Dallas stars launch revamped series

 

Stars of the classic US soap opera Dallas have been reunited in London to mark the arrival of a new series to UK television screens.

The date of the first episode of the revamped 1980s drama is expected to be announced today, which will see the return of former stars Patrick Duffy and Linda Gray, with Larry Hagman reprising his role as JR Ewing.

The Dallas cast gathered in central London last night for the UK launch of the 10-part series about the struggles of the oil-rich Ewing clan, which is set to air on Channel 5 next month.

Jesse Metcalfe, who found fame as hunky gardener John Rowland in Desperate Housewives, said the popularity of his former show influenced the decision to bring Dallas back to the screen.

Metcalfe, who plays Christopher Ewing in the new Dallas series, said: "I think Desperate Housewives definitely took its cue from the original Dallas. There's no doubt about that.

"But I think that Desperate Housewives in some respects is responsible for reopening the door for more scripted drama and more night-time soap operas.

"I think that being on the heels of Desperate Housewives is why the new Dallas was possible."

Dallas was a huge hit three decades ago when it was shown on BBC1 as viewers were gripped by the rivalry between brothers JR and Bobby, played by Duffy.

The famous "Who shot JR?" storyline caused a buzz around the world.

The new series features Metcalfe and Brenda Strong, who both appeared in Desperate Housewives, with a new generation fighting for the family fortune.

Gray, who plays JR's long-suffering former wife Sue Ellen, said fans should expect similar storylines to those which gripped audiences of the original series.

She said: "I think it's more of the same but there's a quality about this new show. It's different in a nice way."

Duffy added: "There's so much reality television and so many musical contests. This is good old-fashioned drama. It's 'sit on the edge of your seat' kind of fun. I think people need to have fun and not root for somebody to be eliminated.

"We're being relaunched in the UK because we were really launched here 30 years ago. You guys adopted us and said we were your favourite show. Then all of a sudden we were an international success, just like in the US."

Asked whether JR was television's most famous villain, Hagman said: "Of course he is. He's the top."

Among Dallas's famous fans at the series launch was The Who singer Roger Daltrey, who revealed the band's former drummer Keith Moon was a friend of Hagman.

Daltrey, who recently performed at the Olympic closing ceremony, said: "It (Dallas) was just wonderful escapism and they were such well drawn characters.

"They were people you meet every day in the office I'm sure. But they transposed it to this ranch in Dallas. It was extremely good writing."

PA

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