Birds of a Feather to return… but on ITV

Commercial broadcaster snaps up classic BBC sitcom starring Pauline Quirke, Linda Robson and Lesley Joseph

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Birds of a Feather, the nineties BBC1 comedy starring Pauline Quirke and Linda Robson is to return – but this time for ITV.

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Freemantle, the company which owns the rights to the show, has confirmed eight new episodes will be filmed with the familiar characters: sisters Sharon and Tracey, played by Robson and Quirke, who set up home together after their husbands are jailed for armed robbery. Man-crazy neighbour Dorien, played by Lesley Joseph, will also return.

Original writers Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran have penned the new series alongside writing duo Gary Lawson and John Phelps.

RadioTimes.com understands that the team had originally offered it to the BBC but that the Corporation only wanted to make a Christmas special, prompting ITV to move in and offer a full series.

In March 2013, Quirke appeared on ITV’s This Morning and confirmed that a script for a new series was “on the desk at the BBC” and they were awaiting a decision.

An ITV spokesperson said: “We can confirm that we have commissioned a new series of Birds of Feather and we’re really excited to be welcoming Sharon, Tracey and Dorien to ITV. We will confirm more details in due course.”

The show ran on BBC1 for 102 episodes between 1989 and 1998.

The three stars reunited last year for a successful stage version of the show.

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The new series is a co-production between Retort, FremantleMedia UK’s scripted comedy label, and QuirkyMedia. Filming is expected to get under way in the autumn, with the show airing in 2014.