Clement and La Frenais sell out Sunderland lecture

Dick Clement, left, and Ian La Frenais
Dick Clement, left, and Ian La Frenais
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THE legendary writing duo behind three of Britain’s classic comedies are returning to Sunderland for a sold-out lecture this week.

Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, who wrote The Likely Lads, Porridge and Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, will present their talk at 7pm on Friday in the University of Sunderland’s Murray Library Lecture Theatre.

Their trademark combination of dramatic plotlines and sharp naturalistic dialogue helped create classic British comedy.

Dan White, from the University of Sunderland, said: “They will be talking about their career, their three films and showing clips.”

The films, The Commitments, Still Crazy and Across the Universe, grossed £25million.

He added: “Then there will be a question-and-answer session so the public can get involved.”

The duo’s talk to about 280 people coincides with the 30th anniversary of the first episode of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet.

Despite the popularity of the writers, it is unknown whether or not the pair, who now live in LA, will return for further events if the lecture is a success.

Auf Wiedersehen, Pet continues to have a cult following across the world. The writers believe the programmes’ success come down to the characters.

They said: “We think the characters all felt real. It was also warm and not mean spirited.”

But the pair would not be drawn on their favourite character.

“Impossible to say – you’re not going to get us on that one,” they said.

The pair, among the first writers to get regional dialects and working-class situation comedy on to TV, began writing together in a London pub in the 1960s.

The university’s Discover series follows on from last year’s successful Public Lectures and aims to widen the focus of the talks.

The 2013-14 Discover series will also see talks by Sunderland’s only Oscar-winner David Parfitt, University of Sunderland graduate and Hebburn creator Jason Cook and TV war correspondent Kate Adie.

The university will present panel discussions, live interviews, and film and TV screenings with your chance to quiz artists.