Birds of a Feather is set to return to TV after 15 years, but the classic sitcom will now air on ITV after being lured away from BBC.

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All three stars of the original show set in Chigwell – Linda Robson, Pauline Quirk and Lesley Joseph- will return for a brand new run of eight episodes, which will begin filming in September.

A source told The Sun: “The idea has been kicking around for a while and all the cast were up for it. Top brass heard that the writers had only been offered a one-off special at the BBC, so they decided to strike.

“The scripts are great and still crackling with the kind of gags that made it such a big success all those years ago. It’s all very hush-hush right now, but ITV are delighted that they’ve managed to land it.”

The hit comedy aired on BBC for nine years between 1989 and 1998 and has produced 102 episodes.

The show follows the hijinks of bickering sisters Tracey and Sharon Stubbs – played by Robson and Quirk – who move in together after their husbands are sent to prison, while Joseph plays their man-eating neighbour, Dorien Green.

The trio staged a theatre revival of the hit sitcom last year and Quirk revealed that a new series of the show was in the works in February.