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  • Words can not express what a truly amazing work of art this series is the acting is amazing it is british drama at its best. Patricia Hodge is perfect as Mary Fisher the beautiful novelist and you have to watch it to believe how truly disgusting julie t wallace is as scorned wife ruth. Add in the wonderful Dennis Waterman and a supporting role from miriam margolles as a lesbian nurse and tom baker as a lecherous priest and you know your in for some comedy. It is one of the first productions that have stayed close to the original novel. The best part is the ending which is very dramatic and not a soppy romantic ending a truly twisted programme just sit back and enjoy. PLEASE BRING IT OUT ON VIDEO / DVD DON'T HIDE IT AWAY
  • This is some of the best story-telling and acting ever to be seen on the small screen(or the big screen for that matter). A drama with a lot of dark and dry humor. We identify with Ruth, the main character, so thoroughly that we cheer her on as she devises her retribution against her betraying husband and his perfect mistress. But as we watch Ruth take control of her life and we relish her complicated revenge, we become more and more disturbed by the extreme methods she uses. I don't remember when I've encountered another character who was so completely compelling and repelling at the same time. The movie is somewhat slow to start and slow paced, but every minute of this 6 hour mini-series is worth watching. Those of us who were prepared with a vcr are very lucky in that this will not be broadcast very often, nor is it a likely candidate to be released on video.
  • I saw this series eleven years ago on the A&E network and was absolutely enthralled. One of the best parts is when Ruth frees Mary's hilariously senile mother from a retirement home and releases her on Mary's beautiful world. In an age when every irritating, mindless piece of you-know-what is released on tape and DVD, it astounds me that this masterpiece remains mysteriously shelved somewhere.
  • I would argue that this work ranks as one of the best made-for-television mini-series ever; its just a stunner, and great great fun. And definitely made for adults! The fatal flaw in the story is that it ultimately makes absolutely no sense for the strong-willed and capable lead character to be in such relentless pursuit to repossess an ex-spouse who clearly isn't worth anything, but its a wild ride while it lasts. I am so happy that I taped it :)
  • I can't say enough positive things about this film. It's possible the best translation of a novel into film I've ever seen. Most of the book's sharp astounding satirical/absurd plot turns have been retained & are rendered with penetrating, even devastating effect. The performances, especially those of Patricia Hodge & Julie T. Wallace, are just perfect. One of my favorite films based on one of my favorite books by one of my favorite authors!
  • After viewing the movie version with Meryl Streep, Roseanne and co.,(which I found to be somewhat mediocre), it came as a complete shock, when I later viewed this earlier edition, directed by Philip Saville.

    It is one of the best movies, which I have ever seen, (and still remains so).

    I can only put down the difference, to the screen-play which was admirablely written by Ted Whitehead.
  • dijana717 September 2000
    It has been years since I have seen this series, but it has stayed permanently embedded in my mind. Everything that poor Ruth went through and then to see her revenge acted out was perfect. One of the few movies I have seen that does not diminish the quality of the book. 10/10

    PS - The movie with Rosanne and Meryl Streep (She-Devil) fails miserably in capturing even a bit of the excellence of this series.
  • This is one of the best transpositions of a novel to film I have ever seen. Unfortunately few people in the US know about this production; they know only about the atrocious version with Roseanne & M. Streep. The casting & acting in this one are flawless. One of my favorite books & one of my favorite films.
  • This movie has been on my mind for years. It was one of a very few perfect productions. The actors were on the mark, the story suspenseful, with unexpected frankness (for that time) in it's treatment of infidelity and the clergy. At the same time, it was funny as hell. Why it has not been replayed is a mystery. Let's all say a prayer for it's return.
  • I loved the BBC version of Fay Weldon's "The Life and Loves of a She-Devil" and taped all of it. It was one of my most valuable tapes. I managed a restaurant in SoHo named Aggie's at that time and Linda Hunt was a regular there. When i learned that Linda was a part of Roseanne's project "She Devil" based on "The Life and Loves of a She-Devil" I loaned her my copy so that she could see the original and hopefully do it justice. Well Linda flew off to L.A. to film and that was the last time I saw my tape. A story about a 6'2" warted woman played by a 5'4" Roseanne did no justice to the original and now I can only hope that the BBC releases "The Life and Loves of a She-Devil" on DVD or Linda Hunt e mails me at to make arraignments to return my tape. Lawrence
  • Saw this on A&E back in '92 or so, too bad I didn't tape it. It was excellent. The more popular She-Devil movie is a horrible travesty of this work.

    The main character is a woman who is extremely unappreciated by her husband. She is so demoralized by him that she exacts a increasingly insidious revenge.

    Excellent because it is so believable, accurate portrayal of the darker side of human emotions.

    If you notice this will be on cable soon, please email me and let me know what channel!!

  • I think it's fair to say that the BBC made some incredibly good dramas during the 1980's, and for my money The lives and loves of a She Devil rates as possibly the best of the lot. It is the ultimate black tale of lust, betrayal, jealousy, and absolute wrathful revenge.

    The first thing I was struck by was the intoxicating femininity of Patricia Hodge, never before have I seen her look so glamorous, delicate and beautiful, she was exquisitely cast as Mary Fisher. Julie T Wallace made a fantastic counter to her, her performance from start to finish was nothing short of incredible, she owned that character and made her her own. Dennis Waterman has been around for ages, for me this ranks as his best ever performance.

    Brilliant supporting cast, Liz Smith adds a touch of magic that only she knows how to, she is hilarious. Tom Baker was expertly cast and is allowed to be as zany as possible, Bernard Hepton delivers a fantastic performance as the judge, and the seriously handsome Paul Herzberg is excellent as Garcia.

    Ruth's transformation is wonderfully done, you believe the hatred and venom is there behind the character. At times you wonder why two such charismatic women are so obsessed with Bobo. The music is first rate, it fits the show perfectly, it's never over the top, and those opening credits are so memorable.

    I will never forget those words 'Mary Fisher....'

    It doesn't really get any better then this. 10/10
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Quite superb! Well done for bringing this novel to the small screen. It knocks socks of the (later) film version.

    Never seen what anyone sees in Dennis Waterman (as a sex symbol, that is - he's a great actor) but all these women lust over him in this show. Mary Fisher is suitably glamorous and disintegrates as the show goes on very believably. Ruth of course is superbly played and goes from frumpy downtrodden housewife to vamp to nurse to lesbian to business supremo to SM queen to Mary Fisher! Loved it all.

    Oh and post-doctor Tom Baker is a catholic priest! And I'd hire Garcia any day! Look it out - it's on DVD now.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Okay...a long time ago, I bought the version with Roseanne and Meryl Streep and watched it, thinking it was really funny. When I saw that it was based on the book "The Life and Loves of a She-Devil", I ended up looking up the title on IMDb just to see if it was ever adapted into another version. Sure enough, it was...but it was pretty much impossible to get! Well, it was recently released in Britain on DVD and I found the Region 1 on eBay (which is probably one of the most rare items in God's green Earth). So, I watched it. I was absolutely BLOWN AWAY.

    Yes, in the Roseanne version, I thought that she had pretty mean revenge. But when I viewed this adaptation of the same...not story, as the similarities end once the characters are introduced and she does about 3 of the same things she did in this version. But anyway, in this one, her revenge is probably some of the cruelest, meanest, hardcore revenge I've ever seen. However, this wasn't at all a comedy like the other one. There were a few darkly comedic elements, like the mother ending up staying with Mary in her house, but she takes on many different disguises to get what she wants and what she does becomes increasingly weirder and more frightening, until eventually she takes a HUGE step and mutilates herself in one of the most elaborate ways imaginable! She finds a way to get surgery to transform herself into her enemy, Mary Fisher. So she goes, get's the face surgery and the liposuction and such (normal) but then she goes and gets like a foot taken off of her legs, crippling her for life and forcing her to be on blood thinners to make sure her blood doesn't clot and kill her! All of this is absent from the now mediocre-seeming Roseanne version. If you want a light-hearted comedy with a clear message, go and see that one. But if you want a rich, dark, deep story with disturbing underlying messages, seek out this one. You WON'T be sorry.

  • Warning: Spoilers
    Hello, I have this on VHS tape and due to its wear and tear, I recently bought it on DVD and it's a lot clearer and has extras on it. IMO, newcomer Julie T. Wallace was the clear star of this magnificent BBC adaptation of Fay Weldon's novel. It was a master of a movie or mini-series. I loved the scene where Wallace's character of Ruth beds the priest and they talk over religion. Wallace's eyes were sparkling as Ruth and glistened when she would bring her glowing eyes to the surface. Another favorite scene was when Ruth was being the nanny to the judge that was presiding at Bobbo's trial for embezzlement and she is trying to get the judge to indicate what he would rule in the case and suddenly she stands up and is transformed into the She-Devil right in front of the fireplace. That was her shining moment. The music was befitting to the series and Christine Collister was great in the theme song, "Warm Love Gone Cold." I would love to have a copy of that recording. Great masterpiece, superior acting, and great location shootings. Best mini-series I have ever seen. Yours, Susan
  • Possibly one of the best British - let alone Best TV mini series ever - FINALLY available to buy on DVD .

    I have waited years to see it again , the TV version is as near to the original novel as you can get in a 4 hour series . The box set with extra features including interviews with the stars etc is available in the UK on region 2 format DVD - what are you waiting for - it's 18 years since it's seen the light of day ! The casting is superb and it's nice to see the BBC all those years ago spending a few "bob" to recreate the "tower house" on the white cliffs - i hope it's still there after all these years - the cliffs keep disappearing at about a foot a year .
  • This was novel writing at its best and became TV at its best. I knew Phillip Saville, the director, and this was his best but the hard centre of sheer quality came from Fay Weldon, a friend then and still a friend. She is a really nice woman but deploys a brilliant venom in the interests of her art. She is currently (July 2001) writing her autobiography and it will be interesting to see how closely she admits to connections to her then husband Ron's behaviour.
  • I remember seeing this on Australian TV in 1987 (when I was 13 years old) and it still sticks in my mind as being one of the best, blackest, funniest, most twisted stories ever portrayed. I have since read the novel (which is fantastic) many times, and yes, have even hired out that trashy Roseanne version (which has an entirely different and blanded-out ending), but I have not seen this version re-emerge since I originally came across it. How can people let such a brilliant production slide pass the attention of the majority of the viewing public?? Release it on DVD and Video and let the viewing public witness Ruth's REAL revenge!! By the way, I think IMDb may have the production date wrong, I did indeed see this well before 1990.
  • Never missed an episode. Wish it would be repeated in Australia. My husband and my pet names for each other were Bobbo and Mary Fisher. 😀. The actors were the best.
  • I saw it when it was first broadcast and I think it is even better now than it was then. This is a real tribute to the BBC people - underpaid technicians especially - who knew how to make great programs, and a BBC with the guts to let them

    Given the time when this was made - the crude technology by todays standards, the visual quality of She Devil is brilliant. Waterman and Wallace both grossly over-act but that is done on purpose - it is an overblown piece as it is meant to be. The music on the closing credits is perfect - Christine Collister at her best.

    As for the story itself well, it is is as good as stories it get - brilliant from start to finish with literally never a dull moment. It's a bit harrowing, but if you have the strength to watch it, you really must.
  • I first saw this series in the 1980s and it was brilliant! Featuring a cast of well-known actors like Dennis Waterman, Malcolm Terris and Tom Baker, it is the story of how a flustered and frustrated accountant becomes bored with his overweight, unattractive and lazy wife to have an affair with a beautiful and talented novelist (Mary Fisher). Rather than take it on the chin, his wife changes her way of living to embark on a trail of destruction on Bobo's world in order to get him back into her life. Wallace is an amazing and credible actress, and it is a shame that she is not recognised more in the acting world. This film is both a satirical look at popular culture as well as a chilling lesson as to what consequences can erupt as a result of committing one of the worst sins of all: adultery. As the Bible clearly states "Hell has no fury like a woman scorned".
  • lbross26 December 2004
    I'm a big fan of Patricia Hodge and Mariam Margolyes, so I watched this show when it came on A&E some years ago. The show was strange to say the least, but I gave it a chance because I liked these actresses. This has got to be one of the worst shows I've ever seen. I wouldn't watch it again and certainly wouldn't waste money on buying the video. The storyline of this TV version is ludicrous and just plain stupid! The "kicker" (pun intended) comes when Ruth has surgery done on her leg bones. That kind of nonsense belongs in James Bond and Sci-Fi movies. If this version is true to the book, then I won't be checking the book out from my local library! The American version came out some years after I'd seen this original. To my surprise the Americans got it right this time, as their version with Meryl Streep and Roseanne is played for laughs and is rather funny. When played for laughs the storyline works.
  • When first broadcast back in 1986 on the BBC in the UK it was a revelation: scandalous and raunchy and obviously very much feminist and a precursor to today's #meetoo nonsense! However, in retrospect it's just bloody ridiculous!