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31 July 2014
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Birds of a Feather

Sharon, Dorien and Tracey

It's proved to be very rare for a British sitcom to place at its heart the (mis)adventures of a group of female lead characters.

With Birds of a Feather, writers Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran not only bucked the trend but found a formula to create a much-loved ratings smash.

The premise saw two sisters: Sharon and Tracey Stubbs, who've been living very different lives with very different experiences of marriage, suddenly brought together when both their spouses are convicted of armed robbery.

For hard-up Sharon her husband Chris's crime comes as no surprise but Tracey, who'd been living a nouveau-riche dream life in Chigwell, is shell-shocked to find her beloved Darryl could be a criminal.

Sharon and Tracey from Birds of a Feather

Together the sisters must get used to their enforced new circumstances and Sharon moves in with richer Tracey, both to keep her company and enjoy the mod cons of her plush home.

They're rarely left alone, though, thanks to the nagging presence of sex-mad neighbour Dorien Green.

Actors Pauline Quirke and Linda Robson, who were cast as Sharon and Tracey respectively, had been friends since childhood and trained at theatre school together.

Having already appeared in previous Marks and Gran sitcom Shine on Harvey Moon, they made the roles of the Stubbs sisters their own and their chemistry and shared sense of timing made the show a joy to watch.

Dorien Green from Birds of a Feather

While the culture clash between Sharon and Tracey sparked much of the humour, undoubtedly the icing on the cake was delivered by Lesley Joseph as serial adulterer Dorien and her portrayal of this insatiable man-eater often stole scenes and even entire episodes.

While early series kept close to the plotline of the husbands’ incarceration, the scripts became increasingly ambitious, including a 1993 Christmas special set in Hollywood.

A massive hit from the word go in 1989, Birds of a Feather eventually clocked up nine seasons and remains not only a classic comedy but also, as a female-centred long-running series, a truly rare gem.

Cast

Pauline Quirke
Sharon Theodopolopoudos
Linda Robson
Tracey Stubbs
Lesley Joseph
Dorien Green
David Cardy
Chris Theodopolopoudos
Peter Polycarpou
Chris Theodopolopoudos
Alun Lewis
Darryl Stubbs
Doug McFerran
Darryl Stubbs
Simon Nash
Garth Stubbs
Matthew Savage
Garth Stubbs
Nickolas Grace
Marcus Green
Stephen Greif
Marcus Green

Crew

Maurice Gran
writer
Laurence Marks
writer
Maurice Gran
writer
Gary Lawson
writer
John Phelps
writer
Geoff Rowley
writer
Sue Teddern
writer
Peter Tilbury
writer
Geoff Deane
writer
Tony Millan
writer
Mike Walling
writer
Damon Rochefort
writer
Sam Lawrence
writer
Keith Lindsay
writer
Martin Tomms
writer
Steve Coombes
writer
Dave Robinson
writer
George Costigan
writer
Julia North
writer
John Ross
writer
Frankie Bailey
writer
Miles Tredinnick
writer
Jenny Lecoat
writer
Alun Lewis
writer
Richard Preddy
writer
Gary Howe
writer
Ian Davidson
writer
Peter Vincent
writer
Terry Kinane
director
Charlie Hanson
director
Nic Phillips
director
Baz Taylor
director
Hugh Thomas
director
Tony Dow
director
Sue Bysh
director
Geoffrey Sax
director
Nic Phillips
producer
Charlie Hanson
producer
Tony Charles
producer
Candida Julian-Jones
producer
Esta Charkham
producer
Allan McKeown
executive producer
Claire Hinson
executive producer
Laurence Marks
creator

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