Maurice Gran and Laurence Marks, who penned TV classic Birds of a Feather, bring stage show Save The Last Dance For Me to Derby Assembly Rooms
Maurice Gran helped pen some of Britain's best-loved sitcoms. Now he and writing partner Laurence Marks will see their latest work on the Derby stage, as Lynne Brighouse discovers
A CHILDHOOD friendship has led to a lifelong writing partnership for talented scribes Maurice Gran and Laurence Marks.
The pair, who jointly penned some of Britain's most well-known TV sitcoms, from Birds of A Feather to the New Statesman and Goodnight Sweetheart, in the late 80s and 90s are now making their mark on stage musicals.
Their most recent project Save The Last Dance For Me, comes to Derby next week.
Maurice Gran – one half of this successful team – says they are both enjoying the transition to live theatre, which provides instant feedback from the audience.
"It is a wonderful feeling to hear the audience responding and enjoying your writing, especially when they are laughing at the humour," he says.
Although a TV audience is more elusive in terms of their reactions, Maurice and Laurence were pleased Birds of a Feather ran for more than 100 episodes and obviously did hit the right notes with the viewing public.
"That was, of course, very satisfying," says Maurice. "We came along at just the right time. There were lots of comedy slots on TV in the late 80s but few sitcoms in which all the main characters were women, not to mention working-class women.
"Pauline Quirke and Linda Robson had great chemistry. "They are good actors, people believed in them.
"It was also quite racy for the time which I think people enjoyed."
In Save The Last Dance For Me the writers are re-visiting what is generally regarded as a more innocent era – the 1950s. However, Maurice's view is that the eternal human dilemmas of love; relationships; and how we deal with difference and the disapproval of others span all eras and all generations.
"Save the Last Dance for me is partially a celebration some of the best-loved music of the time but it is more than a nostalgic piece, there are themes which are all relevant to people today."
Set during the golden age of Rock and Roll, the show tells the story of two sisters from Reading. One has a romance with a black US air force officer, creating a stir among their friends and exploring how love can overcome difficulties and prejudices.
WHAT: Save the Last Dance for Me
WHERE: Assembly Rooms
WHEN: February 4-9
TICKETS: Call Derby 255800 or visit www.derbylive.co.uk