Northern actors Russ Abbott, Alison Steadman and Paula Wilcox will feature in a new BBC One sitcom called Grey Mates, the broadcaster confirmed today.

A 6×30-minute series written by Richard Pinto and made by Hat Trick Productions, Grey Mates will follow the ups and downs of three recently retired couples.

Also featuring in the all-star cast will be June Whitfield, Stephanie Beacham, Philip Jackson and James Smith.

The cast of Grey Mates

The cast of Grey Mates

Controller of BBC One, Charlotte Moore, said: “Comedy has a unique ability to make the ordinary extraordinary and Grey Mates delivers that with a big hit of character.

“The series follows three newly retired couples who re-discover what it means to have time on their hands, hilariously brought to life by a stellar cast whose relationships are tested in a multitude of ways.”

Chester-born Abbott, who became a household name with his own primetime comedy show in the 1980s and 1990s, has taken more theatre roles in recent roles but has also appeared briefly in Last of the Summer Wine and Casualty.

Grey Mates is written by Pinto (Citizen Khan, The Armstrong & Miller Show, The Kumars at No 42) and produced by Paul Schlesinger (Twenty Twelve, Citizen Khan). The series is directed by Adam Miller (Some Girls, Mongrels, Katy Brand’s Big Ass Show). The executive producers are Jimmy Mulville for Hat Trick Productions and Shane Allen (controller of Comedy Commissioning) and Gregor Sharp (Commissioning Editor) for the BBC.

The series will go into production next spring to screen later in the year.

Mulville said: “Richard Pinto has captured exactly what it’s like to be 60-something in the 21st Century. It’s laugh-out-loud and touching, sometimes in the same moment.”