BBC now has policy of not making “revivals”, top writer claims

Laurence Marks says that BBC-wide policy of not bringing back classics is the reason ITV could snap up return of hit comedy Birds of a Feather

The BBC has a policy of not reviving classic programmes, leading writer Laurence Marks has claimed.

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Marks, the co-author of the hit 1990s comedy Birds of a Feather which is being revived by ITV, said that the commercial channel was offered the remake of the show because of the BBC’s policy which prevented them bringing it back.

Marks writes in today’s Daily Mail the BBC was offered the series, but adds: “What we could not have foreseen as that the BBC…had developed a policy not to make ‘revivals’.”

Marks, who also wrote the sitcom Goodnight Sweetheart with Gran, says this explains why the BBC offered only a Christmas special of Birds of a Feather which he and the production team turned down. The owners of the programme, Freemantle Media, then took it to ITV which stepped in and offered a full eight-part series to be shown next year.

RadioTimes.com asked the BBC about the policy but a spokeswoman had not commented at the time of publication.

If true, this would mean that recent BBC attempts at remakes such as Reggie Perrin, which remade the classic 1970s comedy The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin with Martin Clunes, will be the last on the BBC.

The Birds of a Feather remake will feature the three main 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.

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.

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

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Other notable TV remakes have included an Are You Being Served? remake, the 1990’s sequel Grace and Favour.