Tessa Peake-Jones (Grantchester, Only Fools and Horses) and Gwyneth Strong (Only Fools and Horses, EastEnders) will star together in the touring stage adaption of the hugely popular Ladies of Letters from April. Adapted by the acclaimed Jonathan Harvey (Coronation Street, Gimme Gimme Gimme), this production will mark the duo’s first time working together since Only Fools and Horses. Directed by Joanna Read, Chief Executive of the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, the tour will open at the theatre with a press night on Tuesday 3rd May. The tour will then visit Perth Theatre, Derby Theatre, Malvern Festival Theatre, Warwick Arts Centre, Hall For Cornwall and Norwich Theatre Royal.
Irene Spencer and Vera Small, two suburban women in their sixties battle the big issues of the 21st century, from climate change protest and accidental imprisonment, to handy recipes for tasty petit fours and how to get stains out of slacks. They are best frenemies. Using the long lost artform of letter writing, they freely vent their views on their ungrateful children, how to find love at 60, and, on each other.
Ladies of Letters is riotously funny, packed with acidic detail that women (and men) navigating ungrateful families and M & S in an unforgiving world know so well.
Created by Lou Wakefield and Carole Hayman, the much-loved Ladies of Letters was originally written for BBC Radio 4 running for 13 years and becoming a household staple. The sharply observant comedy was also adapted into an acclaimed ITV series that still runs today.
Tessa Peake-Jones, who will be playing Irene in Ladies of Letters, comments ‘I can’t think of a better play to be performing than Ladies of Letters. It celebrates women, fighting spirit and friendship. So, who better to do it with than my dear friend Gwyneth. We’ve never appeared on stage together so there’ll be plenty of laughs – on stage and off!!’
Gwyneth Strong, who will be playing Vera in Ladies of Letters, said ‘I am really looking forward to working on Ladies of Letters with my great friend Tessa. We have remained close friends since we last worked together over 30 years ago but never had the opportunity, until now, to actually work together again,’
Since Only Fools and Horses ended in 2003, Tessa and Gwyneth have had busy careers. Tessa is well known as Mrs Chapman in ITV’s Grantchester. Her other credits include Unforgotten, Marchlands, Doctor Who, and Poirot. Gwyneth has appeared in numerous classic stage productions and TV shows, with screen credits including roles on Eastenders, Silent Witness, A Touch of Frost, and Casualty, to name a few.
The Yvonne Arnaud Theatre opened its doors in 1965 and built an impressive reputation as a producer of significant work much of which transferred to the West End and toured nationally. Ladies of Letters comes hot on the heels of the tour of Sheila’s Island and is at the forefront of Joanna Read’s commitment to re-establishing the theatre as a maker of great productions for Guildford, and beyond.
For more information on dates and tickets visit https://www.yvonne-arnaud.co.uk/whats-on/ladies-letters