The best West End shows adapted from television series
Whether they’re breathing life into television characters that have laid dormant for years, adapting real people into a stage show or a production that’s based on a show currently broadcasting, some of the greatest West End productions have been inspired by television series. From cult classics that entertained us decades ago to newer shows as seen on stage, we take a look at how the West End has injected a new life into television series.
Television series to the stage
Only Fools and Horses
Although the stage adaptation of Only Fools and Horses is currently playing at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, the television series has been in the hearts of the British public for over 30 years, first broadcast in 1981. Just like the television series, the stage adaptation follows the Trotters as they get up to mischief in their Reliant Robin. When everything’s kicking off in Peckham, it’s up to Del Boy, Rodney and Grandad to get involved, with Grandad reflecting on his life.
Oozing East End Cockney charm just like the television series, Only Fools and Horses is a nostalgic, theatrical trip down memory lane, filled with all your favourite television scenes. Check out these memorable moments from the show and listen to the musical soundtrack.
Inspired by the cheating scandal that rocked Who Wants to be A Millionaire in 2001, Quiz looks at what it means to take part in a television show where participants can receive a large cash sum. With the set created to evoke a studio atmosphere, audience members were immersed into the quiz show world, with theatregoers electronically voting to decide the end result of the show. With television bosses going to see Quiz and the show’s previous presenter Chris Tarrant praising Graham’s original, inventive play, the show put the unique quiz format on the West End map. James Graham’s Quiz has since been adapted for television, with a star cast including Michael Sheen, Matthew Macfadyen and Sian Clifford.
The Twilight Zone
From television show to stage, the production received its world premiere at the Almeida Theatre in 2017, with the show later transferring to the Ambassadors Theatre. The show compiled famous television scenes that helped the show earn its status as one of the twentieth-century broadcasting greats, conjuring plenty of West End mystery too.
The 1950s television series went on to inspire a number of modern-day programmes, including Black Mirror and American Horror Story. Read all about the legacy of The Twilight Zone on television with us.
I Can’t Sing – The X Factor Musical
From the first series of Pop Idol in 2001, the UK music charts have been filled with records by talent show contestants. Playing for just two months at the London Palladium, I Can’t Sing was inspired by The X Factor, as characters vied for the attention of the judges, based on famous television judging panels including Simon Cowell and Louis Walsh. The original cast of I Can’t Sing included Cynthia Erivo, Nigel Harman and Simon Lipkin. Although I Can’t Sing has not been revived in the West End since, there’s lots of shows starring British popstars including Beverley Knight and Nicola Roberts.
The Addams Family
While The Addams Family has never played in the West End, a musical based on the television family toured the country in 2017, playing at the New Wimbledon Theatre. Carrie Hope Fletcher played Wednesday Addams, a young woman who brings home a “normal” boy, surprising her dad, Gomez. As the pair try to hide Wednesday’s young love from her mother, Morticia, audiences can follow the family at an unforgettably creepy dinner party.