Entertainment & Arts

Laurel and Hardy inspire BBC drama

Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy in 1950
Image caption The film will chronicle the latter stages of Laurel and Hardy's careers

The BBC is to make a new film drama about comedy legends Laurel and Hardy.

The biopic will be written by Jeff Pope, who created the TV dramas Mrs Biggs and Appropriate Adult and co-wrote Philomena with Steve Coogan.

Stan and Ollie will chronicle the pair's 1953 tour of Britain, when their careers were on the wane and beset with problems.

Casting details, a filming schedule and a date for the film's transmission have yet to be announced.

Shane Allen, the BBC's controller of comedy commissioning, said the film would be a "love letter to two pioneers and enduring giants of screen comedy".

The 90-minute one-off film, he continued, would "beautifully" capture the comedians' "deep emotional bond... with great insight and heart".

Pope has amassed a series of credits as a screenwriter and producer, including City Lights, Pierrepoint and Dirty Filthy Love.

The film will be produced by BBC Comedy in partnership with The Weinstein Company, which distributed Philomena in the US.

Image caption Pope (l) wrote Philomena with Steve Coogan, who appeared in the film with Dame Judi Dench

Laurel was born in Ulverston - then in Lancashire, now in Cumbria - before emigrating to the US and finding fame in Hollywood as a naive, child-like foil to Hardy's pompous blusterer.

Hardy eventually died in 1957 at the age of 65. Laurel died eight years later aged 74, having received an honorary Oscar in 1961.

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