Carla Lane, the creator of Bread, Butterflies and The Liver Birds, has decided to return to television following a self-imposed 17-year ‘retirement’. According to the Telegraph, her new sitcom will be set in Liverpool, which was the setting for many of her most popular comedies. Since retiring, Lane has spent years running an animal sanctuary in West Sussex and has long been a strong supporter of animal rights.
“I’ve started writing again now,” Lane said. “My mind is working on an idea. I’ve been seriously thinking of writing more about something here in Liverpool. It’s where I was born and I understand it best of all. It will be about a street, that I can tell you, because everything that happens in life happens in a Liverpool street.”
We first met Lane in September of 2009 when we interviewed her as part of PBS’ Behind the Britcom: From Script to Screen program. She spoke of how she unknowingly crashed the predominantly male-dominated world of British comedy, shared with us her writing style and also her extreme fondness for actor, Geoffrey Palmer, whom she had not seen in over 10 years until we engineered their being together for the interview. Palmer starred as Ben Parkinson in Lane’s late 70’s, early 80’s series, Butterflies.
Lane spoke at great length about being one of the early female pioneer writers of British situation comedy and how everything that she’s ever written stems from drama and sadness. She always began with a sad story, built a drama around the characters and then made it funny. Because of that there was some thought that it was tough for critics to wrap their heads around her life’s work. Even the BBC felt that there was something about that first Butterflies script that was just ‘not quite right’.
Let’s hope both critics and the BBC will wrap their heads around her next project.