Sharon Theodopolopodous, Tracey Stubbs and Dorien Green are three much-loved characters who dominated our television viewing a lifetime ago in the 1990s.
And apparently, ‘tis the season for re-inventing sitcoms of old because the lively trio are back, as Birds of a Feather (ITV, 8.30pm) returns to our screens tonight following a whopping 15-year break.
A few things have changed since we last saw Pauline Quirke, Linda Robson and Lesley Joseph – they’re all looking that little bit older and they’re having to settle into their new home of ITV, after the series originally aired on the BBC.
For the uninitiated, Birds of a Feather follows two very different sisters, Sharon and Tracey, who were brought closer together when both their partners were convicted of armed robbery. Meanwhile, nagging sex-mad neighbour Dorien (Joseph) was forever popping round to spend time with the women.
Reuniting for this new series won’t have come as too much of a shock to the system for the actresses – they all took part in a hugely successful touring stage version of Birds of a Feather in 2012, leaving little doubt that the timing is perfect to resurrect the TV series.
“Our characters are our alter egos,” explains Pauline, discussing how easy it’s been to step back into Sharon’s shoes. “Coming back to make Birds of a Feather is not like starting a new show where you have to invent the character from scratch. The girls were there waiting for us to play them again. And I have loved it. When we started rehearsing again, it really did feel like stepping back in time – but in a nice way.”
For Pauline, the return of the series has meant she’s been able to share the studio with her youngest child, Charlie, who plays Tracey’s son, Travis.
The proud mum explains: “He came away with us on tour and I was really nervous the first time he went out on the stage.
“Obviously I am his mum and I am very biased but I do think he is really good. And what means so much to me is when the girls say things like ‘OMG he was so fabulous. I loved him in that scene.’”
The first time around, back in the 1990s, the stars filmed 102 episodes. Fast forward 15 years, and as we catch up with the gang, Sharon’s readjusting to life back in her council flat, while Tracey remains in Chigwell with younger son Travis. But it looks like they are about to be reunited again as someone decides it’s time to return to the nest.
Matt Willis, Camilla Marie Beeput and Bethany Attrup also star.