Play for Nigel

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Nick Fisher, creator of the hit BBC2 comedy Manchild and author of a string of teen advice books, has written a new stage play for Nigel Havers heading for Chichester this autumn. (Chichester Festival Theatre, November 28).

Nick, who lives in rural Dorset with his wife, three sons and a daughter, first met Havers when the actor played the lead in Manchild. The two became friends and Havers subsequently asked Nick to write a play for him.

The result is Basket Case, a twisted comedy set in the tasteful Wiltshire kitchen of a divorced couple. Havers plays golf-mad smoothie, Guy and Christine Kavanagh (his wife from Manchild), plays his ex wife, Miranda. They are thrown back together for one day by the imminent death of the ancient family dog.

The cast also stars former Archers’ actor Graham Seed as the family vet, Martin. Robin Lefevre (All My Sons, The Glass Menagerie) directs the production.

Nick said: “In the past, I’ve written for film, TV, books and radio. I’ve written comedy and drama – for children and adult audiences, but I never considered writing for theatre.

“To be perfectly honest, I’ve hardly ever been to the theatre. But I do like a challenge, there’s something very exciting about writing a live performance, and it’s always a bit of a gift to write for Nigel.’

Nigel is thrilled by the result.

“Nick was my first choice to write a new play, because I do so enjoy acting out his writing. It’s fast, funny, furious and cuts into characters like a filleting knife. I can’t wait to get started touring Basket Case. He’s created such a great and awful character for me – for all the cast, in fact. It’s a play full of laughs mixed with touching bittersweet moments. Really, I can’t wait.”

Nick’s writing career has been diverse. He won a BAFTA for creating the children’s drama (The Giblet Boys), and has written episodes of New Tricks (BBC1) and Hustle (BBC1). His hit comedy Manchild (BBC2) was exported to Los Angeles, where a pilot was made by Sex In The City producer Darren Starr, and to Moscow, where his original scripts were translated into Russian. Nick has also written episodes of Diamond Geezer starring Sir David Jason (ITV), Crusoe (NBC - USA) and has gained writing credits on An Hour with Jonathan Ross, Children’s Ward and currently works as a core-writer on Holby City (BBC1).