Birds of a Feather
|Birds of a Feather|
Opening credits (1990–98)
|Created by||Laurence Marks
|Developed by||Alomo Productions|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||10|
|No. of episodes||102 (List of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Allan McKeown
|Running time||95x30 minutes
8x25 minutes (2014)
|Original channel||BBC One (1989–98)
|Original airing||Original series:
16 October 1989 – 24 December 1998
2 January 2014
Birds of a Feather is a British sitcom that was broadcast on BBC One from 1989 until 1998 and on ITV from 2014. Starring Pauline Quirke, Linda Robson and Lesley Joseph, it was created by Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran, who also wrote some of the episodes along with many other writers.
The first episode sees sisters Tracey Stubbs (Robson) and Sharon Theodopolopodos (Quirke) brought together when their husbands are sent to prison for armed robbery. Sharon, who lived in an Edmonton council flat, moves into Tracey's expensive house in Chigwell, Essex. Their next-door neighbour, and later friend, Dorien Green (Joseph) is a middle-aged married woman who is constantly having affairs with younger men. In the later series the location is changed to Hainault.
The series ended on Christmas Eve 1998 after a 9-year run. The series will return on 2 January 2014 on ITV for its tenth series and will run for 8 episodes, this will be the first series in over 15 years.
|Pauline Quirke||Sharon Theodopolopodous (née Rackham)||1989–1998, 2014–present|
|Linda Robson||Tracey Stubbs (née Rackham)||1989–1998, 2014–present|
|Lesley Joseph||Dorien Green||1989–1998, 2014–present|
|Matt Willis||Garth Stubbs||2014–present|
|Charlie Quirke||Travis Stubbs||2014–present|
|David Cardy||Chris Theodopolopodos||1989, 1997–1998|
|Peter Polycarpou||Chris Theodopolopodos||1990–1994|
|Alun Lewis||Darryl Stubbs||1989–1994|
|Doug McFerran||Darryl Stubbs||1997|
|Simon Nash||Garth Stubbs||1989|
|Matthew Savage||Garth Stubbs||1990–1998|
|Nickolas Grace||Marcus Green||1989, 1993, 1997|
|Stephen Greif||Marcus Green||1990|
|Bernard Holley||Richard||1997; 1998|
For sisters Sharon Theodopolopodos and Tracey Stubbs, life is never the same again when their husbands are convicted of armed robbery and sent to prison. Sharon, a common, large and loud-mouthed character from Edmonton, moves into her wealthy sister's luxury home in Chigwell, so that the two can give each other support.
Sharon has always felt inadequate next to her slimmer, elder sister Tracey and felt she had the tougher childhood. Her marriage to Chris, a waster of Greek Cypriot descent, was miserable and childless, due to her "inability" to have children. She is condemned by Chris's family for this but Sharon discovers, during series one, that Chris is the infertile one. Sharon happily cheats on Chris and gives him grief when visiting. Despite this, she only ever makes half-hearted attempts to divorce him.
Tracey, however, loves her husband, Darryl, whose legitimate business was building conservatories, however he made most of his wealth from robbing banks on the side. Unlike Sharon who tends to be more realistic regarding their husbands, Tracey often deludes herself into believing her husband is innocent, especially in the Christmas Special "The Chigwell Connection", and when Darryl is finally released in series seven, she once again grows naive and gullible, which leads to Darryl defrauding her out of her business assets. He and Tracey have a son, Garth, who becomes a chef after going to boarding school, and eventually marries Kimberley.
The sisters' neighbour is the wealthy, snobbish, man-eating Dorien Green, a middle aged woman who strives to create the impression that she is a glamorous young beauty, and who dresses in a sexually provocative style, preferring mini skirts, high heels and leopard prints. Dorien is married to the rarely seen Marcus, but is always getting involved with other men. Dorien and Marcus are Jewish. Her marriage was also childless, due to her vanity and the lack of affection between her and Marcus. She is a regular, if uninvited, guest at Tracey's house, and mocks Sharon about her weight, whilst Sharon teases Dorien about her lifestyle and age. This mutual teasing is friendly and playful rather than serious or hurtful, and it is often shown that Sharon and Tracey care for Dorien and vice versa. If any of them get into trouble or have a problem, the others are often the first to help, regardless of the consequences.
Although Dorien had several flings with younger men, Luke, was her most frequent lover and she appeared to genuinely love him. From the first series until he left Dorien for a younger woman in the second series. He later appeared in the eight series, his first and only appearance, where it is revealed he has married and settled down. Dorien's arch-nemesis is the acid-tongued Melanie Fishman, a vindictive gossip who Dorien constantly attempts to outdo.
Marcus eventually tires of Dorien's selfishness and infidelity and leaves her to begin a new life with his secret mistress and love child. Dorien later starts a loving relationship with Richard Summers, which is initially strained due to Richard's teenage children taking an instant dislike to Dorien, which she gladly reciprocates.
There is some uncertainty about Dorien's maiden name. She says that her father's name was Arthur Friedman, but a wedding invitation to Sharon and Tracey reveals her mother's name to be Estelle Kapper. Later, Dorien refers to her maiden name as Kapper and an old flame remembers her as Dorien Kapper, also. Dorien's mother appears on screen once but is often mentioned by her daughter as an icy, domineering woman, and the two clearly have a stormy relationship. Dorien also has a brother named Jeffrey, who she believes to be their mother's favourite, as he lives a modest life in a semi-detached home, and, unlike Dorien, has given their mother grandchildren.
In the series seven episode, "Cheers", Darryl and Chris are released from prison and are determined to start afresh. Chris feels remorse for his crimes and for not treating Sharon better during their marriage. He impresses Sharon by getting an honest job as a pizza delivery man. Darryl, however, feels that the only way to treat Tracey is to return to unscrupulous tactics. He attempts to launder counterfeit money into Sharon and Tracey's swimming pool business but is caught and once again imprisoned - along with an innocent Chris, much to Sharon's dismay. Darryl and Tracey's marriage is severely strained after this, and Tracey contemplates leaving Darryl, but decides against it. However, she does warn him that she will not stay faithful. In series nine Tracy gives birth to her second child Travis, Sharon vows to stand by her sister and raise the child together.
Birds of a Feather was broadcast for 102 episodes from 16 October 1989 to 24 December 1998. 95 episodes are thirty minutes in length, while one is forty minutes, four are 50 minutes, one is 60 minutes and one is 75 minutes. Most episodes were written by Laurence Marks & Maurice Gran, Gary Lawson & John Phelps (writer), Geoff Rowley, Sue Teddem, Peter Tilbury, Geoff Deane, Tony Millan & Mike Walling, Damon Rochefort and Sam Lawrence. Keith Lindsay & Martin Tomms, Steve Coombes & Dave Robinson, George Costigan & Julia North, John Ross, Frankie Bailey, Miles Tredinnick, Jenny Lecoat, Alun Lewis, Richard Preddy & Gary Howe and Ian Davidson & Peter Vincent & Tony Jordan all wrote one episode each.
On 3 March 2009, the The Mirror reported that the classic sitcom was set for a return reporting that Lesley Joseph, Pauline Quirke and Linda Robson have all been asked by the team behind the sitcom to make another series. Quirke was reported as saying that they were up for the challenge if the writers came up with good ideas. After this speculation of a return in early 2009 nothing more was said. However, in July 2012 Lesley Joseph hinted that Birds of a Feather could return for another series following a successful stage tour.
On 8 July 2010, Linda Robson confirmed on This Morning that a script has been written for a stage show, which all three actresses are keen to be involved with, but this would depend on the availability of Pauline Quirke, who had just been contracted to Emmerdale for 6 months. Quirke announced on 16 May 2011 that she would be leaving Emmerdale at Christmas 2011, and that a touring version of Birds of a Feather would start in spring 2012.
In March 2013, Pauline Quirke appeared on ITV's This Morning and confirmed that a script for a new series is "on the desk at the BBC" and they are just waiting for a decision to be made as to whether or not the BBC would commission a new series. Fifteen years after the original series ended, the original cast will return, this time on ITV.
Linda Robson confirmed on her Twitter account that filming began on 16 September 2013, with 8 new episodes broadcasting from 2 January 2014. It is confirmed all characters are coming back including Tracey's new child which left off on the last ever episode.
- Series 1
During the opening theme for series 1, Quirke and Robson were seen both dressed in a white shirt and a black skirt and they walked towards to screen through several spotlights. Once they reached the screen it faded to Quirke and Robson sat back to back as they rotated. The ending theme was an extended version sung by Quirke and Robson together. And it showed Quirke and Robson walking to the screen and back, passing through the spot lights, while the credits rolled on the left of the screen.
Series 2 featured the same music as series 1 but introduced the new opening which featured pictures of characters Sharon and Tracey as they grow up.
- Sharon and Tracey as babies, could be toddlers.
- As young children (this stage of their lives is featured in the closing theme)
- As children, grown up
- As teenagers, from this picture onwards it is actually Quirke and Robson that featured in the pictures.
- As young adults
- As adults, which could on Tracey's wedding day. From this picture onwards, the pictures are in colour.
- As adults, which could be on Sharon's wedding day.
- As adults, now as they appear in the series.
For the picture transition, the pictures faded. The last picture remained until the entire screen faded into the episode.
For the closing theme, A video was of the child actors that are supposed to be a young Sharon and Tracey, in the second picture of the opening theme, out in a park eating ice creams with their teddies, chasing each other, Tracey trying to get Sharon to play, Sharon jumping down some steps, Tracey looking through a railing to a pond and it ends with Sharon and Tracey waving bye and running away from the screen together.
- Series 3–9
Series 3 introduced a revised version of the song which was performed by Quirke and Robson. Robson sang the first verse and Quirke sang the last. It used the same video as the series 2 opening and closing theme.
The episode closing theme, was an extended version of the song which was still sung by Quirke and Robson but they did not sing together, they had separate verses to sing, but they sang the last line together, "That won't come true, what'll I do".
Birds of a Feather was sold to over 30 countries worldwide, and the format was sold to countries including Australia (ABC TV), New Zealand, Spain and South Africa. The show is regularly re-run on Australian & New Zealand pay TV.
An American adaptation, called Stand By Your Man was made by Fox. Rosie O'Donnell played hard-up Lorraine Popowski, while Melissa Gilbert-Brinkman played her rich sister Rochelle Dunphy. Sam McMurray played Rochelle's husband Roger, and Rick Hall played Lorraine's husband Artie. The Dorien character was called Adrienne Stone played by Miriam Flynn. The series was broadcast for only eight episodes from 5 April 1992 to 9 August 1992.
Birds of a Feather has been adapted for stage by The Comedy Theatre Company, producers of previous dinnerladies and Keeping Up Appearances UK stage tours. The 2012 Birds of a Feather UK tour includes the original three leading actresses. Quirke and Robson's real-life sons, Charlie Quirke and Louis Dunford, share the role of Travis Stubbs, the son born to Tracey in the final episode of the TV series.
Home video releases
While the series was airing on BBC1 in the 1990s there were some VHS releases of episodes from the series.
Series One was re-released with different packaging on 1 June 2009 and at the time FremantleMedia said that there were no plans to release the remaining series.
Series 1 was re-released for a 3rd time with new packaging along with Series 2 on 30 August 2010 through Network.
Series 3 & 4 were released on 31 January 2011 and were followed by series 5 & 6 on 21 February, series 7 & 8 on 7 March and series 9 on 11 April 2011. The Complete Series 1-9 box set was released on 10 October 2011.
Following the release of the complete collection, an Australian release was also included. This was released in three individual box sets, each containing three series.
The Complete Series 1-9 box set is rated PG for Parental Guidance in Australia and PG in New Zealand for coarse language and sexual references.
All releases are through Network and are fully comprehensive of the entire 9 series, including special episodes in order of broadcast.
|DVD Title||No. of discs||Year||No. of episodes||DVD release||Special episodes|
|Complete Series 1||1||1989||6 + special||30 August 2010||1989 Christmas special|
|Complete Series 2||3||1990||15 + special||1990 Christmas special|
|Complete Series 3||2||1991||12 + special||31 January 2011||1991 Christmas special|
|Complete Series 4||2||1992||13 + special||1992 Christmas special|
|Complete Series 5||3||1993||13 + special||21 February 2011||1993 Christmas special|
|Complete Series 6||3||1994||14 + special||1994 Christmas special|
|Complete Series 7||2||1997||10 + special||7 March 2011||The Chigwell Years - Special Episode|
|Complete Series 8||1||1998||6 + special||1997 Christmas special|
|Complete Series 9||1||1998||6||11 April 2011||N/A|
|Complete Collection||19||1989–1998||102||10 October 2011||Christmas specials and special episode "The Chigwell Years"|
Awards and nominations
|1990||British Comedy Awards||Best TV Comedy Newcomer||Won||Pauline Quirk|
|Best TV Comedy Actress||Nominated|
|1993||BAFTA Awards||Best Comedy (Programme or Series)||Nominated||Terry Kinane
|1997||National Television Awards||Most Popular Comedy Performer||Nominated||Pauline Quirk|
|1998||Most Popular Actress||Nominated|
|1999||Most Popular Comedy Performer||Nominated|
|Most Popular Comedy Programme||Nominated||Birds of a Feather|
|TV Quick Awards||Best Sitcom||Won||Birds of a Feather|
- Mark Lewisohn, "Radio Times Guide to TV Comedy", BBC Worldwide Ltd, 2003
- "Birds of Feather: Episode One". ITV Press Centre. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
- "Downton Abbey, Birds of a Feather: ITV's Christmas, New Year listings". Digital Spy. 3 December 2013. Retrieved 5 December 2013.
- "Someone Else's Baby". Birds of a Feather. 1990-12-13. BBC. BBC1.
- "Holy Ground". Birds of a Feather. 1998-12-24. BBC. BBC1.
- "Classic BBC sitcom Birds of a Feather set for comeback". Daily Mirror. 2009-03-03. Retrieved 2012-03-27.
- [dead link]
- Kilkelly, Daniel (2011-05-16). "Pauline Quirke to leave 'Emmerdale'". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2012-03-27.
- Eames, Tom (2013-06-18). "'Birds of a Feather' to return after 15 years for new series on ITV". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2013-06-18.
- Birds of a Feather - The National Stage Tour, Birdsontour.com. Retrieved 8 February 2012
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Birds of a Feather|