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Julia Sawalha keen for Press Gang reunion 30 years on

The children’s series will soon be available to stream on BritBox.

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Julia Sawalha first starred in Press Gang (Ian West/PA)

Julia Sawalha first starred in Press Gang (Ian West/PA)

Julia Sawalha first starred in Press Gang (Ian West/PA)

Julia Sawalha has said she would be keen for a Press Gang reunion, almost 30 years after the children’s TV drama came to an end.

The series about a children’s newspaper called the Junior Gazette was broadcast on ITV from 1989 to 1993 and will soon be available to stream on BritBox.

Written by Sherlock’s Steven Moffat, it starred Sawalha, Dexter Fletcher, Paul Reynolds, Mmoloki Chrystie, Lee Ross and Kelda Holmes.

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Press Gang (ITV)

Press Gang (ITV)

Press Gang (ITV)

Discussing the possibility of bringing the show back for a reunion, Sawalha told the PA news agency: “Ah that would be great, I think it would take some producer to get us all together.

“I would be up for it, I think Lee (Ross) would, I know Kelda (Holmes) would be, Dexter (Fletcher) probably would be but he is on a very different path at the moment, but he is one of those people who throws himself at anything he wanted to do and he will do it well.

“It’s all up to Steven, I think Steven’s answer would be you have to get everyone in the same room and I think that is what he said many years ago.

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Press Gang was written by Steven Moffat (Yui Mok/PA)

Press Gang was written by Steven Moffat (Yui Mok/PA)

PA

Press Gang was written by Steven Moffat (Yui Mok/PA)

“But he was always planning something, he was always thinking about it, but I think when he finished it he was probably pretty fed up with it because he worked very hard on his own all the time and I think he wanted to put something out that was his own.”

Sawalha, who went on to star opposite Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley in Absolutely Fabulous, said she was just 19 when she was cast in the show, adding: “It was massive, it was absolutely massive for me, it was the first big role that I got and it was everything an actress could dream of

“No matter what age you are, whether you’re 20 or 50, everyone wants a role like that, everyone wants a role like that written by Steven Moffat.

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The show starred a young Dexter Fletcher (David Parry/PA)

The show starred a young Dexter Fletcher (David Parry/PA)

PA

The show starred a young Dexter Fletcher (David Parry/PA)

“I thought Steven was a lot older because he was so clever and it’s only just occurred to me he was only a couple of years older than we were. We treated him like he was some old professor, poor thing.”

She added that it was while she was working on the show that she realised she had a family name to uphold, because so many people had worked with her father, the actor Nadim Sawalha.

She said: “All the crew knew my dad, my dad had done a lot of films and I had been on a lot of film sets as child and so nothing was new to me there, I knew what a light looked like and a camera and I knew big stuff was going on, this wasn’t video, but people kept coming up to me saying ‘please say hello to your father’ and ‘please send my love to your mum’ and I would be like ‘oh crikey, I’ve got to behave here’.

“I thought ‘Wow I’ve got to sustain this because my dad has set a precedent for me and I’m not going to let him down’.

Moffat, who was also responsible for reviving Doctor Who in 2005, told the PA news agency: “Oh, I’d love to revisit Lynda and Spike and that whole mad world but I’m not sure anyone’s going to commission a sequel to a 30-year-old show.

“Even Doctor Who was only off the air for 16 years.”

Press Gang series one is available on BritBox.co.uk from May 7.

PA