The antiques floor show

Two decades on, Victoria Wood's vintage soap spoof is back as a musical

Duncan Preston once had a part in
Crossroads, the ropey ITV soap where the sets moved more than the actors. "The very first scene I did on
Crossroads was full of what we call 'car crashes' - actors fluffing their lines, or talking over each other," he remembers. "And I thought, 'That was awful, we're bound to do it again.' But we didn't - we just went straight on to film the next scene."

Duncan Preston once had a part in Crossroads, the ropey ITV soap where the sets moved more than the actors. "The very first scene I did on Crossroads was full of what we call 'car crashes' - actors fluffing their lines, or talking over each other," he remembers. "And I thought, 'That was awful, we're bound to do it again.' But we didn't - we just went straight on to film the next scene."

Preston is well placed, then, to star in the musical version of Acorn Antiques, for which he is reunited with Victoria Wood, Julie Walters and Celia Imrie, the three other cast members from the spoof soap that featured in BBC1's Victoria Wood: As Seen On TV 20 years ago.

Set in a mouldering "Manchesterford'' antique shop that only ever had two customers, the parodic soap was so exactly observed that it is credited in some quarters with hastening Crossroads' demise.

Acorn Antiques was peopled by its snobbish owner, Miss Babs (Imrie), the oafish Mr Clifford (Preston) and the relentlessly keen Miss Berta (Wood). But the star of the show was undoubtedly Mrs Overall (Walters), a bumbling Brummie cleaner.

In the first half of the musical, the actors from Acorn Antiques have been off the telly for five years and are eking out a living at a dour little theatre in Sutton Coldfield. When they discover the next production is a cheerless portrait of working-class misery directed by the earnest John (Neil Morrissey), the cast revolt. Bo Beaumont, the grand actress who plays Mrs Overall, hijacks the play and inserts some numbers from Café Continental, a musical in which she starred in 1957.

Wood is the only actor not to reprise her original part - her character will be played by Sally Ann Triplett from Anything Goes. But Wood will be replacing Walters as Mrs Overall "on bingo nights'' (Monday evenings and Wednesday matinées).

"This is not a question of bringing back an old favourite - it's something completely new,'' says Walters. "It's nothing to do with the old telly sketches at all. It's just that the actors who once played parts in the soap are now mounting a musical. Telly is the kicking-off point, but if you've never seen the original, it doesn't matter because it's all explained."

Preston takes up the theme. "There is no danger of spoiling the memory of the original TV series because this is a totally different concept. It's us playing the actors five years after Acorn Antiques has been axed. Before, they were earning good, regular money on a soap, but now they're back in the real world and picking up terrible jobs because none of them can actually act. My character, Mr Clifford, is just as boring off stage as on.''

"It didn't take much persuading to get us to do it," adds Walters. "I love all the soaps. Coronation Street could still prop me up behind the bar any time they want!''

'Acorn Antiques', Theatre Royal, Haymarket, London, SW1 (0870 602 1110) booking to 19 March

Arts and Entertainment

Will Poulter will play the shape-shifting monsterfilm
Arts and Entertainment

books
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Hollywood

'Whether he left is almost immaterial'TV
Arts and Entertainment

game of thrones reviewWarning: spoilers

Arts and Entertainment
The original Star Wars trio of Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill

George Osborne confirms Star Wars 8 will film at Pinewood Studios in time for 4 May

film

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before