The Likely Lads are back again

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MACKEM stand-up comic John Cooper is set to star in a stage adaptation of Whatever Happened to The Likely Lads?

Recreating two classic episodes from the 1970s sitcom, Strangers on a Train and Boys Night In, John and pal Sean Mason will play the roles of Terry Collier and Bob Ferris respectively, originally played by Sunderland-born James Bolam and Rodney Bewes.

John, who was born in Sunderland in the 1970s, said: “Watching the original series back now, there are many themes in it that still ring true today. There’s actually a lot in the script.

“We’re not trying to re-create the Bolam/Bewes television version, as that stands alone. Also we’re not updating it like Ant and Dec did few years back. Instead we’ve gone back to the original script to take a fresh look. It really is the original bromance.”

The production, which runs from June 5-10 in Manchester, got the green light after Likely Lads creator Dick Clement gave his blessing for a stage adaptation.

Tasked with bringing the series to the stage, director Brainne Edge said: “I wanted to make sure we had two strong performers in the lead roles, and the fact that John and Sean were also best friends in real life was a huge bonus. The interplay between these characters holds the piece together.

She added: “It’s funny, it’s touching, and it’s Northern.”