For Maddie With Love (1981) | Moving Image : Complete Episode

For Maddie with Love is a 1980 British television drama serial dealing with Maddie’s discovery that she has a brain tumour and only a few months to live.

This 48-part (30 minute) daytime serial, written by Douglas Watkinson was made by ATV and shown on British television beginning in May 1980. Maddie was played by Nyree Dawn Porter [1] and her husband (Malcolm) by Ian Hendry.[2] The series ran over two years from 1980 to 1981 and was published as a novel in 1980 by NEL books. (ATV lost their licence to broadcast in 1981.) It has never been repeated or remade.

Unusually the setting for the drama looked more like that of a theatre piece. Partial sets were used with only the furniture and background items strictly needed for each scene. (Typical was the conservatory which consisted of a few cane chairs, plants, some dividers and Malcolm’s painting of Maddie.) This gave the look a slightly surreal feel but one that drew the viewer in. It was given a daytime afternoon slot, one for which it was expected to get a mainly female based following. The quality of the writing and the acting soon meant that its viewing audience widened. However as it was never shown during peak viewing times it did not become as well known as it might.

Nyree Dawn Porter – Maddie
Ian Hendry – Malcolm
Colin Baker
Tony Boncza
John Breslin
Robert Duncan
Robert Lang
Bruce Montague
Paul Whitworth


Maddie starts to realise that her body is not functioning normally. Although she tries to hide it, eventually her son sees her fall and insists she sees a doctor. She is diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour. This is the start of the family’s journey with Maddie until she eventually dies. The story centres on the interplay between Maddie and her husband Malcolm, examining the illusive and sometimes surreal nature of their relationship. At the same time family problems keep putting demands on Maddie’s time and energy. Her daughter Gilly is pregnant after having had a miscarriage. Her two sons have the normal but pressing mix of young men’s problems. Gordon is the cool solicitor and Neil her youngest at university. We see the family first descend into chaos and then learn to pull together for Maddie’s sake. Malcolm cannot accept Maddie’s death until one day his children are once again gathered around the dining table and she is not there.