British Comedy Guide

Hit 90s sitcom Waiting For God coming to the stage

Monday 13th March 2017, 4:51pm

Waiting For God stage tour 2017. Image shows from L to R: Nichola McAuliffe, Roy Hudd.

The hit 1990s sitcom Waiting For God is being revived for a new touring stage production.

Roy Hudd and Nichola McAuliffe will take on the roles of Tom Ballard and Diana Trent, as made famous by Graham Crowden and Stephanie Cole.

Running for five series on BBC One from 1990, the comedy charted the adventures of elderly delinquents Tom and Diana, residents at the Bayview Retirement Home in Bournemouth. The pair fought against the money-grabbing boss of the home, Harvey Bains, as well as the expectations of both society and their families that they would be quiet and grow old gracefully.

The comedy was a success both at home - running up 47 episodes - and abroad. It was adapted for German television and remains a popular export of British TV comedy to the US television market.

Speaking to British Comedy Guide today in a new interview, writer Michael Aitkens explains: "It's totally new. It's not a spin-off or cobbled-together version of the series. It's a sort of love story using the same characters and the same location. I wrote the original TV series when I was 40-something, looking at it objectively through research. Now I'm part of the generation I was writing about, which is quite alarming, but means I have further insight into it."

The production will tour England from 20th April until the 8th of July (dates below).

Producers Seabright Productions are also behind a new tour from the Reduced Shakespeare Company, and existing and previous hits such as Potted Potter and Showstopper! The Improvised Musical.

They explain: "All the favourite characters from the original series are reimagined for 2017, facing the challenges that come with growing old disgracefully in the era of the silver surfer. At Bayview Retirement Home, battle-axe extraordinaire Diana Trent conspires with new resident Tom Ballard to give the conniving manager his comeuppance through a hilarious conspiracy with unexpectedly heart-warming results.

"This all-new script is penned by the sitcom's creator Michael Aitkens, and directed by Tony Award winner David Grindley. The cast of nine is led by Hudd and McAuliffe, brilliant performers who have each won best performance accolades in the prestigious Olivier Awards."

Other sitcoms to have been revived for the stage in recent years include Dad's Army, Porridge, Last Of The Summer Wine, and dinnerladies. Notably, a production of Birds Of A Feather lead to the programme's return to television.

Full interview with writer Michael Aitkens

Tour dates (2017)

Letchworth (Broadway Theatre): 20 - 22 April
Eastbourne (Devonshire Park Theatre): 25 - 29 April
Guildford (Yvonne Arnaud Theatre): 2 - 6 May
Ipswich (New Wolsey Theatre): 8 - 13 May
Bath (Theatre Royal): 22 - 27 May
Malvern (Festival Theatre): 30 May - 3 June
Poole (Lighthouse): 5 - 10 June
Windsor (Theatre Royal): 12 - 17 June
Blackpool (Grand Theatre): 20 - 24 June
Oxford (Playhouse): 27 June - 1 July
Salford Quays (The Lowry): 3 - 8 July

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On 4th April it was announced that Roy Hudd was having to withdraw from the production due to ill health, with Jeffrey Holland taking on the role of Tom Ballard.

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