Birds Of A Feather – The ITV Series, 2014 – Present?
The original series ran for nine years and was a huge success for the BBC. A possible new series had been rumoured as far back as March 2009, when the Daily Mirror reported that the classic sitcom was set for a return. Actress Pauline Quirke was reported as saying that her acting school “Quirky Kidz” was beginning to really take off, so she’d be hesitant to become involved in another creative project and so the trail went cold.
In 2010, whilst appearing on This Morning (daytime TV magazine show) Linda Robson confirmed that a script had been written for a stage show, which all three actresses were keen to be involved with, but this would depend on the availability of Pauline Quirke, who had just been contracted to Emmerdale for six months. On 16 May 2011 Pauline Quirke announced that she would be leaving Emmerdale at Christmas 2011 and that a touring version of Birds of a Feather would start in spring 2012.
The stage tour was a huge success. As it came to a close in July of 2012, Lesley Joseph hinted that Birds of a Feather could return for another TV series following the successful stage tour. By March of 2013 Pauline Quirke appeared on ITV’s This Morning and confirmed that a script for a new series is “on the desk at the BBC” and they are just waiting for a decision to be made as to whether or not the BBC would commission a new series. The BBC were indeed interested but only in resurrecting it as a Christmas Special.
The cast were not keen on the idea so the script was offered to ITV who jumped at the chance. Filming began on 16th September 2013, for 8 new episodes, the first was broadcast on 2nd January 2014 and attracted almost 8 million viewers, making it ITV’s highest rated comedy since Barbara in 2000.
A second and third series followed, along with Christmas Specials.
After the 2017 Christmas Special it semed that a fourth series had been ordered by ITV. Indeed In June 2018 Lesley Joseph revealed that ITV were discussing plans for another series in October 2019 to mark the shows 30th anniversary. Neither happened.
Confusion And Rumours
It seemed uncertain as to whether the series would continue when Lesley Joseph announced it will not be happening any time soon, saying she did not wish to do it owing to other work commitments. Further confusion occurred when in February 2019, TV producer Nigel Lythgoe seemed to suggest the series had ended. However an ITV representative later confirmed this story was false and both Birds of A Feather had not been ‘axed’.
Tracey and Darryl have divorced and Darryl has moved to Wales. Tracey has remarried and is now back living in her former marital home, “Dalentrace”, in Chigwell. Sharon is back living in her council flat, after being kicked out of “Dalentrace”by Tracey due to her dislike of her new husband, Ralph.
The two have not spoken for over six months when they “bump into each other” by chance at a book signing. They are shocked to discover that the author of “Sixty Shades of Green” (a Fifty Shades of Grey clone) is their old friend Dorien, whom they haven’t seen in years.
Tracey offers Sharon a lift home, confessing that she threw Ralph out after she caught him stealing from her. Feeling lonely, she persuades Sharon to return home with her to Chigwell. Travis pretends to be annoyed at the return of Auntie Sharron, but it soon becomes clear that he set up their “chance” meeting at the book signing.
“Dalentrace” is about to get full. As the three plan how their new set-up will work, an unexpected visitor arrives in the form of Dorien, who has just discovered she is being sued for allegedly plagiarising Fifty Shades of Grey. However this isn’t her only problem all her assets have been frozen, now homeless, she has no choice but to beg Tracey for a place to stay.
Just as everyone is getting used to their new living arrangements , Tracey’s eldest son, Garth makes a surprise return from Australia with new girlfriend Marcie and her 10-year-old daughter Poppy, and guess what – they need somewhere to stay.
Hilarity ensues as they all get used to their new living arrangements, but how are they going to pay the bills ?
Created By: Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran
Production Company: Retort Productions/Quirkymedia Stuff
Original Transmission Dates: 2nd January 2014 – 18th December 2017 (to date)