refusing to attend her daughter's wedding. Caroline warns her mother that this may irrevocably damage their relationship. When Alan turns up alone at the register office prior to the wedding she lashes out at him, telling his presence is not required without Celia — something she had also said (almost word-for-word) to her father when he showed up at her doctoral graduation and Celia didn't.
15"Episode 3"Nigel ColeSally Wainwright7.43[9]11 January 2015 (2015-01-11)
Caroline and Kate exchange vows and rings in the company of friends, colleagues, and Caroline's eldest son William (now Dean Smith). Robbie tells Gillian he wants to marry her and wishes to support her financially. After John drives Alan back to the farm, he gets drunk with Gillian, and they sleep together. Following the departure of the wedding guests, Celia visits Caroline and enquires about her day. Caroline is angered and hurt by her mother's behaviour, and uninterested in Celia's marital problems. The next day, Gillian tells John he is a bad influence on her, and she cannot be with him, opting instead to accept Robbie's proposal. Celia attempts to repair her relationship with Alan by meeting Gary and spending the afternoon with Alan's extended family. Caroline is distraught when Kate is critically injured in a car accident. Alan and Celia rush to support and console her, and Caroline makes amends with Alan following her words at the wedding. They learn the baby has been delivered safely; Caroline breaks down in tears after hearing further information from the surgeon.
16"Episode 4"Syd MacartneySally Wainwright7.84[9]18 January 2015 (2015-01-18)
On the morning of Kate's funeral, Caroline decides to name their baby Flora Grace. At the wake, Caroline bonds with Kate's mother (Michelle Hurst) but is perturbed when Greg offers to provide paternal support to her and Kate's child. Meanwhile, Celia is furious when she catches Alan sneaking a cigarette, in spite of his heart condition. Caroline, struggling with her bereavement and postpartum depression, leans on Celia's emotional support. Raff is delighted that Gillian and Robbie are getting married, though Gillian is anxious for Caroline to keep her secret. Gary becomes increasingly paranoid when neither Gillian nor Alan is willing to get in touch. Unwilling to give up her career or place too much of a burden on her elderly parents, Caroline hires ex-pupil Holly (Cara Theobold) to be Flora's nanny.
17"Episode 5"Syd MacartneySally Wainwright7.94[9]25 January 2015 (2015-01-25)[34]
Lawrence's behaviour at school becomes disruptive, leading Caroline to suspend him. Alan starts to distance himself from Gary when Gary's behaviour becomes increasingly needy and obsessive. Gary offers to pay for Gillian's wedding and to put Raff through an accountancy apprenticeship in his business, though she is unhappy with both suggestions. Meanwhile, Caroline is incredulous when John suggests they give their relationship another go. When Holly is revealed to be an alcoholic, Caroline invites Greg, a successful comic book artist, to become Flora's live-in sitter. Greg bonds with Flora, impresses both Caroline and Celia, and manages to win round Lawrence to his half-sister. Gillian discovers that Gary has divulged the secret of his true parentage to the press, which greatly embarrasses Alan.
18"Episode 6"Syd MacartneySally Wainwright8.16[9]1 February 2015 (2015-02-01)
Caroline prepares to drive Gillian to the wedding, but her step-sister has cold feet. Flashbacks reveal that she accepted Gary's offer of a lavish wedding out of guilt at Alan's having rejected him, and she cheated on her fiance twice; once with a colleague (Jaz Martin) after Robbie insulted her, and again with John. She has also learnt that Robbie knew that his brother had abused her and did not intervene. After a series of delays, Caroline, Gillian, and Alan arrive at the venue. With encouragement from Caroline, Gillian marries Robbie, not wishing to cause a scene or stand him up. Later, Celia helps Alan and Gary make peace, Gary having apologised for his behaviour. Caroline reflects on the tragedy of her own short-lived marriage, realising just how much she loves Flora and that she cannot keep holding on to the image of Kate's "ghost". As she prepares to visit Kate's mother in New York, Gary upgrades Alan and Celia's tickets for their belated honeymoon to New Zealand and Australia, whilst Gillian and Robbie are to have use of his apartment in Mallorca for their own honeymoon.

Series 4 (2016)[edit]

Series Four consists of two episodes featured as Christmas Specials.[35]

No. Title Directed by Written by UK viewers
(in millions)
Original air date
19"Episode 1"Juliet MaySally Wainwright7.3019 December 2016 (2016-12-19)
Gillian believes she's being haunted by Eddie. A new headship for Caroline means the family must move. Their new home in Huddersfield is a ramshackle farmhouse. When Alan tries to discuss his burial wishes with Gillian, things become problematic.
20"Episode 2"Juliet MaySally Wainwright7.2120 December 2016 (2016-12-20)
As she continues to be haunted by Eddie's death, Gillian makes a major decision about her life. Caroline finally reveals to Gillian the truth about her acceptance of her new position. Alan must face his fears on the night of Celia's play.


  1. ^ "Interview with writer, Sally Wainwright". BBC Press Office. BBC Online. 13 August 2012. Retrieved 17 April 2013.
  2. ^ "Last Tango in Halifax: Anne Reid interview". The Telegraph. 19 November 2013. Retrieved 8 January 2015.
  3. ^ "Anne Reid's slow-burn success: The Our Zoo star on the surgeon's knife, bedding Daniel Craig and having a late-blooming career". The Independent. 6 September 2014. Retrieved 8 January 2015.
  4. ^ "Last Tango in Halifax on BBC1 tonight with Sarah Lancashire, Derek Jacobi, Anne Reid and Nicola Walker". Scunthorpe Telegraph. 4 January 2015. Retrieved 8 January 2015.
  5. ^ Wyatt, Daisy (11 December 2012). "BBC One drama Last Tango in Halifax re-commissioned for second series". The Independent. Independent Print Limited. Retrieved 18 April 2013.
  6. ^ "BBC One commissions third series of Last Tango In Halifax". BBC Media Centre. 24 December 2013. Retrieved 5 November 2014.
  7. ^ a b "Last Tango in Halifax, Series 3 Episode 1". BBC. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
  8. ^ Gill, James (2 February 2015). "Last Tango in Halifax series four confirmed". Radio Times. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h Based on 28 day consolidated ratings data from BARB
  10. ^ a b c "Viewing Data — Top Tens". BARB. Archived from the original on 13 January 2013. Retrieved 6 March 2014.
  11. ^ "Weekly Top 10 Programmes: BBC1 w/e 25 November 2012". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Archived from the original on 13 January 2013. Retrieved 5 November 2014.
  12. ^ "Last Tango in Halifax: Episode 1". BBC Media Centre. Retrieved 5 November 2014.
  13. ^ "Weekly Top 10 Programmes: BBC1 w/e 2 December 2014". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Archived from the original on 13 January 2013. Retrieved 5 November 2014.
  14. ^ "Last Tango in Halifax: Episode 2". BBC Media Centre. Retrieved 5 November 2014.
  15. ^ "Weekly Top 10 Programmes: BBC1 w/e 9 December 2012". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Archived from the original on 13 January 2013. Retrieved 5 November 2014.
  16. ^ "Last Tango in Halifax: Episode 3". BBC Media Centre. Retrieved 5 November 2014.
  17. ^ "Weekly Top 10 Programmes: BBC1 w/e 16 December 2012". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Archived from the original on 13 January 2013. Retrieved 5 November 2014.
  18. ^ "Last Tango in Halifax: Episode 4". BBC Media Centre. Retrieved 5 November 2014.
  19. ^ a b "Weekly Top 10 Programmes: BBC1 w/e 23 December 2012". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Archived from the original on 13 January 2013. Retrieved 5 November 2014.
  20. ^ "Last Tango in Halifax: Episode 5". BBC Media Centre. Retrieved 5 November 2014.
  21. ^ "Last Tango in Halifax: Episode 6". BBC Media Centre. Retrieved 5 November 2014.
  22. ^ "Weekly Top 10 Programmes: BBC1 w/e 24 November 2013". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Archived from the original on 13 January 2013. Retrieved 5 November 2014.
  23. ^ "Last Tango in Halifax: Episode 1". BBC Media Centre. Retrieved 6 March 2014.
  24. ^ "Weekly Top 10 Programmes: BBC1 w/e 1 December 2013". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Archived from the original on 13 January 2013. Retrieved 5 November 2014.
  25. ^ "Last Tango in Halifax: Episode 2". BBC Media Centre. Retrieved 6 March 2014.
  26. ^ "Weekly Top 10 Programmes: BBC1 w/e 8 December 2013". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Archived from the original on 13 January 2013. Retrieved 5 November 2014.
  27. ^ "Last Tango in Halifax: Episode 3". BBC Media Centre. Retrieved 6 March 2014.
  28. ^ "Weekly Top 10 Programmes: BBC1 w/e 15 December 2013". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Archived from the original on 13 January 2013. Retrieved 5 November 2014.
  29. ^ "Last Tango in Halifax: Episode 4". BBC Media Centre. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
  30. ^ "Weekly Top 10 Programmes: BBC1 w/e 22 December 2013". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Archived from the original on 13 January 2013. Retrieved 5 November 2014.
  31. ^ "Last Tango in Halifax: Episode 5". BBC Media Centre. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
  32. ^ "Weekly Top 30 Programmes: BBC1 w/e 24 November 2013". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 5 November 2014.
  33. ^ "Last Tango in Halifax: Episode 6". BBC Media Centre. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
  34. ^ "Weekly Top 30 Programmes: BBC1 w/e 25 January 2015".
  35. ^

External links[edit]