The producers of Birds Of A Feather, in the process of bringing the sitcom back to television, reportedly tried to re-cast the show with younger actresses.
Speaking on the ITV chat show Loose Women today as part of a discussion of TV remakes, Linda Robson revealed: "We'd been off tele for 15 years, and we did a stage tour of Birds Of A Feather. The producers actually got in touch with Lesley Joseph and said they were going to recast Sharon and Tracey because we're too old to play the part now."
With the other panellists expressing shock, she confirmed: "Without Sharon and Tracey, because they wanted younger actresses in."
Birds Of A Feather ran on the BBC between 1989 and 1998. Following the success of a reunion stage show, ITV then brought the format back to TV in 2014. It has so far aired three series and a special on ITV, with many of the episodes gaining over 4 million viewers.
The show stars Pauline Quirke and Linda Robson as sisters Sharon and Tracey, with Lesley Joseph playing their 'man-eating' friend Dorien Green. At the time of writing, Quirke is 57, Robson is 59 and Joseph is 71.
Robson told the Loose Women panel that the producers were "playing games with us all". She said: "They also went to us and said they were going to get a new Dorien in."
Luckily for fans, the re-casting plan failed. Robson explained: "Obviously we're all friends and we all speak to each other and there's no way we're doing this without the three of us and getting our original writers back."
She concluded: "I mean, what a liberty!... because we're getting too old for the part?"
Her revelation can be seen within the video below, starting at 1.30 minutes:
Birds Of A Feather was last seen on TV at Christmas, for a Morocco-based special. There is no news yet on another series, however the strong ratings for the show suggest it is likely ITV will order Series 13.