Birds Of A Feather. Image shows from L to R: Sharon Theodopolopodous (Pauline Quirke), Dorien Green (Lesley Joseph), Tracey Stubbs (Linda Robson). Copyright: Alomo Productions / Retort
Birds Of A Feather

Birds Of A Feather (1989)

  • TV sitcom
  • ITV1 / BBC One
  • 1989 - 2020
  • 128 episodes (12 series)

Sitcom about mismatched sisters Tracey and Sharon, and their glamorous friend, Dorien. Stars Pauline Quirke, Linda Robson, Lesley Joseph, Charlie Quirke, Samuel James and more.

Press clippings Page 9

Having got Tracey, Sharon and Dorien back under the same roof in the first episode, it's necessary to shake up the dynamic a bit now. So realising she's broke, Dorien is forced to sell her designer wardrobe at - shock horror - an Essex car boot sale (where, it looks like, TOWIE's Amy Childs shops) and then - even more shock horror - get a proper job.

The gags and their delivery are as subtle as a mallet to the head, but what's even more blatant is the number of product references: every other sentence name-checks a supermarket, a clothes shop, a high-street chemist, fashion designers, a department store or cleaning products.

Jane Rackham, Radio Times, 9th January 2014

Unlike the recent attempt at rebooting Open All Hours, Birds of a Feather seems like it has been updated for the 21st century. Most of the updates make sense, such as Dorien's new career as an erotic author and Sharon's new job at pound shop 'World of Quid'. Birds of a Feather also survives because of the chemistry between the three lead actresses, all of whom have impeccable comedy timing. While I do concede that the humour isn't exactly cutting edge, the frequency of the jokes is so high that even if one didn't make me laugh there was one a couple of seconds after that.

Ultimately this is a traditional sitcom that doesn't have to resort to bad language to make me laugh, and one that has updated its humour just enough to make it relevant while at the same time maintaining the themes that made it so popular the first time around.

The Custard TV, 7th January 2014

It was a little discombobulating to see Birds Of A Feather back on our screens after 15 years, albeit transposed from the BBC to ITV. Essex sisters Sharon (Pauline Quirke) and Tracey (Linda Robson) were initially estranged, while maneater Dorien (Lesley Joseph) had hit the big time by writing a 50 Shades-style bonkbuster under the nom de plume "Foxy Cohen". After a series of unfortunate events, they were all reunited under the same roof by the end of the first episode, a housing situation complicated by Sharon's teenage son Travis (played, rather confusingly, by Pauline Quirke's real-life offspring Charlie Quirke) and the late arrival of another sibling, Garth (former Busted heartthrob Matt Willis), with his new Aussie partner and a kid in tow.

Stuffing all these bodies into one Chigwell house is a smart sitcom move, although past masters Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran didn't need proximity and antagonism to craft gags, firing them out willy-nilly from the off. With pointed jabs at Cameron and Osborne, it made me wonder: did the show used to be so politically minded? In performance terms, Robson, Quirke and Joseph had the benefit of a recent theatre tour warm-up, so it seemed very much like busybody-ness as usual. As yet, there have been no references to The Only Way Is Essex, but surely it's only a matter of time.

Graeme Virtue, The Scotsman, 6th January 2014

Birds of a Feather: TV review

Feathered friends return, but the Essex jokes no longer take off.

Gerard Gilbert, The Independent, 3rd January 2014

BOAF back on screens with an aching air of familiarity

Birds Of A Feather's characters might have moved on in their lives - but there was an odd air of deja vu about their return to TV...

Caroline Westbrook, Metro, 3rd January 2014

Fans surprised as return turns out not to be terrible

Linda Robson, Pauline Quirke and Lesley Joseph all returned for tonight's inaugural episode, titled Gimme Shelter, with Matt Willis in the role of Garth - and feedback was positive.

Metro, 3rd January 2014

Birds Of A Feather (ITV), which began in 1989, has been away from our screens for 15 years. The trio of smashing actresses who carry the show - Linda Robson, Pauline Quirke and Lesley Joseph - must have been preserved in aspic, because none of them looks any older than they did in the Nineties.

The big change here is that Birds was always a BBC comedy. After the sitcom's West End stage success, writers Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran approached the corporation and were told, implausibly, that Auntie's policy is never to do revivals.

That makes little sense, when you consider that the BBC's most popular drama, Doctor Who, lay dormant for more than a decade before being revived.

Anyway, it's the Beeb's loss, because Birds was as funny and edgy as ever. Sex-mad Dorian had reinvented herself as an erotic author called Foxey Cohen, Tracy was a single mum again and Sharon was still boiling with working-class indignation.

'Mr Cameron says we're all in this together,' she grumbled, 'so how come I never bump into him down by the bins?'

Christopher Stevens, Daily Mail, 3rd January 2014

Last night's TV: Birds of a Feather

After 16 years the sitcom about prisoners' wives returns - but was it so interesting that it needs to be re-explored?

Andrew Billen, The Times, 3rd January 2014

Intact cast chemistry can't disguise terrible satire

"No, when you're poor, it's a choice between food or heat." Had us rolling in the aisles, that one. Inexplicable.

Caroline Frost, The Huffington Post, 3rd January 2014

Birds of a Feather in flying start on ITV

16 years since its last episode on BBC One, Essex-based sitcom proves its enduring appeal by pulling nearly 8 million viewers.

John Plunkett, The Guardian, 3rd January 2014

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