Ladies of Letters is a BBC Radio 4 comedy series starring Patricia Routledge and Prunella Scales, based on the series of books of the same name written by Carole Hayman and Lou Wakefield. Routledge stars as Vera Small and Scales as Irene Spencer, two elderly ladies who share a sometimes rocky relationship conducted by correspondence. The success of the first series (broadcast in 1997) spawned adaptations of several sequels: More Ladies of Letters (1999); Ladies of Letters Log On (2000); Ladies of Letters.Com (2001); Ladies of Letters Make Mincemeat (2001 Christmas Special); Ladies of Letters Spring Clean (2004); Ladies of Letters Go Global (2006) and Ladies of Letters Say No (2007). Each of the 15 minute episodes come as part of BBC Radio 4's long running magazine program Woman's Hour.
Vera and Irene reveal their exploits and adventures to each other in their letters, but sometimes their correspondence becomes fractious when one accuses the other of being an alcoholic or engages in too much one-upmanship. Other characters include Vera's gay son Howard who runs a sheep farm with his partner Anthony, and her daughter Karen; and Irene's daughter Lesley. Vera and Irene always strive to outdo each other, whether with their recipes, holiday destinations or who has the best grand-children. Later in the show's run it is revealed that Irene also has a son called Christopher, who had been given up for adoption years previously.