Cissie and Ada return

In a new play on 20th anniversary of Les Dawson's death

Les Dawson's best-loved creations are to be revived for a new stage play to mark the 20th anniversary of his death.

Cissie and Ada: An Hysterical Rectomy recreates the two gossipy housewife alter-egos of Dawson and comic actor Roy Barraclough.

Terry Ravenscroft, who wrote many of the later Cissie and Ada scripts, helped playwright Graham Warrener with his work, which opens at the Broadway Theatre in Barking, East London, next month.

Warrener told Chortle: 'Although Terry did not create the Cissie and Ada characters, I believe he truly understood them as real women who had stories to tell, and this was a major factor in setting the timeline for the play.

'I visited Terry at his local in the Peak District and got an invaluable insight in to both the characters and what it was like to work with Les and Roy. Terry is a charming man and one of the truly great British comedy writers, and he has been courteous and supportive throughout.'

The play is based around Les's return to the BBC in the late Seventies. Warrener said: 'This allowed us to look at not only a number of important issues that were going on in Les's private life at the time, but also to utilise the cream of the Cissie and Ada sketches.'

Revelations aout Jimmy Savile's abuse threw the culture of the BBC's light entertainent department at that time into the headlines while Warrener was working on his script, and he felt compelled to addres the issue.

'The first draft I had made reference to women having a tough time of things at the BBC,' he said. 'By the time people were reading the draft, the Savlle scandal had begun to come to light and it was assumed that I had made the reference for that reason. We subsequently decided it was something we could take a look at, and it is discussed in the play, but it's by no means the integral part of the show and certainly has no bearing on Les and Roy.

'The story is fictional, although incidents and events featured in the play are drawn from real life at the time. For dramatic purpose it has been necessary to create scenarios that may not actually have taken place. Indeed, the play features a writer called 'Terry', but the character is by no means drawn from the real one...'

Cissie and Ada: An Hysterical Rectomy opens at the Broadway Theatre, Barking, on March 27 and runs for just 12 shows. It stars Coronation Street actors Eric Potts and Steven Arnold, plus Steve Nallon, the impressionist most famous for mimicking Mrs Thatcher.

Unusually, the theatre will be streaming the play online, so fans can watch it for £2.99 on their computer or tablet.

Dawson died of a heart attack on June 10,1993, at the age of 62, during a check-up at a hospital in Whalley Range, Manchester.

Here is a Cissie and Ada sketch:

Published: 2 Feb 2013

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