Lip Service (TV series)

Lip Service
Created by Harriet Braun
Written by Harriet Braun
Directed by John McKay
Starring See Cast
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of series 2
No. of episodes 12 - Episode List
Executive producer(s) Derek Wax
Production company(s) Kudos Film & Television
BBC Scotland
Original network BBC Three
Original release 12 October 2010 (2010-10-12) – 25 May 2012
External links

Lip Service is a British television serial drama portraying the lives of a group of lesbians living in Glasgow, Scotland. Production on the show, which stars Laura Fraser, Ruta Gedmintas and Fiona Button, began in summer 2009 in Glasgow.[1] The show debuted on BBC Three on 12 October 2010.[2] Filming on a second series was confirmed in late 2010,[3] with filming beginning on 30 May 2011.[4] The second series aired on BBC Three from 20 April 2012.[5] In January 2013, shows creator, Harriet Braun, announced that BBC Three cancelled the series without explanation.[6]


Actor Character Role Series
Laura Fraser Cat MacKenzie An architect with an anxious, neurotic personality. She is constantly torn between an old love or a new future. 1 - 2
Ruta Gedmintas Frankie Alan A brash, impulsive woman, known for her promiscuous ways. She is secretly still in love with Cat, despite having abandoned her prior to the series. 1 - 2
Fiona Button Tess Roberts A struggling actress who is often unlucky in love, which causes her to feel insecure. 1 - 2
Emun Elliott Jay Bryan Adams Cat's friend and co-worker, a straight male who often can't restrain himself where beautiful women are concerned. 1 - 2
James Anthony Pearson Ed MacKenzie Cat's younger brother, a science-fiction author who shares Tess' frustrations with their romantic lives. 1 - 2
Roxanne McKee Lou Foster A television personality who has a secret relationship with one of the characters but wavers between her feelings and her career. 1
Heather Peace Detective Sergeant Sam Murray Cat's girlfriend throughout the series, a fiercely independent woman who is afraid to show vulnerability. 1 - 2
Natasha O'Keeffe Sadie Anderson A notorious bad girl who dates Frankie briefly but then breaks off on her own. 1 - 2
Cush Jumbo Becky Love Jay's fiancee, who apparently brought an end to his man-whore ways. 1
Anna Skellern Dr. Lexy Price A hospital doctor and roommate to Tess and Frankie/Sadie, who often laments her poor choices in romantic partners. 2
Adam Sinclair Dr. Declan Love Lexy's gay co-worker. 2
Alana Hood Nurse Bea Lexy's married co-worker, with whom she has a no-strings-attached relationship. 2


Series 1

No. # Title Directed by Written by Original air date Production code Viewers
11"Episode 1"John McKayHarriet Braun12 October 2010 (2010-10-12)101580,000
When Frankie returns to Glasgow to investigate a mysterious message left by her dying aunt, her sudden reappearance rocks ex-girlfriend Cat, who is re-entering the dating scene after Frankie left her heartbroken two years earlier. Her mind is preoccupied with thoughts of Frankie during her blind date with policewoman Sam. Aspiring actress Tess has a humiliating run-in with her ex-girlfriend, but things start to look up when she finds herself being hit on by a gorgeous, and supposedly straight, TV presenter.
22"Episode 2"John McKayHarriet Braun19 October 2010 (2010-10-19)102579,000[7]
Frankie puts herself in danger as she follows a lead that might unravel the mystery of her past. Fate gives Cat a second chance when she runs into policewoman Sam, but she may not truly be ready to forget Frankie. Tess makes a fool of herself on live television and it becomes clear that Lou is nowhere near ready to go public with their relationship.
33"Episode 3"Harry BradbeerChloe Moss26 October 2010 (2010-10-26)103464,000
Cat and Sam are enjoying a honeymoon period, but cracks begin to show as Frankie's presence becomes an issue. Jay sets out to prove that he's not too old for the office intern, but has to think on his feet when a flirtatious encounter leaves her unconscious. Tess gets more than she bargained for when she turns up at Lou's flat unannounced and there's a shocking revelation that throws Frankie's very identity into question.
44"Episode 4"Harry BradbeerJulie Cearey2 November 2010 (2010-11-02)104580,000[8]
Cat puts her relationship on the line when she lies to Sam while Tess tries internet dating but finds no luck. Frankie and Jay make what seems to be a big mistake.
55"Episode 5"Julian HolmesJohn Jackson9 November 2010 (2010-11-09)105508,000[9]
It's Tess's birthday but the party does not quite go as planned.
66"Episode 6"Julian HolmesHarriet Braun16 November 2010 (2010-11-16)106534,000[10]
Tess has an audition that could change her career but gets stuck in a lift with Jay. Meanwhile Sam confronts Frankie, leaving the latter to buy a ticket to go back to New York. Cat attempts to stop Frankie from leaving Glasgow.

Series 2

No. # Title Directed by Written by Original air date Production code Viewers
11"Episode 1"Sallie AprahamianHarriet Braun20 April 2012 (2012-04-20)[11]201TBA
After a loved-up month in South America, Cat and Sam arrive back in Glasgow. Having run away from her affair with Frankie, Cat has to deal with seeing her again. Tess has it all - new job, pad and girlfriend - but her first day at work and the arrival of a new flatmate throws up some surprises.
22"Episode 2"Sallie AprahamianHarriet Braun27 April 2012 (2012-04-27)[12]202TBA
It's Cat's birthday and Sam has planned the perfect day, but Cat feels like a total fraud because she's still sleeping with Frankie, who offers her a very different sort of present. When Tess leaves work early, events take an unexpected turn.
33"Episode 3"Sallie AprahamianJohn Jackson4 May 2012 (2012-05-04)[13]203TBA
Sam struggles to deal with everyone fussing around her, while Sadie catches the eye of a fearsome magazine editor during a job interview, and Frankie makes a drastic decision. Tess enlists Ed's help with the difficult Nora, but is unprepared for the consequences.
44"Episode 4"Jill RobertsonRachel Anthony11 May 2012 (2012-05-11)[14]204TBA
Sadie's irreverent take on waitressing lands her in trouble, and when Lauren turns up at the restaurant to apologise for snubbing her in the office, the pair end up spending an afternoon together in a hotel room. Lexy suspects Bea is jealous of her plan to take Sam to a wine-tasting event, causing her to question whether their casual arrangement is as straightforward as she thought, while Tess goes on an impromptu blind date with Meg, a friend of Nora and Ed's.
55"Episode 5"Jill RobertsonLouise Ironside18 May 2012 (2012-05-18)[15]205TBA
When Sam makes an unexpected visit to the flat, a wedge is driven between her and her friends. The situation with Lexy's stalker intensifies but luckily Tess is on hand to help, although Hugh proves an obstacle. Sadie's relationship with Lauren heats up.
66"Episode 6"Jill RobertsonLena Rae25 May 2012 (2012-05-25)[16]206TBA
On the day of her first performance, Tess has high hopes for her and Lexy, but things go far from smoothly at the theatre. Sam is also under pressure to lead a major drugs bust, but Ryder is sure that she's not ready. Sadie's weakness for temptation leads her into hot water.


Braun was asked by the BBC to create a UK-based lesbian drama; she stated that the first scene that came to mind when she began writing was "a woman crying in an inappropriate place after finding out her ex is seeing someone else" followed by "someone returning from New York and throwing her ex into a state of panic". Those two scenes resulted in the creation of the three lead characters: Cat and Frankie, and Tess.[17]

Braun gave each of the actors an outline of their character, and then let them develop the full characterisation. For Gedmintas, this included cutting her previously long blond hair to a close cut bob.[18] A rumor arose that the director gave each cast member a manual on lesbian sex, which they were expected to read before shooting began, but Braun confirmed in an interview with Australia's Star Observer that this was only a myth. The first series was shot in its entirety in Glasgow in winter 2009/10.



The first episode debuted with 580,000 viewers, picking up an additional 8,000 viewers on the BBC HD channel. It had an audience share of 4.4%.[19]

Critical response

The opening episode received mixed reviews from critics. Claudia Cahalane of The Guardian wrote that it was "hugely significant" for a drama to normalise lesbian and bisexual relationships, citing a study of BBC output which found that lesbians contributed to just two minutes of programming from a randomly selected 39 hours of broadcasts. While Cahalane expressed disappointment that the episode did not represent butch lesbians, she deemed it "important to recognise Lip Service for the great service it's doing to British lesbians."[20] Keith Watson of the Metro attacked the series' tokenism, suggesting that it included lipstick lesbian clichés to meet the BBC's diversity quota, and commenting that, "It was trying so hard to be modern and liberated but it felt tired and lazy".[21] The Independent's Amol Rajan criticized the episode's "pathetically vacuous plot", calling the series "spirit-cripplingly tedious". He expressed sympathy for the "clearly talented" cast, opining: "In trying to make a point about the importance of engaging with lesbian issues, this show ends up trivialising them. The lesbians are presented to us not as interesting people, or characters who warrant sympathy; rather, they matter purely because of their sexual preferences. That is immature, patronising, and unrealistic."[22] Evangelical pressure group the Christian Institute reported that the episode had prompted complaints from viewers over its sexual content.[23]


  1. Johnson, Chris (23 October 2009). "Hollyoaks star Roxanne McKee goes hell for leather as she shoots 'sexiest ever' BBC drama". Daily Mail. London: Associated Newspapers. Retrieved 11 October 2010.
  2. "BBC - Press Office - Network TV Programme Information BBC Week 41 Tuesday 12 October 2010". BBC Online. Retrieved 11 October 2010.
  3. "BBC - Press Office - Lip Service second series announced for BBC Three". BBC Online. Retrieved 24 December 2010.
  4. Kirkpatrick, Martha (30 May 2011). "Filming starts on second series of Lip Service". Retrieved 30 May 2011.
  5. "Lip Service". BBC Media Centre. BBC Online. Retrieved 10 April 2012.
  7. "'First Men In The Moon' attracts 830k - TV News". Digital Spy. 2010-10-20. Retrieved 2012-03-29.
  8. Plunkett, John (3 November 2010). "TV ratings: Turn Back Time: The High Street opens with 5.3m". The Guardian. London.
  9. "ITV's 'The Zoo' opens to 3.4m - TV News". Digital Spy. 2010-11-10. Retrieved 2012-03-29.
  10. "ITV Royal Engagement special fetches 5.9m - TV News". Digital Spy. 2010-11-17. Retrieved 2012-03-29.
  11. "Lip Service, Series 2, Episode 1". BBC Three. Retrieved 30 April 2012.
  12. "Lip Service, Series 2, Episode 2". BBC Three. Retrieved 30 April 2012.
  13. "Lip Service, Series 2, Episode 3". BBC Three. Retrieved 1 May 2012.
  14. "Lip Service, Series 2, Episode 4". BBC Three. Retrieved 1 May 2012.
  15. "Lip Service, Series 2, Episode 5". BBC Three. Retrieved 18 May 2012.
  16. "Lip Service, Series 2, Episode 6". BBC Three. Retrieved 30 April 2012.
  17. Braun, Harriet (5 October 2010). "BBC - BBC Three - Blog: Creating brand new lesbian drama Lip Service". Retrieved 30 May 2011.
  18. Sarah and Lee (18 October 2010). "Great LezBritain: Interview with Ruta Gedmintas from 'Lip Service'". Retrieved 30 May 2011.
  19. Plunkett, John (13 October 2010). "TV ratings - 12 October: BBC3's Lip Service kicks off with 580,000 viewers". The Guardian. London: Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 15 October 2010.
  20. Cahalane, Claudia (13 October 2010). "Lip Service is groundbreaking – whatever its star says". The Guardian. London: Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 15 October 2010.
  21. Watson, Keith (12 October 2010). "Lip Service did lesbians a disservice". Metro. Associated Newspapers. Retrieved 15 October 2010.
  22. Rajan, Amol (13 October 2010). "Last Night's TV - Lip Service, BBC3; Tom Daley: the Diver and His Dad, BBC1". The Independent. London: Independent Print Limited. Retrieved 15 October 2010.
  23. "Viewers outraged over BBC's new lesbian show". Christian Institute. 15 October 2010. Retrieved 15 October 2010.
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