Biography

In 2011 Laurie Mansfield and Bill Kenwright asked us if we'd like to try to repeat the success of Dreamboats, and write the script for their new jukebox musical project, Save The Last Dance For Me. Naturally we said yes, and the first national tour took place in 2012. Save The Last Dance For Me differs from Dreamboats and Petticoats in being largely based on the music of one composing team - Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman. Pomus and Shuman wrote hits for numerous artists, including The Drifters, and Elvis Presley. For Bill and Laurie this was also a sentimental journey - they had been good friends with Mort Shuman when he came to live in England in the Sixties. The show toured again in 2013, and received the seal of approval when Mort's widow said how much she enjoyed it.

Our third major radio play, Love Me Do, was recorded by the BBC in July 2012. It was transmitted in October, fifty years to the week after the Cuban Missile Crisis, a confrontation that almost led to a nuclear World War. Love Me Do is the story of two Americans stranded in London in that terrifying week, as Russia and America flexed their nuclear muscles. We wrote the play knowing we wanted to adapt it for the stage, as we had done with Von Ribbentrop's Watch. In 2014 we fulfilled this ambition with the help of the Watford Palace Theatre, of which more later.

The power of the theatre should never be underestimated, for it led us back onto mainstream television. We had been approached in 2010 by the Comedy Theatre Company, who asked us if we would be interested in writing a stage version of Birds of a Feather. We agreed, although we felt the show would be unlikely to fly without the original cast, and we doubted they would want to undertake an exhausting theatre tour.

To our surprise, Linda, Pauline and Lesley were all interested in "returning to Chigwell", and theatre dates were booked for the spring of 2012. However, contractual complications meant that we were running out of time to write the script. Luckily our old friends and Birds writers, Gary Lawson and John Phelps, came on board to co-write the show with us. The result was a riotously successful touring production. We realised, as we watched the girls receive standing ovations, that we had four stage productions playing simultaneously around the country. The Birds toured again in 2013, by which time plans to revive the television series were well advanced.

Several BBC executives had come to see the Birds of a Feather stage show, and had been impressed and surprised by the size and enthusiasm of the audiences. With the three Birds on board, we wrote a TV script to introduce the show to the 21st century. However, when the script reached the desk of Danny Cohen, the Controller of BBC1, he liked what we'd written, but declared himself uncertain of the merits of a revival (this was before Poldark). He asked us if we would be happy to make a Christmas special instead. The implication was that if the viewers loved it, no doubt a series would ensue.

However, we were keen to write and make a series, and as the show was owned by Retort, the production company, rather than by the BBC, we were free to offer it to other channels. A few days later we were sitting in a boardroom at ITV, whose executives looked as if it was their Christmas that had arrived early. It took ITV Director of Television Peter Fincham a matter of minutes to commission an eight part series.

We got together with fellow writers Lawson and Phelps to share the scripting, and the series aired at the beginning of 2014. The first episode reached over 12 million. Peter Fincham's email to us read simply "Wow!" ITV's second season of Birds - the eleventh series so far, was broadcast at the beginning of 2015, and we are now working on ITV series three.

Back to Love Me Do: We'd worked with Brigid Larmour, of the Watford Palace Theatre, on our previous radio-to-stage adaptation, Von Ribbentrop's Watch. We were was eager to find a new way of making the play, and we agreed it would be fun - and challenging - to find a different theatre style, more "physical theatre". Brigid brought in a co-director, Shona Morris, who specialises in theatre movement, incorporating elements of dance and mime. It sounds as if it might be inaccessible and experimental. In fact it turned out to be involving, fast, and sometimes funny. The audiences loved it, and so did we. Of all our theatre work so far, this has given us the most artistic satisfaction, and we have high hopes of Love Me Do returning to the stage next year.

At the same time that we were attending rehearsals for Love Me Do, our newest musical, Dreamboats and Miniskirts was opening at the Theatre Royal Windsor, before embarking on a seemingly everlasting tour. It's a sequel to Dreamboats and Petticoats, taking the characters forward into the magical year of 1963, when suddenly home grown pop music started to expel American artists from our charts, before going on to conquer the USA. The music of Miniskirts is the music we grew up listening to, dancing to, wooing to, and eventually playing in a series of forgotten pop groups, so our fingers are firmly crossed in the hope that the new show reaches and entertains as many as did its prequel.

In 2011 Laurie Mansfield and Bill Kenwright asked us if we'd like to try to repeat the success of Dreamboats, and write the script for their new jukebox musical project, Save The Last Dance For Me. Naturally we said yes, and the first national tour took place in 2012. Save The Last Dance For Me differs from Dreamboats and Petticoats in being largely based on the music of one composing team - Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman. Pomus and Shuman wrote hits for numerous artists, including The Drifters, and Elvis Presley. For Bill and Laurie this was also a sentimental journey - they had been good friends with Mort Shuman when he came to live in England in the Sixties. The show toured again in 2013, and received the seal of approval when Mort's widow said how much she enjoyed it.

Our third major radio play, Love Me Do, was recorded by the BBC in July 2012. It was transmitted in October, fifty years to the week after the Cuban Missile Crisis, a confrontation that almost led to a nuclear World War. Love Me Do is the story of two Americans stranded in London in that terrifying week, as Russia and America flexed their nuclear muscles. We wrote the play knowing we wanted to adapt it for the stage, as we had done with Von Ribbentrop's Watch. In 2014 we fulfilled this ambition with the help of the Watford Palace Theatre, of which more later.

The power of the theatre should never be underestimated, for it led us back onto mainstream television. We had been approached in 2010 by the Comedy Theatre Company, who asked us if we would be interested in writing a stage version of Birds of a Feather. We agreed, although we felt the show would be unlikely to fly without the original cast, and we doubted they would want to undertake an exhausting theatre tour.

To our surprise, Linda, Pauline and Lesley were all interested in "returning to Chigwell", and theatre dates were booked for the spring of 2012. However, contractual complications meant that we were running out of time to write the script. Luckily our old friends and Birds writers, Gary Lawson and John Phelps, came on board to co-write the show with us. The result was a riotously successful touring production. We realised, as we watched the girls receive standing ovations, that we had four stage productions playing simultaneously around the country. The Birds toured again in 2013, by which time plans to revive the television series were well advanced.

Several BBC executives had come to see the Birds of a Feather stage show, and had been impressed and surprised by the size and enthusiasm of the audiences. With the three Birds on board, we wrote a TV script to introduce the show to the 21st century. However, when the script reached the desk of Danny Cohen, the Controller of BBC1, he liked what we'd written, but declared himself uncertain of the merits of a revival (this was before Poldark). He asked us if we would be happy to make a Christmas special instead. The implication was that if the viewers loved it, no doubt a series would ensue.

However, we were keen to write and make a series, and as the show was owned by Retort, the production company, rather than by the BBC, we were free to offer it to other channels. A few days later we were sitting in a boardroom at ITV, whose executives looked as if it was their Christmas that had arrived early. It took ITV Director of Television Peter Fincham a matter of minutes to commission an eight part series.

We got together with fellow writers Lawson and Phelps to share the scripting, and the series aired at the beginning of 2014. The first episode reached over 12 million. Peter Fincham's email to us read simply "Wow!" ITV's second season of Birds - the eleventh series so far, was broadcast at the beginning of 2015, and we are now working on ITV series three.

Back to Love Me Do: We'd worked with Brigid Larmour, of the Watford Palace Theatre, on our previous radio-to-stage adaptation, Von Ribbentrop's Watch. We were was eager to find a new way of making the play, and we agreed it would be fun - and challenging - to find a different theatre style, more "physical theatre". Brigid brought in a co-director, Shona Morris, who specialises in theatre movement, incorporating elements of dance and mime. It sounds as if it might be inaccessible and experimental. In fact it turned out to be involving, fast, and sometimes funny. The audiences loved it, and so did we. Of all our theatre work so far, this has given us the most artistic satisfaction, and we have high hopes of Love Me Do returning to the stage next year.

At the same time that we were attending rehearsals for Love Me Do, our newest musical, Dreamboats and Miniskirts was opening at the Theatre Royal Windsor, before embarking on a seemingly everlasting tour. It's a sequel to Dreamboats and Petticoats, taking the characters forward into the magical year of 1963, when suddenly home grown pop music started to expel American artists from our charts, before going on to conquer the USA. The music of Miniskirts is the music we grew up listening to, dancing to, wooing to, and eventually playing in a series of forgotten pop groups, so our fingers are firmly crossed in the hope that the new show reaches and entertains as many as did its prequel.