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Carla Lane’s Liver Birds return as a Musical

Carla Lane’s 1970s sitcom The Liver Birds has been adapted into a stage musical, due to open in Liverpool next week.

Written by musician Barb Jungr, who says the late Carla Lane gave her blessing for the musical before her death in 2016, the show is called The Liver Birds Flying Home and features Beryl and Sandra now in their 60s. The pair will experience flashbacks to their lives 40 years ago.

The script was written with George Seaton and BBC Radio Merseyside presenter  Linda McDermott, including the lyrics for the 23 songs. Level 42 keyboard player Mike Lindup composed the music.

Beryl has made it to chief executive of a biscuit company, while Sandra has returned from her adopted home of Canada after the death of her mother. The two reunite in a chance meeting in the street, Barb Jungr explained to the BBC, “Then, slowly, through the flashbacks and through them telling their stories, you find out what happened between them”.

Lesley Molony and Joanna Monro have been cast as the present day Beryl and Sandra, while Lucinda Lawrence and Nicola Munns will play their younger versions in flashbacks. The roles were originally played by  Polly James and Nerys Hughes.

Co-writer George Seaton said: “There is nothing postmodern or mocking in the script and hopefully fans of The Liver Birds will see their beloved characters in the present day and know that it is a continuation of their story. Equally anyone who doesn’t know The Liver Birds will hopefully engage with a story of friendship, love and hope and relate to the characters.”

The Liver Birds, like Carla Lane’s other creations, introduced new and untrodden ground for the world of sitcom. Telling the story of two single women leaving home to make their own lives rather than marrying.