In More Than Likely: A Memoir, the duo will tell the story of how they became writing partners and went on to script some of British comedy’s best known shows.
The blurb explains: Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais are the creators of some of British television’s most beloved comedies. Essex-born Clement teamed up with Geordie insurance salesman La Frenais in the early 1960s and scripted a series about two young pals from Newcastle, The Likely Lads, which became one of BBC Two‘s first hits. The duo went on to create the classic sitcoms Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads?, Porridge starring Ronnie Barker, and Auf Wiedersehen, Pet.
“Together and separately they have worked as writers and script editors for some of the most famous TV programmes ever made, and with stellar performers that include Billy Connolly and Tracey Ullman. Clement and La Frenais have been partners for more than five decades: longer than Rodgers and Hammerstein, Gilbert and Sullivan, Laurel and Hardy, and Morecambe and Wise. Their career has covered writing, directing and producing for movies and the theatre as well as for television. They have written comedy set in factories, prisons and building sites; drama set in shabby London streets and the corridors of power; musicals about bands coming together and bands breaking apart. Along the way they have had some memorable encounters with movie stars like Richard Burton, Ava Gardner and Marlon Brando; and with poets, prima donnas, politicians and rock stars. This is their story.”
The rights to the book have been acquired by publisher Weidenfeld & Nicolson. Chairman Alan Samson says: “Dick and Ian have long been recognised as pre-eminent writers for the screen, large and small. For the first time they are stepping out in front of the camera to describe their creations with immense flair, wit and insight, and the truly famous people they have worked with. They are writers of genius, and it is an honour – and great fun – to be publishing this book on the Weidenfeld list.”
Their agent Tarquin Gotch comments: “When the Angry Young Men changed British film in the 1960s, Ian and Dick did the same for television, bringing regional working-class comedy to our national black-and-white screens for the first time. They have continued to make us laugh through all of TV’s changes: colour, cable, hi-def and now streaming.”
Clement & La Frenais comment: “We feel privileged and blessed to have been storytellers almost all our adult lives – and even more so that we are still telling them.”
More Than Likely will be published in hardback and eBook on 19th September 2019. It can be pre-ordered below.
In April, British Comedy Guide spoke to the writers about their career. Interview
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