Alan Samson, Chairman & Publisher, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, has acquired world rights excluding the USA and Canada from Jemima Hunt of The Writers’ Practice on behalf of Tarquin Gotch at Serious Comedy to the memoir of legendary screenwriters Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, MORE THAN LIKELY.
Essex-born Clement teamed up with Geordie 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 comedies and dramas Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads?, Porridge, Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, Lovejoy, The Commitments, Henry IX (winner of the Rose D’Or 2017) and Chasing Bono (recently adapted for stage in the West End)
They have been writing 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; dramas 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 Hollywood stars like Richard Burton, Ava Gardner, Marlon Brando, Sean Connery, Michael Caine and Daniel Craig; not to mention poets, prima donnas, politicians and rock stars. This is their story.
Alan Samson said: “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.”
Ian’s mother said: “Writing’s all very well but it’s something you do once you’ve settled into something worthwhile.”
Dick and Ian said: “We feel privileged and blessed to have been storytellers almost all our adult lives – and even more so that we are still telling them.”
Tarquin Gotch said: “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.”
Sir Michael Caine said: ‘I’ve known them for years and they haven’t stopped making me laugh’
MORE THAN LIKELY by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais will be published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson in hardback on 19 September 2019, £20.