Fat Friends (also known as Kay Mellor’s Fat Friends) is a British drama that aired on ITV from 12 October 2000 to 24 March 2005, consisting of 25 episodes over four series. Set in Leeds, the series explores the lives of several slimming club members, with a focus on the various ways their weight has impacted upon them.

Fat Friends
Created byKay Mellor
Written by
Opening theme"Perfect 10", performed by The Beautiful South
ComposerMark Russell
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series4
No. of episodes25
Running time60 minutes (per episode)
Production companies
Original networkITV
Original release12 October 2000 (2000-10-12) –
24 March 2005 (2005-03-24)
Midgley's fish and chip shop in Moor Grange, Leeds, featured as "Big and Battered".

The series was created by Kay Mellor and made by Rollem Productions in association with Tiger Aspect Productions and Yorkshire Television. Four of the cast – Ruth Jones, James Corden, Sheridan Smith and Alison Steadman – went on to appear in the sitcom Gavin & Stacey. Jonathan Ryland who played Kevin, the husband to Ruth Jones' character also appeared in Gavin and Stacey as the celebrant who presided when Pete and Dawn renewed their wedding vows.

Premise Edit

Fat Friends is set around a slimming club in the Headingley district of Leeds. The club is run by the formidable Carol (Janet Dibley), who fruitlessly tries to persuade the members of the group to follow the "Super Slimmers" diet. The characters who attend the club are from varied backgrounds and of varied weight. Whilst some plots continue throughout all four series, each episode focuses on one particular character.

Main cast and characters Edit

Episodes Edit

Series overview Edit

SeriesEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
1612 October 2000 (2000-10-12)16 November 2000 (2000-11-16)
275 September 2002 (2002-09-05)17 October 2002 (2002-10-17)
361 January 2004 (2004-01-01)4 February 2004 (2004-02-04)
4617 February 2005 (2005-02-17)24 March 2005 (2005-03-24)

Series 1 (2000) Edit

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
11"Love Me Slender"David WheatleyKay Mellor12 October 2000 (2000-10-12)
Kelly Simpson is determined to get in her two sizes two small wedding dress in time for her big day meanwhile at the slimming club her mum Betty has won through to the regional finals of Superslimmers 2000 even though her husband isn't that happy about her losing weight.
22"Fat Chónce"David WheatleyKay Mellor19 October 2000 (2000-10-19)
Alan Ashburn is losing weight for his 20th wedding anniversary celebrations but a romantic meal out with his wife ends in their relationship falling apart
33"Fat Free"David WheatleyKay Mellor26 October 2000 (2000-10-26)
Actress Lauren Harris has won herself a part in a soap she is convinced that losing five pounds would make her a better actress, she is also having problems with her mum who is convinced she is anorexic and her boyfriend Gareth whose nickname for her is pudding.
44"Growing Pains"Audrey CookeKay Mellor2 November 2000 (2000-11-02)
15 year old member of Superslimmers Jamie reveals the reasons for his depressed state - his mother is battling with depression and he is being teased at school, he eventually decides he can't cope with the pressure of it all and contemplates suicide.
55"Face the Fat"Audrey CookeKay Mellor9 November 2000 (2000-11-09)
Val prepares to launch her new magazine, but the quest for something trendy to wear and a call to an escort agency for a partner to attend the bash produce further revelations about the slimming world : and herself.
66"When the Fat Lady Sings"Audrey CookeKay Mellor16 November 2000 (2000-11-16)
Val prepares to launch her new magazine, but the quest for something trendy to wear and a call to an escort agency for a partner to attend the bash produce further revelations about the slimming world : and herself.

Series 2 (2002) Edit

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
71"Full Belly"Audrey CookeKay Mellor5 September 2002 (2002-09-05)
Carol faces her own problems this week when her husband leaves her leaving her alone with her son and things then turn a horrible twist when Carol decides to go on a diet.
82"Peaches and Dreams"Audrey CookeKay Mellor12 September 2002 (2002-09-12)
Birthday blues are the least of Val's problems. Mistrust, jealousy and insecurity turn her world upside down after she confronts her male escort lover about what he gets up to with his clients.
93"Forty and In-fat-urated"Tania DíezJayne Daniel & Kay Mellor19 September 2002 (2002-09-19)
The arrival of divorce papers send bus driver Alan's blood pressure rocketing, with the result that he fails a medical and loses his job.
104"Sweet and Sour"Dan ZeffKay Mellor26 September 2002 (2002-09-26)
Lonely teenager Jamie thinks his fortunes have changed when he makes the acquaintance of second-hand car dealer Craig. He spends his 17th-birthday money on flash clothes and a mobile phone in a desperate bid to fit in with Craig's crowd, but soon realises his new friend is a shady operator with a criminal past - can his policeman father help him cut his ties with the villain?
115"Sticky Fingers"Dan ZeffGaynor Faye & Kay Mellor3 October 2002 (2002-10-03)
Despite being overweight, Rebecca Patterson is generally content with life - particularly as her job as the assistant manager at a garden centre allows her to work alongside the man she secretly adores. But the shy and retiring twentysomething's cosy world is shattered by the return of a figure from her past, who proceeds to subject her to cruel psychological tortures.
126"In Full Bloom"Tania DíezLisa Holdsworth & Kay Mellor10 October 2002 (2002-10-10)
Betty Simpson's already stressful life takes another twist when her childhood sweetheart joins the slimming club, prompting the return of long-suppressed feelings and revelations about a dark secret from her past.
137"Hunger Pangs"Audrey CookeKay Mellor17 October 2002 (2002-10-17)
Kelly is still longing for a baby and her and Kevin are still trying like mad but is there more to their baby making problems than meets the eye.

Series 3 (2004) Edit

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
141"Eat Your Heart Out"John DeeryKay Mellor1 January 2004 (2004-01-01)
It's Christmas Eve, and the Count with Carol gang are appearing live on Trisha to debate the pros and cons of dieting - but the talk turns to something altogether more interesting when Betty inadvertently blurts out to the entire viewing nation that she has a secret son. To add to her problems, she also discovers that husband Douglas hasn't been entirely honest about the family's income. Little does she know, however, that her TV appearance will bring her an unexpected gift - one she's been waiting for most of her life.
152"Leggs Over Easy"John AndersonGaynor Faye & Kay Mellor7 January 2004 (2004-01-07)
Things go from bad to worse for Kelly. Still trying to deal with the news of her mum's past, problems start to occur in her marriage resulting in her sleeping with her husband, Kevin's gay brother and when all is revealed things get even worse for Kelly especially when Kelly finds out she's pregnant but the main question is who is the father?
163"Food for Thought"John AndersonGaynor Faye & Kay Mellor14 January 2004 (2004-01-14)
Carol faces problems this week when she realises she has fallen for fitness instructor Max which ends up causing problems with her teenage son.
174"Bacon, Bagels and the Bishop"Lance KneeshawKatie Baxendale & Kay Mellor21 January 2004 (2004-01-21)
Lauren has the chance to make all her acting dreams come true - but at the price of losing everything and everybody that matters. Can she get back her friends when she needs them most?
185"Afters"Lance KneeshawKay Mellor & Debbie Oates28 January 2004 (2004-01-28)
Rebecca decides it is time to leave home. Her boyfriend Sean is keen to help with the move, but her break for independence is short-lived when tragedy strikes and Norma needs support.
196"Food of Love"Lance KneeshawKatie Baxendale & Kay Mellor4 February 2004 (2004-02-04)
Jamie's love life picks up when he falls for a beautiful woman who falls for him too but when obstacles fall in their place like the fact she has a daughter and an ex-prisoner ex-boyfriend will things turn out for the best for the Jamie. The gang also head back to the Trisha show for their final weigh in while Jamie provides the food, Kelly gives birth to a baby boy. Note: This episode sees the guest appearance of Trisha Goddard

Series 4 (2005) Edit

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
201"Enough to Go Around"John DeeryKay Mellor17 February 2005 (2005-02-17)
We meet the group as they struggle back from a Spanish hotel they won as a result of their appearance on Trisha. Betty can't wait to get home, so intent is she on seeing her son Simon.
212"Second Helpings"Lance KneeshawGaynor Faye & Kay Mellor24 February 2005 (2005-02-24)
Kelly starts to moan about Betty's friendship with her long-lost son and she starts to mistreat Kev. She is then tempted by Max. As Kev gets a new assistant in the chip shop. Will Kelly be able to hold it together with her new fitness coach Max?
223"Angel's Delight"Lance KneeshawRuth Jones & Kay Mellor3 March 2005 (2005-03-03)
Norma throws herself into pensioner speed dating and after two glasses of wine decides to advertise herself on the local radio lonely hearts phone-in. It's not long before a queue of eligible men has formed around the block but it's the dashing Eddie who captures her heart. Bowling, dancing and romancing ensue and soon a weekend in Filey is on the cards. But is Eddie all he seems?
234"Get Out of the Kitchen"Lance KneeshawGaynor Faye & Kay Mellor10 March 2005 (2005-03-10)
We focus on Jamie this week, Claire and her little girl have moved in with him. But are her feelings of sickness more then just a dodgy curry? The barmaid at Woody's seems to know the answer and so much more as she doesn't even know Claire by that name. Rebecca suspects the truth but keeps her mouth shut until it's too late. Claire is then hit by a car resulting in her death and Jamie decides to fight for custody of Claire's daughter.
245"Healthy Options"John AndersonKay Mellor & Debbie Oates17 March 2005 (2005-03-17)
The friends head off for a free weekend at a health spa. Carol has done a dodgy deal as all of a sudden the friends are booked for a photo shoot, some parts are ok yet others are a little bit revealing. Max and Carol flirt with each other what ends up a little bit more then they both suspected, Carol then finds out about Max's past and decides not to go with him. They end up together at the end of the episode. While Lauren has decided that this is her perfect chance to get beautified before the wedding, and Norma seems more intent on eating the fruit then wearing it.
256"Icing on the Cake"John AndersonKay Mellor & Debbie Oates24 March 2005 (2005-03-24)
Lauren's wedding day approaches. She's always being the skinniest of the bunch but not without problems. Having found her dream man in Vicar, Paul, she also gets a shot at fame as a weathergirl. Only Paul seems jealous of her success, while her parents refuse to come to the wedding. She's got a fabulous frock and a man willing to make a sacrifice for her, but will there be a happy ending?

Ratings Edit

Series 1
Episode No. Airdate Total Viewers[1] ITV Weekly Rank[1]
1.1 12 October 2000 10,370,000 13
1.2 19 October 2000 8,660,000 16
1.3 26 October 2000 9,190,000 16
1.4 2 November 2000 9,140,000 15
1.5 9 November 2000 8,790,000 16
1.6 16 November 2000 9,610,000 16
Series 2
Episode No. Airdate Total Viewers[1] ITV Weekly Rank[1]
2.1 5 September 2002 7,810,000 16
2.2 12 September 2002 7,260,000 14
2.3 19 September 2002 7,280,000 12
2.4 26 September 2002 6,610,000 16
2.5 3 October 2002 6,450,000 18
2.6 10 October 2002 6,990,000 15
2.7 17 October 2002 7,020,000 16
Series 3
Episode No. Airdate Total Viewers[1] ITV Weekly Rank[1]
3.1 1 January 2004 6,470,000 23
3.2 7 January 2004 7,360,000 19
3.3 14 January 2004 7,470,000 18
3.4 21 January 2004 7,540,000 17
3.5 28 January 2004 8,690,000 22
3.6 4 February 2004 7,240,000 22
Series 4
Episode No. Airdate Total Viewers[1] ITV Weekly Rank[1]
4.1 17 February 2005 6,560,000 18
4.2 24 February 2005 7,510,000 15
4.3 3 March 2005 7,030,000 19
4.4 10 March 2005 5,600,000 20
4.5 17 March 2005 6,050,000 20
4.6 24 March 2005 5,790,000 19

Awards and nominations Edit

Home media Edit

Region 2

A VHS of the first series was released on 24 June 2002. The first three series of Fat Friends have been released on DVD in the United Kingdom via Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

  • Fat Friends: Series One (released 21 March 2005)
  • Fat Friends: Series Two (released 18 April 2005)
  • Fat Friends: Series Three (released 18 April 2005)
  • Fat Friends: The Complete Series 1, 2 & 3 (released 21 March 2005)

Region 1

  • Fat Friends: Season One (released 13 February 2007)

Stage musical adaptation Edit

Grand Theatre in Leeds decorated for Fat Friends the Musical.

A stage musical adaptation of the series directed and written by original creator, Kay Mellor, with music by Nicholas Lloyd Webber made its world premiere at the Grand Theatre in Leeds on 7 November 2017 before embarking on a UK tour, starring Jodie Prenger as Kelly Stevenson.[2]

References Edit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Weekly top 30 programmes on TV sets (July 1998 – Sept 2018)". barb.co.uk. Retrieved 20 May 2023.
  2. ^ "Jodie Prenger to star in Fat Friends The Musical premiere". WhatsOnStage.com. Retrieved 19 January 2017.

External links Edit