The stars of 1990s television comedy Drop The Dead Donkey are getting back together for a stage show, which comes to the West Midlands next year.
A little older, a little greyer, the warring staff of the Globelink News channel will be back together on the stage of Birmingham's Alexandra Theatre for a return of the award-winning newsroom comedy, which ran for six series from 1990 to 1998.
The series followed the troubles of the television news channel following its takeover by tabloid media baron Sir Royston Merchant, loosely based on both Rupert Murdoch and the late Robert Maxwell.
It also cast a cynical eye over current affairs of the decade, including the end of Margaret Thatcher's government, the rise and fall of John Major, and the dawn of the Tony Blair era.
The stage show will be without boozy, cantankerous anchorman Henry Davenport as actor David Swift died in 2016.
But six members of the original cast – Stephen Tompkinson, Neil Pearson, Susannah Doyle, Robert Duncan, Jeff Rawle, and Victoria Wicks – are back for the new adaptation, along with Ingrid Lacey who replaced Haydn Gwynne from series three onwards.
The Channel 4 series won five Bafta awards as well as a joint Emmy award shared with the BBC's Absolutely Fabulous.
Series creators Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin will be behind the script of the new stage show, which will reflect the modern 24-hour news cycle and the impact of social media.
Hamilton said: “We’re overjoyed to be working again with the original cast of Drop The Dead Donkey, after a brief hiatus of about 30 years.
"It’s going to be hugely enjoyable to watch those seven funny, flawed characters from Globelink News being plunged into the cut-throat world of modern 24-hour news gathering and trying to navigate their way through the daily chaos of social media, fake news, and interim prime ministers.”
Probably the most instantly recognisable member of the cast is Jeff Rawle, who played Globelink's ineffectual editor George Dent. Fans of the series will remember how George became a nervous wreck as he fought a losing battle to maintain editorial standards against the wishes of his ratings-chasing bosses, while also dealing with the collapse of his marriage and his delinquent daughter Deborah.
Visibly older, but probably not much wiser, is George's boss, Gus Hedges. Robert Duncan returns as Gus, originally a yuppie management whizzkid with imposed on the Globelink team by the new proprietor.
Known for his fondness for unintelligible gobbledegook, he was disliked and mistrusted by the editorial team. His attempts to interfere with news stories were usually preceded by the catchphrase 'As you know, I'm not here'.
Victoria Wicks starred as Sally Smedley, the shallow, vapid former Blue Peter presenter brought in by Gus as a newsreader to attract new viewers. Her diva-like demands and clash of egos with fellow newscaster Henry quickly alienated her from the rest of the team, and added to George's woes.
Stephen Tompkinson played Damien Day, the amoral field reporter whose sensational news stories made him a favourite of Gus – which undermined George's attempts to discipline him for unethical and unprofessional behaviour.
Neil Pearson played Dave Charnley, the intelligent but weak-willed dogsbody, whose career was frustrated by his addictive personality and messy private life.
Ingrid Lacey joined the cast in 1993 as assistant editor Helen Cooper, who attempted to bring a bit of order and professionalism to the newsroom, but with little success.
Susannah Doyle starred as the inappropriately named Joy Merryweather, the sullen but efficient secretary whose aggressive temperament struck fear into the entire newsroom.
Drop The Dead Donkey: The Reawakening will run at Birmingham Alexandra Theatre from April 16 to 20, 2024