The Long Theatrical Gestation Of Duty Free

Yesterday we looked at the fascinating theatrical origins of Rising Damp. Another sitcom, also co-written by Eric Chappel, with Jean Warr, which likewise had an origin in a play, was Duty Free.

This seemed like it was on all the time in the 1980s, but it only aired for three series and 22 episodes between 1984 and 1986 (and two of those series were both in 1984!).

The play it was based on was called We’re Strangers Here, which was first staged in 1973, around the same time that the play Rising Damp was based on transferred to London. It was a 30 minute play that aired on Granada.

Here’s an announcement of a live run in 1980, from The Stage.

It was re-staged a year later at the end of July, and renamed Foreign Exchange.

And here’s how The Stage announced Duty Free on 30th June 1983.

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