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Last Tango in Halifax creator reveals touching real-life story behind show 

Alan and Celia were based on real-life couple - find out more

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Emmy Griffiths
Emmy GriffithsTV & Film Editor
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Last Tango in Halifax is nearly back on our screens for season five after a long, four-year wait, and the show's creator Sally Wainwright has opened up about the beautiful real-life story that inspired the BBC drama. The series follows Alan and Celia, two schoolmates who haven't seen one another for almost 60 years, but who fall in love and get married in their 70s. Sally revealed that the show was inspired by her own mother, who married an old school friend after reconnecting with him on Friends Reunited. 

WATCH: Last Tango in Halifax series five trailer

Chatting at a Q&A, she explained: "It was based on what happened to my mum. She got married again at 75 to this guy. My dad died and my sister put her on Friends Reunited and she got in touch with two people from her class - she was 73 at this point. Alec Walker got in touch with her and they meet up and had tea - and it turned out that he always had a bit of a crush on her when they were at school." 

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Celia and Alan were based on Sally's mother Dorothy and her husband Alec

She continued: "Unlike the story, my mum didn't have a crush on him, she couldn't quite remember who he was! But then she did fall in love with him. They absolutely fell in love with each other at 75. It was really uplifting and beautiful and extraordinary. But they were very different. He was a really, genuinely lovely man. But that's where good drama comes from, complex people." Alec sadly passed away in 2009, and Sally told the Daily Mail that her mother, Dorothy, now has dementia - but that she loved watching the show and was a huge fan of the character based on her, Celia. 

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Derek Jacobi and Anne Reid play the Buttershaws

She said: "She was thrilled about it. She loved Celia. Like Celia, Mum called a spade a spade. But she was so proud of Last Tango because it was such a beautiful story and she felt, like I did, that falling in love at 75 was something to be celebrated." 

READ: Last Tango in Halifax star reveals Alan and Celia's marriage troubles