When Dallas returns to TV screens later this year on Channel 5, don’t go thinking that it's a mere remake. The programme-makers are very keen to stress that what we’ll see is a “continuation” of the hit drama, which picks up the plot two decades after the show went off the air.
“We couldn’t imagine doing a remake. We’ve seen it. There were 357 episodes,” executive producer Cynthia Cidre told journalists at the TV critics press tour in the US. “It just seemed natural to catch up with the Ewing family 20 years later.”
As evidence of the debt owed to the original series, actors Larry Hagman, Patrick Duffy and Linda Gray were all present at the press conference. Asked why he was so keen to return, Hagman commented: “Work at 80! How many people do you know who are working at 80, doing what they love with the people they love?”
Hagman, who was diagnosed with cancer last autumn, is picking up his ten-gallon hat once more to play oil baron JR Ewing. And he insists that his health has not been an issue during production:
“My treatment is going very well. I’ve been fine. I did three major scenes yesterday – and very well, I must say,” he said. “They’re not writing me out [of the scripts] by any means.”
Over at the Southfork ranch, Bobby Ewing (Patrick Duffy) is now happily remarried to a character called Ann (played by Desperate Housewives actress Brenda Strong) and his adopted son Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe) is keen to tread a more environmentally minded path away from oil.
However, JR’s son John Ross (Josh Henderson) has opposing views about the family business, while not helping matters is the fact that John Ross’s girlfriend Elena (The Fast and the Furious’s Jordana Brewster) is also Christopher’s ex-fiancee.
Trouble obviously lies in store for this next generation of Ewings, but where do all these business and relationship tangles leave the old guard? Are they still integral to the plots?
“So far we’ve been in every episode and performing the same function as we used to. The younger people have more stamina, but we’re here,” assures Duffy, before adding a reference to perhaps his most famous moment on the soap. “I don’t do showers anymore.”
Back in November of 2011, TVGuide.com reported that Charlene Tilton (Lucy Ewing) and Steve Kanaly (Ray Krebbs) had been spotted on set, but can viewers expect any other surprise returns, perhaps from Victoria Principal, who played Bobby’s first wife Pam?
“I don’t know,” said Cidre. “We create it one season at a time and hopefully we’ll get a second season.”
Hagman though, had this to say about JR’s relationship with his screen spouse Sue Ellen (Linda Gray): “After 13 years, she gave me my first slap.”
“You weren’t supposed to hear about that,” Gray said. “But it was great!”
So will you be watching Dallas when it makes its comeback? Comment below and let us know.