ITV orders new Birds Of A Feather series

Tuesday 18th June 2013 @ 1:38am

Birds Of A Feather. Image shows from L to R: Sharon Theodopolopodous (Pauline Quirke), Dorien Green (Lesley Joseph), Tracey Stubbs (Linda Robson). ITV has commissioned a new series of Birds Of A Feather, the hit female-led 1990s BBC One sitcom series starring Linda Robson, Pauline Quirke and Lesley Joseph.

The commercial network has ordered eight new episodes of the show, which broadcast its last new episode in 1998. The tenth series of the sitcom will begin recording in September, and is likely to be broadcast early in 2014.

As reported in February, writers Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran had approached the BBC with a proposal to revive the series.

However, according to today's reports, which first broke via The Sun, the BBC were only interested in committing to a new Christmas special, leaving the door open for ITV to poach the format. The sitcom was originally produced by Marks and Gran's own company, Alomo, now a part of powerful production company Fremantle Media.

The Sun reporter Colin Robinson wrote: "ITV saw its chance to stage a coup and waded in, offering to make a whole series. That clinched the deal."

An ITV source told the paper: "The idea has been kicking around for a while and all the cast were up for it. Top brass heard that the writers had only been offered a one-off special at the BBC, so they decided to strike. The scripts are great and still crackling with the kind of gags that made it such a big success all those years ago. It's all very hush-hush right now but ITV are delighted that they've managed to land it."

Speaking this morning an ITV spokesperson said: "We can confirm that we have commissioned a new series of Birds Of A Feather and we're really excited to be welcoming Sharon, Tracey and Dorien to ITV. We will confirm more details in due course."

The original series ran for more than 100 episodes from 1989 to Christmas Eve 1998, telling the story of sisters Sharon Theodopolopoudos (Pauline Quirke) and Tracey Stubbs (Linda Robson), whose husbands are imprisoned together for armed bank robbery, and their man-eating next door neighbour, Dorian Green, played by Lesley Joseph. The comedy was a huge hit at the time, with audiences of over 20 million for some episodes.

The sitcom's revival has been rumoured for almost 18 months, since writer-creators Marks and Gran - whose other credits include Goodnight Sweetheart, political comedy The New Statesman and Shine On Harvey Moon - unveiled a stage version of the show, set contemporarily, some 14 years after the sisters were last seen on screen. Starring the three female leads, it played to sell out crowds across the United Kingdom during 2012, proving such a success that it has been touring again during the first half of 2013.

Birds Of A Feather. Image shows from L to R: Dorien Green (Lesley Joseph), Tracey Stubbs (Linda Robson), Sharon Theodopolopodous (Pauline Quirke). The last time TV viewers saw the characters, they had run out of cash and been forced to move out of Essex's leafy Chigwell to the more downmarket Hainault, in East London. The 2012 stage production saw the characters back in Chigwell, with Tracey's younger son Travis - now a teenager - having inherited his late dad's 'talent' for breaking and entering.

Lesley Joseph, talking last year about the possibility of the show returning, said: "They are in talks to bring back the television show, with the three of us. I'd absolutely love to do it."

She added: "Pauline, Linda and I have loved the stage show. It's a very unique bond that we have and it has been simply glorious to be a part of, it really has. We've had a fantastic time. We have packed out every night on the road and most evenings we've been getting a standing ovation. It's like we've never been away."

In an interview earlier this year, she commented: "People remember Birds Of A Feather so fondly because it didn't tail off at the end - the standard of the scripts didn't deteriorate. None of us would want to make a new series that was below standard."

The new series will be produced by Fremantle's scripted comedy division, Retort, and QuirkyMedia. Creators Marks & Gran will be joined by Gary Lawson and John Phelps, who also contributed significantly to Goodnight Sweetheart and the original BBC series of Birds Of A Feather.

ITV is currently investing in comedy projects as it searches to increase its audience share and complement long-running sitcom hit Benidorm, a sixth series of which is now filming in Spain.

The network has just renewed ITV2's Ancient Rome-set sitcom Plebs for a second series, and recently screened mainstream sitcoms The Job Lot and Vicious on flagship station ITV. Vicious will return for a Christmas special later this year, but other news as to the future of both programmes has yet to be confirmed.

Here's a clip from the first series of Birds Of A Feather:


The following video, from February 2012, sees the stars promoting the first tour of the stage production.


This story was updated at 11am to include the confirmation from ITV.


Our Guide to 'Birds Of A Feather'

 

Latest News

Christopher Lloyd joins Crackanory Series 3

Christopher Lloyd joins Crackanory Series 3

Dave has confirmed the commissioning of Crackanory Series 3, with readers set to include Back To The Future star Christopher Lloyd, Sarah Millican and Greg Davies.

Robert Lindsay to star in antiques shop sitcom Bull

Robert Lindsay to star in antiques shop sitcom Bull

Robert Lindsay and Maureen Lipman will head up the cast of Bull, a TV sitcom set in an antiques shop.

Henry Winkler to return in third series of Hank Zipzer

Henry Winkler to return in third series of Hank Zipzer

Happy Days star Henry Winkler is to return to CBBC for a third series of his comedy drama, Hank Zipzer.

You're Back In The Room recommissioned

You're Back In The Room recommissioned

Phillip Schofield will return to ITV with four new episodes of comedy game show You're Back In The Room, in which contestants compete for cash whilst under hypnosis.

Spitting Image to return?

Spitting Image to return?

Spitting Image producer John Lloyd says he wants to bring back the satirical puppet format, possibly as an online show.

Bluestone 42 ends

Bluestone 42 ends

The writers of the army-based BBC Three comedy Bluestone 42 have confirmed that there will be no further series of the popular sitcom.

Get More News

In The Press

In The Press

The latest press clippings from the newspapers and various internet blogs.

Newsletter

Newsletter

Subscribe to our mailing list to get news and more in your inbox every Monday.

Twitter

Twitter Feed

You can follow us on Twitter too. We post the latest news and gossip every evening.

RSS Feed

RSS Feed

Subscribe to our RSS feed to get our headlines in your news reader software.

Taskmaster interviews

Taskmaster interviews

The comedians involved in new channel Dave show Taskmaster talk about taking part in the bizarre challenges. Read

Kunt And The Gang interview

Kunt And The Gang interview

Kunt And The Gang - the musical comedy act delivers 'songs of questionable taste' - talks about his career. Read

The Naked Stand-Up

The Naked Stand-Up

Glory Pearl explains why she will be performing her Edinburgh Fringe shows totally naked. Read

Reading & Leeds preview

Reading & Leeds preview

Milton Jones, Katherine Ryan and Seann Walsh, amongst the many comedians at Reading and Leeds festivals. Read

Who has the best poster?

Who has the best poster?

You can vote for which of this year's Edinburgh shows has the best poster. The winning show will get cash. Read

Do The Right Thing

Do The Right Thing

The hit comedy panel show podcast is back for a fifth series, with guests including Katherine Ryan. Listen

Greg James interview

Greg James interview

Radio 1 DJ Greg James talks to BCG about how proud he is to have written his own BBC sitcom pilot. Read

Grindah and Beats interview

Grindah and Beats interview

Grindah and Beats, the main two characters in BBC mockumentary People Just Do Nothing, talk to BCG: Read

Yonderland interview

Yonderland interview

The cast of Yonderland talk about the return of the fantasy comedy series, and the labels put on their show. Read

Blog: Creating Fishbowl

Blog: Creating Fishbowl

Writer Andrew Mettam lists out seven reasons why his sitcom pilot Fishbowl is great, but he can't take credit. Read

Sitcom Geeks podcast

Sitcom Geeks podcast

Here's a new podcast series in which James Cary and Dave Cohen talk about the art of sitcom writing. Listen

The John Dredge Show

The John Dredge Show

Series 4 of the insanely silly podcast series has now launched. Check out this funny and surreal sketch show. Listen

Not Safe For Work interviews

Not Safe For Work interviews

The cast of Channel 4's new office-based comedy drama Not Safe For Work talk about making the show. Read

Sharon Rooney interview

Sharon Rooney interview

Sharon Rooney, the star of My Mad Fat Diary, talks about the final series of the comedy drama. Read

Work in progress gigs

Work in progress gigs

Si Hawkins explains why he often enjoys work-in-progress stand-up gigs more than the resultant polished tour show. Read

Gein's Family Giftshop

Gein's Family Giftshop

Sketch group Gein's Family Giftshop talk to BCG ahead of recording their first radio series. Get free tickets too: Read

Nick Frost's memoir

Nick Frost's memoir

Nick Frost's is writing a book about his life. Truths, Half Truths and Utter Bullshit will be released in October. Read

Hoff The Record blog

Hoff The Record blog

What's it like working on a sitcom with David Hasselhoff? Here's a blog from Hoff The Record actor Fergus Craig: Read

Mind reading and comedy

Mind reading and comedy

Mind-reading performer Colin Cloud explains how the worlds of 'people reading' and comedy are similar. Read

Julie Bower: So Awkward

Julie Bower: So Awkward

Julie Bower, the creator of new CBBC sitcom So Awkward, talks about how the show was developed. Read