Tessa Peake-Jones, who played Del Boy’s long-term partner Raquel, and Gwyneth Strong, who was cast as Rodney’s wife Cassandra, will perform in the stage adaptation of Ladies of Letters at Derby Theatre from May 17 to 21, 2022.
They are taking on the roles of suburban women in their sixties who 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.
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, who plays retired medical receptionist Irene, said: “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, who plays ex-mobile librarian Vera, 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.
Tickets for Ladies of Letters are priced from £16; go to www.derbytheatre.co.uk