Les Dennis to Play Bill Bryson in Notes From A Small Island at The Alexandra Next Year

Simon Friend Entertainment is delighted to announce that Bill Bryson’s smash-hit memoir, Notes From A Small Island, will journey to the stage in a national UK Tour starring TV favourite Les Dennis as much-loved writer Bill Bryson. 

This stage adaptation celebrates one of the nation’s most beloved books by one of the country’s most treasured authors. Notes From A Small Island spent three years in The Sunday Times bestsellers list and sold over two million copies. BBC Radio 4 listeners voted it as the book which best represents England. 

“A comic pleasure! In the Watermill’s adaptation of Bryson’s tribute to this sceptred isle, nostalgia and warmth abound.” The Telegraph

First staged at the Watermill Theatre in 2023, the national tour will visit The Alexandra, Birmingham from 29 April – 3 May 2025. Tickets go on general sale on Friday 31 May at 10am.   

Further dates and full casting to be announced.

From Calais to the Highlands, Bill travels the length and breadth of Britain, but how can the nation that produced Marmite and Gardeners’ Question Time hold such a special place in this American’s heart?

Les Dennis is one of the UK’s best-known entertainers with a career in showbusiness spanning over 50 years. Born in Liverpool, Les came to prominence as a comedian in the 1970s after honing his act on the northern Working Men’s Club circuit and turning pro after a winning set on New Faces

More success in TV comedies followed in the 1980s when he starred in The Russ Abbot Show and The Les Dennis Laughter Show, and formed a hugely popular double-act with comedy partner Dustin Gee, cut-short by Dustin’s untimely death. 

Les cemented his place as a mainstay of Saturday night television as the host of ITV’s Family Fortunes between 1987 and 2002.  In 2023 he returned to Saturday night TV with a fleeting but fun turn on BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing.

In recent years Les has enjoyed a thriving career as an actor, starring with the Royal Shakespeare Company, the English National Opera and in numerous hit plays and musicals in the West End and on tour, as well as a regular role on Coronation Street.  A dad of three, Les lives in Cheshire with his wife, his two youngest children, and their menagerie of pets. 

Theatre includes:  Twelfth Night (Shakespeare North Playhouse), 42nd Street (Sadlers Wells & Tour), Spring & Port Wine (Bolton Octagon), Only Fools & Horses The Musical (Theatre Royal Haymarket), HMS Pinafore (ENO, Coliseum), Hairspray (Coliseum), Venice Preserved and The Provoked Wife (RSC), End of the Pier (Park Theatre), The Miracle of Great Homer Street (Liverpool Royal Court), The Addams Family (Tour), She Loves Me (Menier Chocolate Factory), Down the Dock Road (Liverpool Royal Court), The Perfect Murder (Tour), Spamalot (West End), Hairspray (UK tour), Jigsy (Liverpool Royal Court – Best Actor, LPD Arts), When We Are Married (WYP), 

Eurobeat (No. 1 tour/West End), Certified Male (Edinburgh Festival), The Servant of Two Masters (Wales Theatre Company), Misery  (Oldham Coliseum), Neville’s Island (Birmingham Rep), South Pacific (Birmingham Symphony), Art (UK tour), Cherished Disappointments in Love (Soho), Chicago (Adelphi), Just Between Ourselves (Theatre Royal Bath), Skylight (Watermill) Me and My Girl (Adelphi). 

Film includes: Sideshow, Wounded (winner of Best Feature, Marbella Film Festival), Intimate Relations

Television includes: Death In Paradise, The Madame Blanc Mysteries, Moving On, Birds of a Feather, Coronation Street, Holby City, Midsomer Murders, Hotel Babylon, New Street Law, Extras, The Quest 2, Casualty, Mersey Beat, Doctors, Brookside, Les Dennis and Dustin Gee’s Laughter Show.

Notes From A Small Island reunites the Watermill Theatre’s original creative team and is Adapted by Tim Whitnall, Directed by Paul Hart, Designed by Katie Lias with Lighting Design by Ali Hunter, Sound Design by Ed Lewis and Projection Design by George Reeve.

Originally produced at The Watermill Theatre.

Notes From A Small Island is produced by Simon Friend Entertainment.