Screen plays: The growth of the live-action spin-offs

If it's a hit on the telly, the chances are it will soon be coming to a theatre near you

Live studio audiences are an essential ingredient in many of our favourite television shows. But now, broadcasters are casting aside cameras altogether to focus on theatre-goers – and the money that can be shaken out of their wallets – by adapting an increasing number of programmes for the stage.

Dr Who will regenerate as an all-action stage show later this year – complete with cybermen, daleks, an "epic on-stage battle" and a script by lead writer Steven Moffat – but without the TV doctor, Matt Smith.

Broadcasters argue that live shows add an extra dimension to the television experience; but they also bring in millions of extra pounds in ticket and merchandise sales as well as showcasing TV brands around the world.

Other adaptations include Coronation Street, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary with a stage show at the Lowry Theatre in Salford in August; and a brand new Inspector Morse – written with the blessing of author Colin Dexter – is at theatres across the country in September.

Scruffy Los Angeles TV cop Columbo is also solving murders on the nation's provincial stages; petrolheads can get a live fix of Top Gear and exhaust fumes at the Birmingham Arena and Earls Court, London, in November; while Yes, Prime Minister – the 1980s comedy about slippery politics in the back rooms of Westminster – is transferring to the West End after a successful run in Chichester.

Live versions of television shows are not new – The Tweenies have been doing arena tours since 2000 and Britain's Got Talent and X Factor finalists regularly tour together after the TV competition. The pace is increasing, however, as companies wake up to the extra money such shows can bring in. The BBC's arena shows sold 1.9 million tickets last year. Half a million of those were for the UK tour of Walking with Dinosaurs, priced between £20 and £45. Next year's Strictly Come Dancing tour will see an estimated 280,000 people buy tickets priced between £35 and £60 – grossing an estimated £10m. And that doesn't include the T-shirt.

The BBC also wants to showcase its TV shows in foreign markets.

Dr Who will be travelling to South Korea where it has a massive following; Top Gear has been on a live arena tour around the world, as has Walking with Dinosaurs which is currently in North America.

Craig Stanley, of BBC Worldwide Live, the business arm of the BBC, which is behind the Dr Who theatre show, said the corporation wants to double the number of its live shows in the next three years, and is even working on a "semi-permanent" visitor attraction attached to one hit show – believed to be Dr Who.

Coronation Street

Corrie will be celebrating 50 years of Northern wit and serial killers in December. To mark this milestone, all 7,000 episodes are to be abridged and performed at the Lowry Theatre in Salford from August

Inspector Morse

The Oxford detective lives again in a new stage play by Alma Cullen. Former Dr Who Colin Baker plays the lead. Tours from September

Top Gear

Jeremy Clarkson and friends' world tour rumbles into Birmingham and London in November

Walking with Dinosaurs

The BBC's monster hit is now a giant touring arena show, complete with animatronic fearsome creatures. It is currently in the US

Fawlty Towers – The Dining Experience

Basil, Sybil and Manuel will be bringing chaos to a restaurant near you in this show, during which they serve the audience a three-course meal. Just don't complain about the duck

Pineapple Dance Studios

Sky's docusoap has made a star out of Louie Spence. It is now rumoured that a stage show is being prepared

Dr Who

The Time Lord will be landing in Victorian London in October, to thrill his fans with battles and vibrating seats

Yes, Prime Minister

Jim Hacker (Henry Goodman) and Sir Humphrey (David Haig), in the West End in September


Dirk Benedict plays the scruffy detective in Prescription: Murder, touring now

Strictly Come Dancing

From January, celebrities and professional dancers will be hoofing at an arena near you

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

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Arts and Entertainment
Place Blanche, Paris, 1961, shot by Christer Strömholm
photographyHow the famous camera transformed photography for ever
Arts and Entertainment
The ‘Westmacott Athlete’
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv Some of the characters appear to have clear real-life counterparts
Brooks is among a dozen show-business professionals ever to have achieved Egot status
Arts and Entertainment
A cut above: Sean Penn is outclassed by Mark Rylance in The Gunman
film review
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in I Am Michael

Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the movie 'Get Hard'
tvWill Ferrell’s new film Get Hard receives its first reviews
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: David Cameron (Mark Dexter), Nick Clegg (Bertie Carvel) and Gordon Brown (Ian Grieve)
tvReview: Ian Grieve gets another chance to play Gordon Brown... this is the kinder version
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in the first look picture from next year's Sherlock special

Arts and Entertainment
Because it wouldn’t be Glastonbury without people kicking off about the headline acts, a petition has already been launched to stop Kanye West performing on the Saturday night

Arts and Entertainment
Molly Risker, Helen Monks, Caden-Ellis Wall, Rebekah Staton, Erin Freeman, Philip Jackson and Alexa Davies in ‘Raised by Wolves’

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special

Arts and Entertainment
Game of Thrones will run for ten years if HBO gets its way but showrunners have mentioned ending it after seven

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
Mans Zelmerlow will perform 'Heroes' for Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest 2015

Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth (Heida Reed) and Ross Poldark (Aiden Turner) in the BBC's remake of their 1975 original Poldark

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

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

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

    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
    How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

    How to make your own Easter egg

    Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

    Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

    Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
    Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

    Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

    The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

    Cricket World Cup 2015

    Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
    The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing