‘Essex girls’ reunited

MHDE'Birds of a Feather
MHDE'Birds of a Feather

The original Essex girls are back together as the classic sitcom Birds of a Feather comes to the Royal and Derngate in Northampton.

Pauline Quirke, Linda Robson and Lesley Jospeh all star in the new stage version which runs from Tuesday, April 30 to Sunday, May 4.

For Pauline, it was the appeal of the script which led to her wanting to return as Sharon Theodopolous.

She said: “This is a brand new show which has been set 14 years after the end of the TV series. It has been written by Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran, who created the show along with two of our other good writers on the show, Gary Lawson and John Phelps.

“It has been lovely, because we get to find out what happened to the baby born at the end of the series and the girls catch up with Dorien, who they also haven’t seen in 14 years, and it’s a very funny script.

“There is a murder, police officers and all sorts going on but it is terrific to play.”

And while it is a return to an old part, there are some new challenges for Pauline.

She said: “I have not done theatre for 25 years and have never done a tour. I wanted to go out there and prove that I could.

“It is also just lovely getting back together with the girls, I have known Linda since I was at primary school and it’s lovely to see Lesley again.

“There is a real family feeling to the show as my son Travis is playing Linda’s son in the show and my husband is the producer.”

She has also been left delighted with the response from the audience and the types of people coming to see it.

Pauline added: “It has been a fantastic reception and lots of people are just very happy to see us back together.

“What I have been surprised about is a lot of young people in the audience who would probably have not been around when the original series was on. They are getting to discover it through the stage show. There’s something in the show for everyone.”

There has been much speculation about a return to the small screen and she is optimistic about a comeback.

Pauline said: “There was a script at the BBC written by Laurence and Maurice and it was very funny, probably some of the best stuff they have ever written.

“However the BBC decided to pass on it and I understand it is currently on the desk at ITV and we are close to a decision on whether to make it. Fingers crossed that by the time the stage show reaches Northampton, we may have a decision either way.”

Pauline has been one of the busiest and in demand actors in the country but highlights her role in her current drama series Broadchurch as one of her favourites.

She said: “Everybody has been talking about it and it was a lot of fun to make. All I get asked is who did it. Even Linda and Lesley keep asking me who did it. I’m keeping tight-lipped about it though.”

Birds of a Feather can be seen at Northampton from Tuesday, April 30 to Saturday, May 4 at 7.30pm each night with a matinee at 2.30pm on Wednesday and Saturday.

Tickets – priced from £13.50 to £29.50 – can be booked by calling the box office on 01604 624811 or visit www.royalandderngate.co.uk.