TV preview: Vicious

Sir Derek Jacobi will be seen in two specials this month: a two-part Last Tango in Halifax on BBC1 and ITV's Vicious.

LOVE-HATE RELATIONSHIP: Freddie Thornhill (Sir Ian McKellen) and Stuart Bixby (Sir Derek Jacobi) in a scene from the festive Vicious special.

“In the USA, Last Tango and Vicious were both on the same TV channel on the same night. At 8pm, I was married to Anne Reid [who plays his wife Celia in Last Tango], and at 9pm I was married to Ian McKellen – beat that!” says the 78-year-old with a laugh.

The festive hour-long Vicious special is being billed as the last ever episode, with viewers set to bid farewell to the newly-married Freddie (McKellen) and Stuart (Jacobi), two men who appear to relish their love-hate relationship.

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“Freddie and Stuart are still bickering with one another, but the special has a great level of nostalgia and sadness,” reveals Jacobi. “It’s like a parting of the ways; it all comes to a gentle conclusion.”

Split into the four seasons, the special follows the pair’s adventures and those of their best-friend Violet (Frances de la Tour), who embarks on a major lifestyle change; neighbour Ash (Iwan Rheon), who shares some life-changing news, as well as Freddie’s antagonistic brother Mason (Philip Voss) and their old friend Penelope (Marcia Warren). Frances Barber and Dame Eileen Atkin also pop up as guest stars.

Vicious, ITV, Friday, 9pm