Birds of a Feather was created by Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran, who had previously had good form with Shine on Harvey Moon, Goodnight Sweetheart, and The New Statesmen.
The title of the series comes from the saying "Birds of a feather flock together” and refers to those of similar tastes congregating in groups. The earliest written use of is in 1545 when William Turner used a version of it in his papist satire The Rescuing of Romish Fox: "Byrdes of on kynde and color flok and flye allwayes together." Some believe it dates from much earlier, however.
Jobs for the Girls
Pauline Quirke and Linda Robson were long-term pals who had appeared in many a show prior to playing the Birds. They appeared on the kids TVs You Must Be Joking and had acted in Marks and Gran’s previous hit Shine on Harvey Moon. They have also worked together since, having a stab at various careers in the BBC series Jobs for the Girls.
Neighbour from hell
Man mad Dorien Green, the girls next-door neighbour was arguably the star of the show. Camp hardly describes Lesley Joseph’s performance, with storylines involving toy boys and a karaoke performance as Madonna, burning indelibly on the audience’s retinas.
Sing the theme tune
The series used Irving Berlin’s What’ll I Do as the theme tune, but from the third series a version sung by Quirke and Robson was used.
Home to roost
It looked like the series had ended with the sixth run, but the show returned in 1997 for another three series. The sixth series opened with the sisters welcoming back their husbands, but their freedom was short-lived - they committed another crime and were sent down for another stretch. Further shocks followed with Tracey forced to sell her home, Dorien discovering her husband was cheating on her, and Sharon finding she was pregnant.
From Chiswick to the Jungle
Recently Robson took part in the 2012 series of I’m a Celebrity, while Quirke could be seen as Susan Wright in Broadchurch. We won’t spoil it for you, by telling you if she did it!
Stand by Your Man
An attempt to make a US version of the series was doomed to failure. Stand by Your Man lasted a only eight episodes. In the remake, Little House on the Prairie child star Melissa Gilbert and chat show and stand-up comedian Rosie O’Donnell played sisters Rochelle and Lorraine.
Birds on tour
Pauline Quirke, Linda Robson and Lesley Joseph returned in an all-new stage version in 2012. Set in the present day, it sees Dorien get in touch with the sisters after a gap of 14 years. Murder, a poisoning and the usual high-jinks recreate the feel of the series in a script from two of the original writers. Playing Sharon’s son Traviss (who was born in the last ever episode) is Pauline’s own son Charlie. Find our more about the production at www.birdsontour.com