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Birds of a Feather to return for Christmas but WITHOUT Pauline Quirke

Birds of a Feather 2017 Christmas Special Monday 18th December

Will Birds of a Feather be the same without Sharon?

Birds of a Feather will return for its first new episode in three years this Christmas - but without one of its main stars, Pauline Quirke.

Ever since the hit sitcom started in 1989, Pauline has starred as Sharon alongside Linda Robson (Tracey Stubbs) and Lesley Joseph (Dorien Green).

But ITV has revealed that she won’t be part of the new festive special.

“Unfortunately, Pauline Quirke will not be taking part in this Christmas special as she's stepping back from acting to focus on her 200 nationwide performing arts academies,” revealed the broadcaster.

The plot of the festive special will explain Sharon’s absence by having her stuck on a Covid-cruise.

Meanwhile, back in Essex Tracey and Dorien are busily getting on each other’s nerves in the extended one-off.

It will also feature Les Dennis as Dorien’s new flame Graeme.

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The special has been penned by its creators, Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran. They said: "We’re really excited to help bring Birds of a Feather back to ITV's screens to give the nation some seasonal cheer in these peculiar times."

Lesley Joseph added: "I'm so excited to be putting Dorien's high heels back on for a Christmas special of Birds.  It's been three years since viewers last saw us and Dorien's only gone and got herself a new man! We all need a laugh right now and I promise this special will deliver the festive goods!”

Linda Robson said “I'm so happy we have a new Birds adventure.  Trace and Dor have been at loggerheads with each other for months, will it be a peaceful Christmas in Essex?! The script for this special is brilliant, I promise we'll have lots of laughs for fans of the show."

ITV is yet to reveal an exact broadcast date for the Bird of a Feather Christmas special (see our TV Guide for more shows to enjoy).