W&N nets memoir of Likely Lads writers Clement and La Frenais

W&N nets memoir of Likely Lads writers Clement and La Frenais

Weidenfeld & Nicolson has landed the memoir of "Porridge" and "The Likely Lads" screenwriters Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais.

Alan Samson, chairman and publisher, acquired world rights excluding the USA and Canada from Jemima Hunt of the Writers’ Practice on behalf of Tarquin Gotch at Serious Comedy. More Than Likely will be published in hardback on 19th September.

Clement and Le Frenais teamed up in the early 1960s and scripted a series about two young friends from Newcastle, “The Likely Lads”, which became one of BBC Two's first hits. The pair went on to create a string of classics including “Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads?”, “Auf Wiedersehen, Pet”, “Lovejoy”, “The Commitments”, “Henry IX” and “Chasing Bono”.

The synopsis explains: “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.”

“Dick and Ian have long been recognised as pre-eminent writers for the screen, large and small,” Samson said. “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.”

The authors 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.”

Gotch added: “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.”