Entertainment & Arts

Russ Abbott to star in new BBC retirement comedy

The cast of Grey Mates
Image caption Russ Abbot (l) plays John, who is seemingly enjoying retirement with a gadget-strewn house

Russ Abbott is among the stars set to appear in a new BBC One retirement comedy, it has been announced.

The show, provisionally called Grey Mates, will also feature June Whitfield and Stephanie Beacham in a group of pensioners living on the Norfolk coast.

Forming a trio of recently retired couples, they face their twilight years from very different perspectives.

Filming on the show is due to begin in the Spring and it will be screened later in 2014.

Alison Steadman, Philip Jackson, Paula Wilcox and James Smith complete the principal cast of the new serial.

Whitfield, famed for her roles in sitcoms Terry and June and Absolutely Fabulous, is the senior member of the cast, at 88, and plays the mother of Maureen (Stephanie Beacham).

Abbot, best known for his self-titled sketch show, which ran from 1986-91, with a brief return later in the 90s, also had a role in evergreen sitcom Last of the Summer Wine.

He played Luther "Hobbo" Hobdyke from 2008-10 before the series came to an end after 37 years on the screen.

Image caption Lacey Turner will reprise her role as Molly Dawes

Controller of BBC One Charlotte Moore said: "Comedy has a unique ability to make the ordinary extraordinary and Grey Mates delivers that with a big hit of characters."

She added that the onset of retirement is "hilariously brought to life by a stellar cast whose relationships are tested in a multitude of ways".

BBC One also announced a five-part run of Our Girl, starring former EastEnders actress Lacey Turner, following its success as a single drama earlier this year.

Turner plays Molly Dawes, who serves in Afghanistan as part of the Royal Army Medical Corps.

A three-part documentary about the inner workings of fast food giant KFC was also announced, taking a boardroom-to-restaurant look at the business.

Moore said: "The series will gain unprecedented and surprising access to a global super brand that, despite being on almost every high street up and down the country, we seemingly know very little about."

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